Garmin STRIKER 7sv — Full review

They say that behind every good man there’s a great woman. However, we would argue that behind every great fisherman there’s a great fishfinder. A modern fishfinder like Garmin STRIKER 7sv can help the user to locate his prey quicker and more accurately than he would do using more traditional equipment. Which is why we were so excited when we finally got the chance to test Garmin’s Striker 7sv.

The Striker 7sv is the latest version of Garmin’s successful fishfinder series. With its easy-to-use screen and powerful sonar, the 7sv has quickly become the ideal companion for all types of fishermen. Whether it’s tracking down game fish, looking for schools of tuna, or recording the coordinates of good fishing spots, the Striker 7sv comes with a range of features that make fishing more productive and enjoyable than ever before.

POWERFUL SONARS FOR INCREASED AWARENESS

The 7sv is a modern fishfinder that integrates sonar, CHIRP sounder, and other detection technologies, along with sophisticated navigational systems into a small electronic instrument that the user can easily interpret and operate. The 7sv can be used both by sport and commercial fishermen since it is powerful enough to fit the needs of both without being overly pricey.

The comprehensive sonar system represents the eyes and ears of this instrument, as it uses state-of-the-art technologies to provide a clear image of what lies below. Adjusting the configuration of the sonar system allows the user to switch between a full-circle scanning of his surrounding, or focus the signal to explore a specific area to clearly distinguish schools of fish from underwater vegetation, coral reefs, or debris.

DETAILED IMAGES AND ALL-AROUND COVERAGE

To make this level of scanning possible, the Striker 7sv uses two separate sonar systems, in addition to its traditional sonar, to sweep below and sideways separately. While the DownVu sonar surveys the water below and creates a precise picture of the area under the boat, the SideVu does the same with the areas around the boat. Both systems use noise suppression and high image definition to give an ultra clear image of the objects around with a great target separation, both on fresh and seawater.

Garmin’s CHIRP technology adds an extra level of detail by using a mix of high and low frequencies to create a detailed picture of what’s lying below the surface. Which means that while other commercial sonars depict shoals of fish as a big blob, the CHIRP system allows the user to see each fish individually, therefore avoiding confusing the target with other types of fish or even rocks underwater.

MAPPING FEATURES FOR EASE OF NAVIGATION

The Striker 7sv also comes with a modern GPS system that makes marine navigation much easier by offering accurate positioning regardless of location or weather conditions. But rather than just being a digital map the GPS system includes many useful features that allow the user to find his current location and track the speed of his boat with just one click of a button.

But by far the most useful feature is that it allows users to mark and store up to 5,000 waypoints, making it extremely easy to map an area and record all your favorite fishing hotspots. In this way users can create an entire map of a lake or a bay with detailed information about the best locations, including the site’s depth and temperature, using symbols and names to make them more easily recognizable.

Navigating between waypoints is done even simpler by using the Navigate Route function, which allows you to trace the nearest course to your target. Waypoints can also be transferred to an echoMAP unit seamlessly integrating the waypoint map into echoMAP’s sophisticated chartplotter.

EASY-TO-INTERPRET CONTROL UNIT

With its 7-inch display and its 800×480 WVGA screen, the 7sv’s control unit offers great detail for side imaging allowing the user to zoom in and out of the picture to gain a complete picture of the waters surrounding him. The spacious display also supports a split-screen view, with up to 3 panels being able to play on the screen at the same time.

The control unit’s split-screen mode is especially useful because it allows the user to visualize different sonar images simultaneously. While the DownVu image carefully depicts the fish and obstacles below, the SideVu represents what’s beside the vessel as it is seen from an overhead vantage point, and the CHIRP sonar signals can be seen as three-dimensional images of what lies below with colors being used to represent the size of objects, their density, and the strength of the signal.

PROS VS CONS

Garmin’s Striker 7sv is an excellent fishfinder that offers a sophisticated range of features for an entry-level price. For just $500 users can get a comprehensive detection and navigation system which includes a traditional sonar, DownVu and SideVu sonar, CHIRP, and a GPS mapping and navigation system. The device’s 7-inch high-quality color screen is just about perfect when it comes to representing all these signals as near-photographic images, giving the user a clear idea of what lies below and around his boat. Besides offering an outstanding resolution, the control device is also easy to operate, being bright enough to be seen even on dark or sunny days.

However, despite its advantages, the 7sv still has some weaknesses that are worth mentioning. For all its successful integration of sophisticated technologies, the Striker 7sv lack of NMEA connectivity means that it doesn’t have the capacity to integrate with devices from other manufacturers. Similarly, its lack of an SD card reader also means that it cannot copy waypoints from other units than Garmin. Finally, it doesn’t save the settings which means that the users have to spend time reconfiguring their preferences each time they turn it on.

FINAL VERDICT

The Garmin Striker 7sv is an excellent entry-level fishfinder that is equipped with everything that the sports and recreational fisherman may need. Its affordable price and powerful sonar equipment gives buyers plenty of bang for their buck, although this comes at the cost of other advanced technologies like a chartplotter, sonar recording, or increased connectivity. Still, for its price, the Striker 7sv provides excellent sonar capabilities and a handy GPS mapping system that allows users not only to spot and catch fishes but also to map their favorite locations so they can keep coming back for more.


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