When it comes to entry level fish finders and chart plotters one name that stands out from the crowd is the Lowrance Elite Series. The Elite Series is specifically designed to cater for those looking for good quality plotting and fish finder capabilities with a series of basic level functions on a budget.
New to the Elite Series for 2015 are redesigned 4 and 9 versions. The 4inch version is the smallest unit in the Elite CHIRP range and is the one most suited to kayaks and small boaters who are looking for a small, compact unit. The Elite 9 is the 9inch version which is more suited to kayak anglers who require a larger screened unit and for the general small boat angler.
The Elite-4 & 9 CHIRP series combine the benefits of CHIRP Sonar with DownScan Imaging providing the very best possible view below the water. DownScan Imaging provides easy to understand, picture like views of the structure and detail of the ground you are fishing, ensuring you know exactly what is lurking below you before and during your fishing. The greater sensitivity, improved target resolution and superior noise rejection provides clearer views that makes it easy to see fish.
In simple terms the CHIRP Sonar is a high resolution sonar that can successfully project on screen what is actually going on below the waterline. It allows you to easily distinguish between what is a fish and what is just matter under the boat. Without CHIRP, general matter would often be mistaken for a fish. In a nutshell, it means you can easily target more fish! If you want to see how impressed we we’re with CHIRP and its advantages then please read our review of the Lowrance HDS Gen3 Unit here.
Each unit features DownScan Overlay which allows anglers to combined a DownScan Image with their CHIRP Sonar view to easily separate fish away from surrounding structure. This unit is also clever, using advanced signal processing it can automatically adjust its settings to make views of the seabed and fish target detail clearly, removing the need for manual setting.
As with other Lowrance units the Elite series also features TrackBack, allowing anglers to scroll through their sonar history to review structure and fish targets at designated locations marked by a waypoint along your route. This allows an angler to review areas he has previously fished with ease and is especially useful if you want to fish back along a route you’ve already fished but want to pinpoint the better waypoints with better fish holding structures.
A key feature on the Elite-4 and Elite-9 CHIRP units is the ability to multi-task – the built in multi-window display allows the angler to choose from a series of pre-set page layouts so you can display your chart, sonar and DownScan Imaging all on one screen for example. As with all Lowrance units, the UX (User Interface) is second to none. With easy to use menus and an operating system that can be controlled with one thumb in the roughest of waters.
We’ve mentioned how impressed we have been with Lowrance Screens before on WSF, and the Elite-4 and Elite-9 fail to disappoint again. Using an ultra high contrast, super-bright, LED backlit widescreen display both units are easy to read in the brightest of sunshine. If you want to read how impressed we were with Lowrance Screens, check out our HDS Gen3 Review here.
On the navigation side these units feature a highly accurate GPS antenna and a microSD card slot that can be used to load up various chart data. The unit works best with Navionics Gold and Jeppesen C-Map Max-N charts. The Elite series is also fully compatible with Insight Genesis, a map-creation service that allows users to make custom contour maps from their sonar data logs as well as the ability to share and download maps from the rest of the Insight Genesis Community.
Insight Genesis is great for the small boat angler as it allows you to share your information with other anglers, providing a collective pool of resources that will help everybody catch more fish. Each year Lowrance runs competitions on the Lowrance Insight Genesis platform so the more mapping data you share with your fellow anglers the more chance you get of winning some top notch prizes. We love this community sharing as it helps everybody.
The new Elite-4 and Elite-9 units offer a choice of 82/200 kHz HDI or 50/200 kHz HDI transducers with depth capability of 1,000 and 3,000 feet respectively. You can also get Elite-4x and Elite-9x versions which are fish finder only models.
Once again, Lowrance never fail to impress us with the units they produce. We we’re blow away by the HDS Gen3 units and we’re mightily impressed with these new Elite models too. Whilst sonar and navigation qualities are once again excellent and something Lowrance are renowned for, the clarity of their screens and easy to use UX are simply stunning. If you’re in the market for a mid-priced, entry level unit that does a hell of a lot, it’s difficult to recommend anything else.
The Elite 4 is priced at £280 with the Elite 4x at £199. The Elite 9 is priced at £1,134 with the Elite 9x coming in at £945.60. For more information, check out Lowrance Online.