When it comes to choosing depth sounders and GPS, the top three choices are Garmin, Humminbird or Lowrance. Compact fish finders are the affordable alternative to 12-inch monsters that are very expensive. Garmin has been a market leader in marine GPS and handheld GPS technologies. The Garmin echoMAP 50s is an affordable combination of a well-calibrated depth sounder and GPS and is ideal for smaller craft.
What the Eye Can See
The echoMAP 50s features a conveniently sized 5-inch VGA screen that displays crystal clear images by day or night. With a 480 x 640 pixel resolution, its screen size is the perfect balance between the Lowrance Elite 5 DSI that offers a 480 x 480 pixel display and the Humminbird 788ci HD Combo with a 640 x 640 pixel display screen. The display has a split-screen zoom, sonar and GPS that are now standard features on most fish finders. The device is waterproof and has a net weight of 1.6 lb., making it durable and heavy enough to be mounted on a bail mount or flush mount.
The Garmin echoMAP 50s excels at its primary function of finding fish. This makes it a popular choice among professionals. The echoMAP 50s combines two patented technologies—Ultrascroll® and See-thru®—that allow a user to see fish targets easily even at high speeds and see fish that are under cover in the depths. These technologies make the echoMAP 50s far more accurate than comparable Humminbird and Lowrance devices. In conjunction with other technological advancements such as automatic gain control, a feature that optimizes the signal and results in lower display clutter, fish identification and real-time transducer tracking, the echoMAP 50s displays accurate readings and identifies fish targets with ease. However, the 10Hz chart plotter and satellite receiver are the most popular features of this device. The satellite receiver works with multiple networks including GPS, GLONASS, Galileo2, and QZSS2. The Garmin echoMAP 50s has slots for Dual microSD cards but it’s incompatibility with BlueChart g2 Vision, Garmin’s own auto-guidance chart solution is a noticeable drawback. Nonetheless, this fish finder offers a stunning array of features for an eminently affordable price tag.
The Garmin echoMAP 50s operates at a 200/77 kHz frequency setting and provides accurate tracking up to a depth of 1900′ in fresh water and 700′ in seawater. This depth is nearly 500′ more than the Lowrance Elite 5 DSI that costs nearly $50 more than the echoMAP 50s. This fish finder also has a fresh water operating depth that is 400′ more than the Humminbird 788ci.
Overall, the Garmin echoMAP 50s is a high-performance device that outshines most other fish finders in its class. This is a testament to an innovative combination of GPS technologies and engineering that emphasizes substance over style.
|Garmin EchoMAP 50s||Raymarine Dragonfly||Lowrance Elite-5 HDI|
|Screen Size||5 in||5.7 in||5 in|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 640 pixels||640 x 480 pixels||480 x 480 pixels|
|Display Type||Color VGA||Color VGA||256 Color TFT|
|Imaging||2D||2D and Down Imaging||2D and Down Imaging|
|Transducer Type||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor|
|Transmit Power||500W (RMS) / 4,000W (peak to peak)||500W RMS|
|250W RMS, 30,000W Peak to Peak|
|Sonar Frequency||200/77 kHz||200 kHz Sonar/350 kHz Down Vision||(50/200 kHz or 83/200 kHz) 2D
455/800 kHz Down Scan
|Maximum Depth||1,900 ft fresh water / 700 ft salt water||600 ft in both DownVision and Sonar modes||1000 ft/2500 ft 2D
300 ft Down Scan
|GPS Antenna Type||Internal||Internal||Internal|