Lowrance Elite 5 DSI Fish Finder Review
One of the most popular of all the fish finders on the market today is the Lowrance Elite 5 DSI (DownScale imaging). Lowrance is one of the premiere producers of finders on the market today, and this particular unit features several attributes that small fishing vessels such as kayaks can utilize, and make anglers such as myself giddy.
Like almost all of their products, Lowrance equips the Elite 5 with their state of the art Navionics Cartography navigation system, making this a GPS combo that you can take with you to just about any back water or large lake in the country, without fear of getting lost. Its software is always updated, and it has an internal GPS antenna that provides a compact and accurate read of your location. The imaging itself is colored and very clear, with a 480×480 resolution, making the tracking of fish very easy.
Navigation: The Elite 5 DSI features a chartplotter and an extremely accurate GPS navigational system, with an internal antenna which saves space on small vessels such as kayaks.
Imaging: Downscan imaging provides a photo like display of fish and water debris underneath the boat. The imaging has a 4,000 W peak to peak power supply with a high frequency (455/800kHz) transducer signal. This is a state of the art device which provides some of the best looking underwater imaging on the market.
Display: The screen display gives all of the important information, such as depth and temperature, as well as boat speed. Its 480×480 resolution provides high definition viewing, and although it has a small display panel at 5″, this is perfect for kayaks where you need the additional moving room.
Positives of the Model
The presets are fairly easy to set up so if you’re looking for simplicity, this is one of the best fish finders for that.. The on board system itself has a memory system which allows you to save coordinates and “fishing spots” on the map, although this is an upgradable feature. Also, despite the pricey tag that comes with this model, for all the out of the box features it provides, it is still fairly cheap compared to several other similar GPS combo units on the market.
The imaging and underwater display is simply marvelous, and unlike any fish finder on the market. Its unique in that it is more like an underwater camera than a tracker, and is more of a device to help you find a fishing spot and locate targets.
The GPS system is very interactive, you can use it to mark way points or setup future projected fishing locations. There are simply a ton of options and you can tinker around with it all day and customize the viewing, color of the imaging, or the frequency of the scan.
Cons of the Model
The manual which comes with this Lowrance unit is very poor, and your going to be left doing a lot of guess work trying to get everything to stick just right. For instance, trying to find the color settings can leave you wondering if it is even worth the trouble, as there are only two presets. What compounds this issue is the vast number of options! Its kind of like piloting a 747 for the first time and the co-pilot gives you some basic steps to keep the plane in the air.
Another issue with this model, are the frequent burn outs. The imaging and detail are great, and it has a lot of power behind it, but several people have reported blowing fuses because they haven’t properly compensated for the tremendous amount of power in the unit by using a better supply.
Know what you are getting when you purchase this unit, and you might end up enjoying this purchase. Its fairly cheap for a GPS/fish finder combo considering all of the features that you get with it, and it provides the best looking down imaging in the business. However, I personally don’t really care if I can make out the types of fish below my kayak when I’m fishing, I just want to know that they are there. In addition, the system has had so many bugs that Lowrance has had to do more than one recall on the Elite 5, so I’d stay away for now. If you liked this review and want to learn more, check out our main guide here.