Garmin Echo 100

Garmins Echo 100 fishfinder is about as tried and true as they come in the fishfinder marketplace.  The Echo 100 is Garmins entry level unit, providing great sonar images at an incredible price.  Garmin provided fishermen with a product that displays sonar images and gives all the necessary details needed for a day at the lake.  When pared with an unbeatable price of around 80 dollars, its easy to see why so many fishermen have chosen the Echo 100.

Screen and Display Quality

The screen on the Echo 100 fishfinder is a 4″ diagonal display, which provides nice sonar images.  The resolution on the unit is 160 by 256, which gives a good picture.  When compared to the other models in the Echo line the picture isn’t as clear.  When you consider the price on the unit which is around $80 you really can’t argue with the display resolution.  The Echo 200 and 300 offer better display quality, the Echo 200 is a 5 inch grey scale model and Echo 300 is a color unit with a better picture.  These units are priced at around $150 and $200 respectively and offer a  few more features.  For the price however the Echo 100 comes up big in terms of value since you get most the higher end features for just a small portion of the price.  The grey scale on the Echo 100 is 8 levels and allows for adjustment for most light conditions.  Also the display is waterproof.

Sonar

The sonar on the Echo 100 is a singe beam 200 kHz frequency transducer.  As above the next step up the Echo 150 has the dual frequency transducer, which is a nice option to have when in deeper water.  Garmins Echo 100 works in water up to 600 feet deep in fresh water and 300 feet in salt water.  So in most instances the fishfinder will provide nice sonar images.  The transmitting power of 100 W RMS and 800 W peak to peak does well with the 200 kHz transducer.  When the 77 kHz transducer on other Echo models is used the units require a bit more power in order to reach a greater depth.  Features that are included with the Echo 100 are the Ultra scroll, which lets you use the fishfinder at higher boat speeds and the Auto Gain Technology.  The auto gain technology is nice because it auto adjusts the sonar images and gets rid of clutter and maximizes potential targets.  The transducer has a 60 degree width which creates a sonar image of a large portion of the water column.

User Interface

Garmin tries to make all of their products as user friendly as possible.  To do so they make the menus easy to read and navigate.  There are 5 buttons on the unit including the power, so all of the adjustments are done through the menu button and then using the scroll buttons and enter to select the desired option.  Adjusting the gain, which increases and decreases sonar noise is easy and quick to do.

Conclusion

The Garmin Echo 100 is really a great value and gives fishermen the chance to have a nice fishfinder onboard for a great price around $80.  Although some of the features of the other Echo line are not included with the 100, the main features are part of the Echo 100 package.  There are countless positive reviews on the unit, and for good reason when the value and quality are taken into account the Echo 100 is a great fishfinder.

Garmin Echo 200

Garmins Echo fishfinder line specializes in providing great sonar pictures at great prices.  The Echo 200 is Garmins largest grey scaled fishfinder that they offer.  In addition to a nice screen size the unit also has good resolution and a solid user interface that lets you spend less time trying to get the fishfinder set and more time fishing.  Add in the price for an echo 200 and it is easy to see why fishermen have made this product a top seller.

Screen and Display Quality

The echo 200 has a 5 inch screen, which is great for a $150 fishfinder.  Not only does the fishfinder have a nice screen size, the resolution of 320 by 480 provides a great sonar image on screen.  The greyscale is adjustable and allow up to 16 levels of adjustment.  By having so many gray scale adjustments the screen can be read in almost any light and performs well in both high and low light conditions.  The display is waterproof and made with high quality materials assuring you that if you decide to purchase an Echo 200 the unit will have a long life.

Sonar

The sonar on the unit is the same used for models in the Echo line and performs well.  The frequencies that the Garmin transducer runs at is 200 kHz for shallow water and 77 kHz for deep water.  The deep water frequency works up to 1,500 feet down in fresh water and 600 feet in salt.  The dual beam feature allows you to use both frequencies at the same time and provides a 120 degree cone angle, which sends a signal through a larger portion of the water column.  The peak to peak power of 2,400 provides enough juice for difficult situations like when in wavy or high current conditions and for penetrating thermoclines.  The auto gain feature also is really helpful because it adjusts the sonar images minimizing clutter and maximizing sonar targets.

User Interface

Garmin prides itself on creating an experience that is very user friendly.  The intuitive layout and controls for the Echo 200 make using the fishfinder a real treat.  The quick release bracket that comes with the echo series fishfinders 200 allows fishermen to take the unit on and off the boat in just a couple of seconds.  To adjust the sonar image only takes a push on the menu button and then a couple of pushes allows you to dial in the settings to give a crystal clear image.  A really cool feature also is the smooth scaling technology, which allows you to look back at your sonar history.  The feature also doesn’t reset the sonar when the zoom is changed, which most units do.  So depth changes won’t erase your fishfinders sonar history.

Conclusion

The Echo 200 like the other Garmin products in the Echo line provides fishermen on a budget a great option.  The display and screen is high quality and is meant to last.  In addition Garmin used a tried and true transducer, which gives great looking images.  Overall the Echo 200 is a great option and for the price of a little under $150 the unit is hard to beat!

Garmin Echo 300c

The Garmin echo 300c is a favorite fishfinder among fishermen on a budget.  The 300c delivers big time in terms of screen quality and color, transducer quality and overall user interface.  It is easy to see why the 300c is a favorite for fisherman who want great sonar images at a cost an everyday fisherman can afford.

Screen and Display Quality

The screen on the Garmin echo 300c Dual-Beam Fishfinder is a high quality and high resolution display.  To achieve the high resolution Garmin used 240 by 320 pixels, which on the 300c screen size provides a nice crisp clear picture.  The display size is 3.5 inches diagonal and measure 2.1 inches wide and 2.8 inches tall.  The color is provided by a GVGA 256 display and can be adjusted for any light conditions and performs well regardless of high or low lighting.

Sonar

To provide the sonar Garmin chose their transducer which has a shallow water frequency of 200 kHz and deep water frequency of 77 kHz.  With the 77 kHz frequency the unit works up to 1,500 feet in fresh water and 600 feet in salt water.  The cone angle is either 60 degrees or 120 degrees when using dual beam.  The peak to peak power is 2,400 watts and which is plenty strong for the unit, and helps penetrate deep water when using the 77 kHz frequency.  A great feature with the echo 300c Dual-Beam is that the unit comes with two transducer mounting brackets.  The standard mount is for the transom, Garmin also includes a trolling motor clamp about a 20 dollar value with the unit.  I really like having the option of the trolling motor clamp come with the unit.  For personal use the trolling motor mount lets you use the fishfinder in shallow water without having to worry about the unit accidentally getting damaged.  I personally fish on swift rivers that have gravel bars that require the boat to be on plane to get through channels.  For me a transom mount isn’t an option, but the trolling motor can be lowered and raised when in shallow or deep water.

User Interface

A great feature of the Echo 300c is that the overall layout is really user friendly.  There are only 5 buttons, so learning the unit isn’t too hard compared to some of the top of the line units on the market.  The sonar images are able to be adjusted, and doing so only requires a couple presses of the buttons.  The unit really does a nice job of adjusting sonar noise, which can be the difference between seeing a fish on screen versus getting a blurred sonar image.

Recommendation

There is a reason that the Garmin Echo 300c is a favorite amount fishermen.  The price for what you get, a product with great sonar images along with the multiple mounting brackets can’t be beat.  If you are looking for an entry level fishfinder that will give great images the Echo 300c definitely delivers in terms of quality of product and most importantly for the fisherman on a budget in terms of value.

Garmin GPSMAP 421

Screen and Display Quality

Garmin has equipped the GPSMAP 421 with a 4 inch screen.   The pixels on the display are 240 x 320, which provides a nice picture.  Images are clear and the display is plenty bright enough to give high quality pictures in bright conditions.   A unique feature of the GPSMAP 421 is that unit is waterproof, and performs well under harsh conditions.  Split screen GPS and Sonar works well on the display and allows you to select multiple GPS views to use along with the sonar images. Continue reading “Garmin GPSMAP 421”