Recently my buddy showed me his new toy that he’d bought. It was the Lowrance HDS-5 with Lake Insight and StructureScan.
He’d bought it with the Lake Insight map, choosing to pay a little more for the high definition and detail of the Insight maps versus the base map.
The only problem is that my buddy is not a Techie and asked me to help him figure out the new unit.
So we set aside a Saturday to install the unit and go out to the lake and try it out.
I looked forward to it since I could see what the Lowrance HDS-5 could do and hopefully get enough info to report back to you good folks here at Fish Finder Reviews.
INSTALLATION OF THE HDS-5 WITH STRUCTURE SCAN AND INSIGHT MAP
The installation was a breeze for us. Probably because we’ve done quite a few installs over the years.
The instructions were easy to read and follow and in no time (which was less than 45 minutes total), we had the unit rigged up and ready to head to the lake.
I will mention that it does pay to pay close attention to the instructions.
You also want to make sure you know what you’re doing if you end up having to drill some mounting holes either for the unit or the transducer.
Whether you drill into fiberglass or aluminum, if you make a mistake it’s going to be hard to fix! So make sure everything lines up if you must drill.
My buddy chose to mount it to the dash and run the transducer at the transom.
There was already a transducer mounting plate there so the only holes we had to drill were into the plate itself.
ON THE WATER FIELD TEST OF THE HDS-5 WITH STRUCTURE SCAN
We headed out to a small municipal lake close to his house to see how well the unit would perform. We chose this lake for several reason.
- It was close to his house and we wouldn’t have to drive far
- We knew this lake and knew where a lot of the bottom structure was located.
- It was close to his house
Since I’m currently a Humminbird user, I was anxious to see how well this Lowrance unit would handle itself. I’ll be honest with you right now.
|Screen Size||5 Inches|
|Item Weight||12 Pounds|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||15 x 11 x 9 inches|
I love the way Lowrance GPS works. If you use a Humminbird-equipped GPS locator at all, you’re probably well acquainted with the “Donut”. I am and I tell you I don’t like it!
But it’s the ability of Lowrance GPS units to quickly and accurately always tell you which way you’re heading, no matter how fast you’re going, that I’ve always admired.
The HDS-5 was no exception. The GPS performed flawlessly.
I also loved the screen resolution. The colors were bright and sharp, just like I like them. I couldn’t tell the difference between them and my Humminbird. I think both companies make exceptional screens.
The screen is a 5″ SolarMax 480×480 high-resolution display.
The StructureScan is just awesome. Just like the SideScan on the Humminbird, it’s still amazing to me to be able to see objects off to the side of the boat.
The images were sharp and clear. Brushpiles were easily distinguished from surrounding structures such as ledges, rocks, or other objects put into the lake.
What I was most interested in is the separation of objects that are really close. Like a big Crappie from the brush pile or even a school of baitfish hanging close to the bottom.
The HDS-5 had good separation but was not near as good as my Humminbird 798 in my opinion.
Overall I was pleased with the performance of the HDS-5 with StructureScan and Lake Insight maps.
It performed well and we spent hours out on the lake getting acquainted with the unit.
The instruction manual is easy to read and understand and the buttons and menu on the HDS-5 are laid out so that it’s very easy to use.
My non-Techie buddy had little problems figuring it out with me reading from the owner’s manual and giving him advice.
PROBLEMS WITH THE HDS-5 WITH STRUCTURE SCAN
Although my buddy hasn’t owned his HDS-5 very long to have had any major problems, I’ve talked to a gentleman at the boat ramp one day that said his HDS-5 leaked on him.
So after I went home I pulled up some reviews from retailers and saw that a few people did have problems with the seals leaking in their units.
Supposedly this problem was caused by the seal vendor and Lowrance has since fixed this problem.
My best advice for anyone considering buying an HDS-5 or any locator for that matter is to ask around on one of the many fishing forums. You’ll find out real quick whether a product is liked or not.
I’ve also heard of more than a few problems with Lowrance’s customer service. I myself experienced something similar in the past.
A few years back when I was in the market for a 10″ locator/GPS combo, I seriously looked at the Lowrance HDS-10.
I visited the boat show that year in Tulsa where they had a booth set up. There were three reps there when I walked up and two were busy with ONE customer.
The other guy walked around and never would come over and talk to me but engaged several people who were walking by in the aisle and looking at the units.
Occasionally one of the two who were talking to the single customer would look up at me and then turn away and continue talking.
After standing there 20 minutes waiting for help, I left and the next day ordered the Humminbird 1197.
From what I’ve learned since I’m glad I did. Apparently, I was not the only one who’s had issues with poor customer service.
Fishing and boating forums as well as reviews from outdoor retailers like Cabelas and Bass Pro have quite a few complaints from customers who have to wait months to get their units back after sending them in for warranty work.
This is really uncalled for from a company like Lowrance.
I had to send my Hbird 1197 back because the backlight went out of the screen. Not only did they fix it for free when it was a month out of warranty, but they also had it back to me within a week!
WHERE TO FIND THE BEST PRICE ON A HDS-5 WITH STRUCTURE SCAN AND LAKE INSIGHT MAP?
I’ve looked all over the Internet and at the local Outdoor retailers trying to see who had the best deals on an HDS-5 with StructureScan and the Lake Insight map.
The lowest prices I found were consistently at Amazon.com. In fact, here’s a comparison of the prices on the HDS-5 from several retailers.
At the time of this writing, Amazon had the HDS-5 with StructureScan AND Lake Insight Map for $1280.01.
In comparison, Cabelas has the same unit for $1348. Bass Pro doesn’t appear to even carry this particular combo.
Plus, this unit qualifies for FREE SHIPPING from Amazon. You’ll have to pay shipping at Cabelas.