You will definitely have somewhat of a learning curve, but the Elite-Ti series is much more manageable than it's bigger siblings. While screen space is somewhat limited on the 5-inch model, most fishermen still find it easy to use and understand.
Dependable reads with great screen clarity and ability to map structures. A few reports of slow screen updates on the 5-inch model. One reviewer found the CHIRP did not work while using structure scan mode.
After reviewing all of the Lowrance products, I found their customer service and willingness to stand behind their products extraordinary. I marked them down a bit because their support is also known for being slow to respond.
Summary: Like with all Lowrance models, the only difference between the Elite-Ti 5, Elite-Ti 7, Elite-Ti 9, and Elite-Ti 12 is the screen size.
Based on my reviews of all the Lowrance fish finders, though, I noticed a few trends:
Honestly, if I were going to buy a Lowrance fish finder, I'd go with the Elite-Ti 7. It's a proven performer, has a broad mix of features for anglers of all skill levels, and boasts all the great sonar advancements Lowrance is known for. All at a reasonable cost. If you're looking for Lowrance's 3D structure scan, though, you'll need to upgrade from the Elite-Ti series to the HDS Gen 3 series.
You might be wondering:
Why should I listen to this guy's opinion instead of the 50 other guys writing fish finder reviews?
Let me tell you a story.
When I started researching fish finders, I was overwhelmed with all the choices. I'm brand new to fishing and to all the gear and technology that comes with it. I didn't know Lowrance from Humminbird or Sidevu from structure scan.
So I have that 'new guy' attitude. I started out in the land of information overload, but as I read up on the technology, the brands, the equipment and what real fishermen thought about each fish finder, I picked up on trends and began to see insights not avaiIable anywhere else.
Ultimately, there is just one reasons to read my reviews:
Save yourself the hours I've spent researching this model and skip visiting 23 websites and reading hundreds of reviews. Spend 5 minutes on this page and you'll know whether a Lowrance Elite-Ti is worth your time or not.
While the Elite-Ti series of fish finders is a great mix of value, features and proven technology, it's not right for everyone.
For most non-professional anglers that just want to hit the lake and increase the number of fish you put in the boat, I don't think you could go wrong with any of the Elite-Ti units. But if you're looking for the bleeding edge of fish finding, marking and display resolution, you'd probably be happier with the HDS Gen 3 or HDS Carbon units instead.
The HDS Carbon series offers double the processing power of the HDS Gen 3 and - if you really need/want to have the top-of-the line - offers a 16-inch screen. Both HSD versions also add 3D structure scan, which the Elite-Ti doesn't have.
If you're looking for a portable fish finder, the Elite-Ti series isn't for you either.
Unlike Garmin, Lowrance doesn't offer a kit to make their units portable. So if you want Lowrance's sonar technology but need a portable unit, I'd recommend checking out the Lowrance Hook fish finder if you want chartplotting or their Hook-x version if you just want a fish finder.
Features and Menus Overview (courtesy of: Lawren Wetzel)
Whether you're replacing an old fish finder or buying one for your first time, one of the most common questions asked is, "which transducer should I buy?"
Simple...you're getting a new fish finder so you can gain capabilities and catch more fish. If you have an old transducer or you buy the wrong one with your new head unit, you won't be able to take maximum advantage of your new unit.
While I was researching, I got totally confused by all the transducer and sonar lingo. If you're like me, you're wondering what capabilities your new transducer should have, so here's a list of what to get if you want to be able to use your Elite-Ti to its fullest capacity.
Get the Lowrance TotalScan transducer.
This guy explains why...ignore the fact that he's talking about a different brand head unit...he does a great job of explaining exactly why you need the TotalScan and what capabilities it gives you.
After reviewing over 60 reviews on Amazon.com, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's and the Lowrance site, most fishermen really like their Lowrance Elite-Ti fish finders.
There are multiple mentions of finding structure that wasn't mapped and being able to mark individual fish rather than just seeing a big blob on the screen. One even talked of being able to tell exactly in the water column where his target fish were.
Reports on losing bottom are mixed. Some say their unit never loses bottom at any speed and others say it loses bottom anywhere above idle. A number of reviews of the Elite-Ti 5 mention wishing they had upgraded to a larger screen because it's hard to see everything they'd like to see on the smaller screen.
Of course, as with any piece of technology, are always some bad experiences. For example, there were some complaints of slow screen updates on the 5 inch model, which was - of course - most noticeable at high speed.
There were also a number of complaints about losing bottom - especially on plane. But after reviewing all of the Lowrance models and many fish finders from Garmin and Humminbird as well, this seems to be a common complaint among them all. Transponder placement plays a major role, but so does the physics of moving at high speed over water of varying depths and bottom composition.
Honestly, if I were going to buy a Lowrance fish finder, I'd go with the Elite-Ti 7. It seems to be the best mix of being a proven performer, a broad mix of features for anglers of all skill levels, all the great sonar advancements Lowrance is known for. All at a reasonable cost. You won't get their 3D structure scan unless you upgrade to the HDS Gen 3 series, though...