Hey everyone, today we have an exciting review coming your way. The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 94sv is what we’ll be going over today, and in the short time I’ve had this chart plotter, it’s been a good experience. Here’s what I’ve come to find out so far.
First things first, this puppy will set you back a grand at least no matter where you get it. The best you can hope for is finding it on sale for a couple of hundred dollars off the total. That being said, is it worth it? It is, at least to me. The price will remain the same regardless of what size screen you choose, with the options being available in 4-inch, 5-inch square, and 7- and 9-inch widescreen display sizes.
We’ll get into the specs later, but the first thing that jumps out about this product is how darn easy it is to set up. It’s pretty much ready to go out of the box, and the instructions are very easy to follow and make the installation process very easy. I was out on the water in less than an hour and a half, and if you are familiar with the setting up process with transducers, you know how quick that is.
I don’t know if you have had the same experience as me, but I have had problems with things being lifted off my boat in the past. This includes a lot of expensive technology. It’s often a risk that I have to take because I do not have the time or energy to go through with the long and complicated process of setting up each time. There is nothing complex about the Garmin setup, so I can remove it from my boat and keep it safe at home until my next trip.
One thing that struck me was how user-friendly the Garmin is. It’s advertised as “the power of simple” and it lives up to that claim in my opinion. All of the settings are logical and easy to use; it did not take me very long to figure out how everything works. The information is displayed in HD, is customizable, and the transitions are smooth. The screen and functions are controlled on the right and consist of six buttons, excluding the power one, to work the device. It is not a touch screen product.
I found nothing in the information that states if the Garmin is waterproof, and I haven’t taken any chances so far. The lack of information given by Garmin on whether it is or not, leads me to believe that it is not. I outlined the dimension choices earlier, and the weight comes in at 2.30 lbs total regardless of the choice. It feels very solid; neither too heavy or too light. It feels and gives the impression that it is well manufactured, and I haven’t had anything contradict that as of yet.
The preinstalled maps are breathtaking. It comes with built-in mapping, including U.S. BlueChart g2 charts, U.S. LakeVu HD maps or Canada LakeVu HD maps. I was immediately struck by how detailed they were and how clear they came through. They almost give the appearance of a camera taking a picture underneath the boat. They are also very easy to read – a perfect blend of information and a simple presentation.
The maps are customizable as well. You can pick and choose your favorite charts, tweak them to your needs, and save them for later. You’re also able to send your results to Garmin if you are into that kind of thing, share them with your fellow sailor friends, or just keep them for yourself to use later.
This thing is a beast; there’s no other way to put it. It runs incredibly fast; the imaging is crystal clear, and I have yet to have a single issue with either the hardware or software. The Chirp Sonar is very intuitive and able to detect things others miss and making fishing an entirely new experience. No more wasting hours at spots only to come up with nothing.
As of yet, I haven’t run aground in anything surprising that has managed to hide from the sonar. The range is very impressive with both on how far it goes and how deep. The settings are customizable, too.
Auto Guidance and GPS
Part of the success in avoiding unexpected landings is the auto guidance and GPS system. I was skeptical on how it would work at first, but overall it’s been pretty reliable. One attractive surprise feature is that you can time the expected length of a voyage.
Chances are you take your boat on similar routes most of the time. When not off exploring new areas, the GPX Waypoints function makes traveling usual routes a breeze. Finding your frequently visited locations takes little time and accessing the information could not be easier. The memory can hold 5,000 waypoints and 100 custom routes.
FUSION-Link Entertainment Center
If you have any FUSION-Link audio systems, you can control it right through this. I happen to be set up for that, and I’m very glad for that. It doesn’t interfere with any of the other settings and features; it’s just a little extra.
- HD images.
- Friendly UI.
- Long range sonar.
- Easy installation.
- Does not appear to be weatherproof.
Overall, I’m incredibly impressed with the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 94sv. I went in with extremely high expectations, and I was not disappointed. It’s an investment to be sure, but I believe what you get in return is worth it. I would easily pay more for this if I had to. The sonar range is extensive, the UI is very friendly, and the charting is superb. This is an unbiased review, I know I have said a lot of good about this, it’s just because it is a solid product and deserves the high praise.