Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3 Review

Whether you fish for recreation or make a living on the tournament circuit, the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3 is a top-tier fishfinder and chartplotter. Not only does it include pre-installed maps and charts for inland and coastal waters, but it features the the largest list of compatible transducers and electronics. The HDS-7 provides an unparalleled angling advantage, no matter if you are on inland freshwater or wide open coastal salt water. 

What is The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3?

The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3 is an extremely versatile fishfinder and chartplotter that is designed to work with a large array of common transducers. The HDS-7 Gen 3 is the most advanced fishfinder and offers plug and play ease with StructureScan HD and 3D models, SiriusXM NOAA radio, and even trolling motor autopilots. The Lowrance HDS-7 is an extremely valuable force multiplier for your effectiveness on the water.

Included Components

The most common questions about units like these are based around what components or equipment come in the box, and what it lacks. Take a look below to find out exactly what you get.

  • HDS-7 Gen 3 Suncover: Keep your screen safe from the sun and UV damage. Snaps directly over the HDS-7 screen.
  • HDS-7 Gen 3 Bezel and SD Card Door: Sleek bezel that doubles as the SD card slot cover and door. 
  • Mounting Bracket Knobs: Knobs to facilitate attachment of the HDS-7 Gen 3 to an existing bracket. Compatible with mounting brackets for NSS evo2, Zeus2, and HDS Gen 2T.
  • Power Cable: Hardwire power cable model PC-30-RS422. Will splice into existing 12v power system wiring.
  • HDS Connector Caps: Caps designed to protect connector inputs when not in use. Caps keep dirt and debris out of connections ensuring a solid and reliable signal during use.
  • Fuses: 3A protective fuses. Set of 3 fuses included.

Benefits of Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3

There is a laundry list of features that the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3 comes with. Here, we will show you a quick rundown of some of the most useful or unique features.

  • Multi-Point Touchscreen: Large 7” widescreen provides plenty of digital real estate for displaying several charts or functions simultaneously. The multi-point touch display makes navigation and chart manipulation easy and intuitive. All features and abilities can be controlled with the touchscreen.
  • Clear And Bright Screen: With a screen brightness that has been rated best-in-class, you will be able to see your charts, sonar, and other data easily even on sunny days.
  • Built-In Networking: Effortless networking right out of the box with native Ethernet and NMEA 2000, and built-in WiFi. No problem loading charts for new water or updating existing data with internet updates.
  • Expandable Storage: Dual Micro-SD slots enable storage expansion by up to 32GB.
  • Built-In GPS/GLONASS Capability: Built-in GPS/GLONASS antenna supports up to 16 channels of GPS communication. 
  • Native StructureScan and CHIRP support: Built-in CHIRP functionality which can be used simultaneously with StructureScan. StructureScan is supported but does require a capable transducer.
  • Simple Gen 2 Upgrade: With the same cutout and bracket as the Gen2 Touch, upgrading to the Gen 3 is simple. Simply disconnect the Gen2, remove from the flush-mount enclosure or mounting bracket, replace with Gen 3 and reconnect.

Drawbacks of The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3

During our research, we really only found one downside to the HDS-7 Gen 3. That drawback being the lack of first-time install hardware. If you are installing the HDS-7 on a console that has not seen any previous installs, you will need to buy a bracket, or have the flush mount cutout done by an installation agent.

How to Use The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3

Operation of the HDS-7 is fairly straightforward. Once you give the power button a short press, the unit powers up and provides you with an initial system controls menu, allowing you to begin any number of functions, put the unit in standby, or power the unit down. It is from this screen that you will set your initial charts and data set overlays. Once you leave this menu, you are taken to your main data overlay, and you are ready to hit the water.

Who Should Buy The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3

The Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3 is a great choice for novices, moderately skilled recreational anglers, fishing guides, and tournament fishers. For recreational fishermen, it can take some of the mystery out of learning to read underwater structure, and lead to more fish in the livewell. For guides and tourney circuit fishers who are already familiar with effective fish hunting techniques, this tool can help pinpoint that crucial piece of structure or that elusive shelf drop where you find that monster that tips the scales. It truly has something for everyone.

Price

The price of the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen 3 varies by a large margin, depending on if you will be using it with an existing transducer or buying the plotter and transducer together. For just the chartplotter unit, with no transducer, the price is $649. Lowrance also offers the HDS-7 with a TotalScan transducer, with SIdeScan and DownScan for $899, and a StructureScan 3D Bundle that includes a TotalScan all-in-one transducer, with enhanced SideScan and DownScan Imaging for $1,399.

Customer Reviews

You can easily find large numbers of detailed reviews on the Lowrance website and even Amazon. The majority of these reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Many customers point out the surprisingly bright and clear screen, the ease of customization, and the overall quality of the data visualization. Other well loved features include the screen responsiveness, the functionality of being able to control the trolling motor route, and the internal GPS antenna.

Final Thoughts

The fishfinder and chartplotter market is highly competitive, and Lowrance has entered another top-tier product with the HDS-7 Gen 3. The huge library of features, preloaded maps and charts, and high degree of compatibility make this unit an invaluable addition to your onboard electronics. Whether you only get on the water when your busy schedule permits or if you are on the water fishing competitively week after week, the HDS-7 will give you an unmatched view of the water beneath you, and allow you to work that water more effectively than ever.

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