Besides all of the amazing technical features Navico the parent company of Lowrance & Simrad has added by building one of the most intuitive sonar’s on the market the new Touch Screen unit provides the premier sonar GPS electronics platform for serious and pro anglers.
The most obvious feature is the touch screen. There were some concerns to think about with a touch screen fish finder. How does it work when wet? How about herring scales. So far my testing has proved this not to be an issue. The unit works very well in the wet NW winters. I keep a rag and cleaning solution on hand to make sure to clean the touch screen at the end of every day to remove salt spray or finger prints and have not found a issue with the using the touch screen in severe weather.
The Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch units come in 3 sizes:
Ease of Use
After using the Touch for some time now the on screen buttons to control the unit, Lowrance made the buttons nice and big so they are easy to select without hitting another button on accident due to fat fingers. The graphical user interface is very easy to navigate and extremely intuitive. The next feature I was impressed with was the touch keyboard. I find it extremely tiresome to use a cursor and select each letter to name way points and other data on the units. This is very time consuming, and with the new keyboard now only takes seconds to input the same waypoint labels and information. You can also build your own custom screen displays with the Touch. Overall in this day and age of smart phones and I Pads I think that the touch screen was a great feature to add on to sonar/GPS units and in time will become the new industry standard.
The great news is that this is fully compatible with all the existing networking features you had previously. Same wires, same blue connections. An added benefit of the HDS gen 2 touch units is that they have a built in LSS-2 HD Structure Scan module. The standard version of the HDS Gen 2 does not have this build in. This is the unit you use for SideScan out 400 plus feet and very detailed down scanning. You can use the LSS-1 transducer if you have this already, however you will need an adapter for the cable. While the unit does have the LSS-2 HD module, you still have to purchase the Structure Scan transducer if you do not have this already.
In addition to these features, the Lowrance HDS Gen 2 touch units have 5 separate plug ins on the back of the unit. Ethernet, N2k, Sonar, Structure Scan HD, and power. The 9 & 12 inch units also have video capability. This allows you to connect a wide range of networking devices such as a video feed, Broadband radar, AIS, Weather, VHF radios, fuel/temp probes, engine sensors, and network addition HDS units. On Salt Patrol I have 3 Touch units there all intergraded and each unit can control all functions on my boats electronics package. You can even incorporate the new Go Free wireless network box feature and control your HDS Touch from your I-Pad or view it on your smart phone.
New Chart plotting options
The Lowrance HDS Gen 2 touch units can now show two simultaneous charts at once. The advantage here is that you can see a chart from insight chart data and another chart with Navionics chart or C-Map data. Before you would have to select which data you would need to use it and wait for the unit to load it which can take time away when entering a tricky harbor.
Insight Genesis built your own Map
The new touch units are also able to incorporate recorded data in Lowrance’s new Insight Genesis system to allow for custom contour map creation. You can record a full day of fishing information on to a SD card. The go online to the Lowrance Insight Genesis program and upload the information and Insight will built you a custom map of the area you fished within 24 hours. You then download the map and insert it into the HDS unit and you have your own custom map with zoom ranges down to one foot contours, including vegetation and bottom hardness. Check it out at Insight Genesis at http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/News/Lowrance-Introduces-Insight-Genesis/
3d Insight Charts for the 3D view
You can now display these charts in a 3d perspective, giving you a better view of where you are going.
Fast Response Time
A great improvement with this unit over previous generations is the improved response time from when you press a button to the action which follows. I was amazed how fast the unit was working, no noticeable lag zooming in and out on the chart page. In addition some of the menu layouts were made much more efficient so you can accomplish the same tasks with fewer navigation tasks scrolling through menus.
Try It Yourself
Visit your local marine electronics dealer and give the new HDS Touch Screen a try for yourself. You will be amazed at the performance. If you see me at a derby or event stop by the Lowrance boat and I let you demo the Touch unit onboard Salt Patrol. For more information on HDS Touch visit www.Lowrance.com