Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder Marine GPS Review

Lowrance is one of the most respected names in marine electronics. Most consumers aren’t familiar with the brand because companies with no experience with marine GPS equipment make the most popular GPS-enabled navigation devices for use on land. Experienced fishermen have been relying on Lowrance gear for many decades, and producing a capable and affordable navigation and fish-finding unit for the general public was a natural for the company.

The Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder offers a built-in GPS antenna, high-definition above-water and underwater mapping capabilities, and the industry’s best fish finding technology, all in one small and affordable package. The Elite-4 Gold comes with detailed maps of over 3,000 different rivers, lakes, ponds, and coastal areas that users can supplement with aftermarket charts of their favoritie areas.

Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder Marine GPS

Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder with Transom Mount Transducer and Marine GPS

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Specifications

  • GPS –enabled combination fish finder and charter plotter
  • 4.3-inch diagonal high-resolution LED display
  • Comes with detailed US map with more than 3,000 lakes, rivers, and coastal contours to a depth of 1,000 feet
  • Waterproof rated to IPX-7 standard
  • 480 x 271 pixel resolution
  • Durable ABS plastic housing
  • Uses SD card slot to add more maps and memory
  • 3.8 inches x 6.6 inches x 2.2 inches thick
  • 7.5 inches tall including mounting bracket
  • 250 watts of transmitting power
  • Receives WAAS, EGNOS, and MSAS signals
  • Saves up to 3,000 waypoints and 100 routes
  • Includes skimmer transducer that mount on transom
  • Trackback feature allows you to review sonar display history
  • Works down to 1,000-foot depth
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty

Features

The Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder comes with what Lowrance calls their HDI system. HDI stands for Hybrid Dual Imaging, and it takes both downscan and broad area soundings and mixes them together to provide a realistic portrayal of the topography of the bottom.

A Tough Case With Easy Operation

The case itself is waterproof and made of tough plastic, and has only a handful of easy-to-use buttons with straightforward markings on them. Once you power the unit on for the first time, the unit comes to life quickly, and asks you to select a language, select the appropriate satellite technology available in your part of the world, select the local time and date format, and choose charting or sonar. The user puts in any charts they desire by inserting a micro SD card into the slot on the bottom of the unit. The charts display almost immediately. At first the charts will seem to have no definition, but that’s because they’re zoomed all the way out by default. By depressing the zoom in button, you’ll soon bring as much detail into view as you require for navigating and choosing waypoints and routes.

The Lowrance Elite-4 Gold will then take you through a series of screen to set up your sonar. If you wish, you can opt for default settings until you get the hang of the unit. Most of the customization of the sonar is for how it will be displayed on the screen, not how it operates.

Bright Enough For Sunlight, But Be Careful of Glare

The Elite-4 Gold is plenty bright enough to be seen in even the brightest sunlight, but since the screen is slightly glossy, there are angles where reflection can be a problem. That should be a trivial problem when you’re using the unit as a handheld, but if you plan to mount the unit in a bracket you should give a little thought to its location before you drill any holes in order to keep reflections at bay.

A Small But Useful Screen

The unit itself is about the size of a small tablet computer, but the navigation buttons and frame take up a lot of space on the face of the unit and the screen itself can seem fairly small to users accustomed to large screens on some other navigation devices and other electronics. The Lowrance relies on the ease of use of the zoom in and out buttons to constantly display a useful amount of information on the screen at all times.

Easy To Interpret Downscan Images

Downscan imaging is the most familiar display for most boaters who have used fish finders in the past, and the Elite-4 offers extremely detailed underwater views of obstructions, bottom contours, and fish in profile. With small screen fish finders, you need extremely detailed images in order to spot a fish and distinguish it from background noise, and the Elite-4 Gold delivers great performance for such an inexpensive and compact machine.

You can use the Lowrance Elite-4 Gold in any size watercraft, not just big boats. Kayakers report good luck using through the hull transducers to scan down to 300 foot depth with great accuracy, and bass boat anglers report that the set up of the equipment is easy and immediately usable.

Pros

  • Compact size is easy to carry along
  • Sharp, clear, full-color images make navigation easy
  • Extremely detailed underwater images make finding fish a breeze
  • Trackback function lets you rewind data to review the best spots along your route, then set waypoints when you see promising spots to return to later

Cons

  • Lowrance doesn’t have a lot of experience in customer service for the general public, so you might have trouble if you need help

Final Verdict

Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder with Transom Mount Transducer and Marine GPS

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Many people are completely accustomed to using GPS devices to find their way around in the car and out in the wilderness, but are just learning about the power of a marine GPS coupled with a sonar fish finder. Since the Lowrance does such an amazing job of finding fish and projecting them on the navigator’s screen in a recognizable form, boaters and anglers are responding to the Elite-4 Gold with enthusiasm. Prices for this technology have been plunging, and a capable GPS with sonar and fish finder is becoming less of a luxury and seen more as a necessity ever day.

Some users like the navigational ability of the Elite-4 Gold, others prize it for its fish finding functions, others simply to find and warn of underwater obstructions. More than half reviewers give the Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder at least four stars, and few have any complaints about the device outside of poor customer service when they call to ask a question about the device. If you’re a serious fisherman, or are just serious about boating safety, the Lowrance Elite-4 Gold Combo Fishfinder is a winner.