The Lowrance HOOK-7 is on the review table today. I recently installed it on one of my kayaks and will have an install video available soon but today I’ll share the goods, the not so good, and make an overall recommendation.
From the manufacturer:
The Lowrance® HOOK-7 is a fishfinder/chartplotter that offers proven features at a great value without compromising the quality anglers have come to expect from Lowrance.
The HOOK-7 combines the benefits of CHIRP Sonar and DownScan Imaging™ technology to give you a clear and complete view of the underwater environment beneath your boat. It features enhanced sonar sensitivity, excellent target separation and superior noise rejection, making it easier to see baitfish and gamefish targets.
With a built-in GPS antenna and proven navigation features, revisiting your favorite fishing spot is simple with the HOOK-7, whether you use the base map, optional upgraded charts, or your own Insight Genesis custom maps.
Lowrance-exclusive, brilliant, high-resolution, 7-inch, color display
CHIRP Sonar plus DownScan Imaging™ — the power of today’s leading fishfinder technologies combined to provide the best possible view beneath your boat.
Highly accurate, built-in GPS antenna plus a detailed U.S. map featuring more than 3,000 lakes and rivers and coastal contours to 1,000 feet.
Optional Americas chart upgrades include Lake Insight™ and Nautic Insight™ PRO, Navionics HotMaps® Premium and Fishing Hotspots® PRO. Global chart upgrade options include Navionics + and Jeppesen C-MAP MAX-N.
Use your Insight Genesis™ custom maps created from your own sonar logs.
DownScan Overlay™ technology overlays DownScan Imaging onto CHIRP Sonar.
Advanced Signal Processing (ASP) reduces the need to manually adjust settings to see fish, structure and bottom detail more clearly.
TrackBack™ to review recorded sonar history including structure, transitions or fish targets, then pinpoint locations with a waypoint.
Convenient Page selector menu with quick access to all features using one-thumb operation.
Multi-Window Display lets you quickly choose from pre-set page layouts – including a three-panel view.
Display 7 in./178 mm (16:9)
Resolution 800 x 480
Operating Frequency 455/800 kHz (DownScan Imaging™), Med, High (CHIRP), 83kHz/200kHz
GPS Receiver/Antenna Internal high-sensitivity WAAS + EGNOS + MSAS
Languages 31 – Available in regional packs
Media Port One (1) microSD slot
Operating Voltage 12v DC (10-17v DC min-max)
Warranty One year
Coming from a five inch screen, I really loved being able to see more at once and let’s be honest, I’m no spring chicken so bigger screens are easier to read. The HOOK-7 has multiple screen views to choose from so you can mix and match what you want to look at. I typically run mapping/DI when paddling from spot to spot and then when I slow down to fish switch over to DI/200kHz split. The larger screen allows me to do that and not have to squint or zoom as often.
I like the sturdier horizontal mounting hardware on the seven inch but that may pose a space problem for smaller kayaks. If deck space is an issue, a RAM Mount system with a 1.5” ball system should work great for a single point mount.
The transducer is an all in one on this unit so it works well for a kayak setup as well. Trying to mount multiple transducers (Structure Scan etc) can be problematic and raise the install complexity. The transducer is also not the standard black but rather a vivid blue. Not sure how much I love or hate that yet. If I do decide I don’t like it I could always paint it I suppose.
On the water the unit performed the imaging functions really well. An important trick for kayak anglers especially is to slow your chart speed. I usually run chart speed at the same as mph I am paddling. Charting too fast can get you a lot of duplication and noise. Matching speed will clear that up. I didn’t have to adjust the sensitivity too much. I also left the default color palette thought you can change that.
Lowrance offers the option for advanced settings or easy settings on the HOOK-7 as have some of their previous models. If you don’t want to fiddle with tweaking it, don’t select advanced during setup and you won’t have to mess with any of it though your picture won’t be quite as dialed in.
Even with a mapping chip in the unit, refresh rates took a little longer than some other units I’ve used. I have found myself drifting past where I wanted to be because the unit seems to glitch occasionally.
The processor is supposed to be faster in this unit so I would guess the issue lies in the card read speed. I don’t have a firm reason on that yet.
The other wish list item I’d like to see is the option to split the screens horizontally instead of vertically. Often If I am tracking bottom structure, I want to see as much of the bottom as possible in DI and 200kHz. On the HOOK-7 the screen stacks as columns rather than rows.
I’ve used a lot of units from different manufacturers over the past decade but this is one of my favorites for imaging. If you don’t rely on a map heavily, this is a smoking good unit that can be had for around $400. Want to buy one? Check here:
Lowrance HOOK-7 with Mapping Card and Sun Cover,
If the glitch worries you on mapping, this is going to be a pass for you.