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Garmin Echo 500c Review

Garmin Echo 500c has an average rating of 3.83 out of 5 based on 6 user reviews.



Brand new for 2011 is the Garmin Echo 500c. The unit is perfectly designed for those looking for a fully capable and powerful sounder with a very small and space efficient footprint. It’s easy on the eyes as well; the 5 inch full color QVGA monitor boasts 256 colors, high resolution, and provides plenty of brightness for direct sunlight viewing.

Monitor the underwater dwellings with the dual beam 500 watt (4,000 watt peak to peak) transducer. Depths of up to 1900 feet in freshwater and 700 feet is saltwater are achieved with the 200 kHz narrow beam. The unit can be programmed to switch to the wider angled beam for views of structures and fish targets around the boat periphery.

Many specialty image processing features from Garmin are built into this device. Ultrascroll displays fish targets even at high boat speeds; Fish Symbol ID clearly identifies targets with graphical icons; and Smooth Scaling technology helps retain historical sonar information when switching depth ranges. Various sensors provide vital information such as water speed and water temperature which can be logged and graphed for analysis.

The Garmin Echo 500c has it all in a compact and intuitive package. 2011 looks like a good year for the electronic angler. You can get a great deal on Garmin Echo 500c here.

 Garmin echo 500cLowrance Elite-5x DSIHumminbird 596c HD DI
Screen Size5 in / 127 mm5 in / 127 mm5 in / 127 mm
Screen Resolution640 x 480 pixels480 x 480 pixels640 x 640 pixels
Display TypeVGA, 256 colors256-color SolarMAX PLUS TFT256 colors
Imaging2DDown Imaging2D and Down Imaging
Transducer TypeTransom Mount/Trolling MotorTransom Mount/Trolling MotorTransom Mount/Trolling Motor
Transmit Power500W RMS
4000W Peak-To-Peak
500W RMS
4000W Peak-To-Peak
300W RMS
2400W Peak-To-Peak
Sonar Frequency200/77 kHz83/200 kHz200/455 kHz 2D
455/800 kHz Down Imaging
Maximum Depth1900 ft1000 ft1000 ft 2D
250 ft Down Imaging

User Reviews

Posted by Dan Menay

  • 5/5

After using it all summer long I can say that performance and quality is excellent. Best value on a 5 inch color fishfinder. Doesn’t have down imaging but costs $200 less than Humminbirds.

Posted by Scott Mansfield

  • 3/5

This fishfinder is OK. My only concern is the mount – doesn’t fit very well and rattles at higher speeds. Had to flush mount it because of the loose base.

Posted by Carl Schwindt

  • 5/5

This is a great sonar. I can ran at 30 mph and get good readings upto 400′ and that’s in saltwater. Extremely accurate and sensitive sonar. It doesn’t give you pretty pictures but it accurately shows you fish, bottom and structure.

If you’re looking for something that has all kinds of bells and whistles and looks great on paper but doesn’t work on the water – get a Humminbird. If you’re looking for a real sonar that will help you find fish and give you accurate depth readings – get a Garmin Echo.

Posted by Scott Challman

  • 4/5

The unit came with everything needed packaged in the box. Cord length had been a concern since it was not listed in the description and my boat is a 16 footer. In the end I needed to tie up the excess cord in loops so it will fit in even larger craft easily.
The unit is remarkably simple to use. In fact I forgot the manual on my first trip and was still able to set it up and use it without much fuss. The screen was easily visible even in direct sunlight and the information helped make it a successful day fishing. My only gripe is that the mount does not allow it to rotate fully, so I can’t turn it to be visible while fishing from the bow and leave it mounted in the cockpit for use when driving.

Posted by Charles

  • 4/5

I upgraded from the black and white version to the color 500c about two years ago. I am not much on the “fish finder” aspect since the number of fish it reads seems to have little or no effect on the number of bites. I use it mostly as a sonar for showing structure and depth. In two years of use there have only been a handful of moments when it dropped its readings and those were brief, only a minute or so. Overall I have nothing bad to say about it. A solid unit all around.

Posted by Robb Hall

  • 2/5

I bought this unit (500c) back in 2013 from BassPro Shop. Worked as expected up until about a year ago, then the unit would jump in and out of Demo mode. I verified all of my connections, especially the transducer connection. Took the boat out on multiple occasions and it would still bounce in and out of demo mode. Even did it while I was tied upto the dock not moving. Now the unit stays in demo mode the whole time. I’ve tried moving the transducer connection around on the back of the unit (wiggling it), with no luck. I’m thinking the transducer itself is bad. Very disappointed…

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