Lowrance Elite-5 HDI Review in 2017/2018

Today we’re really excited to bring you our review of the Lawrence elite 5 HDI. Now I’ve got to tell you, this is one of my all time favorite fish finders currently available on the market. For 9 out of 10 people that ask me which fish finder to buy, this is the one that I recommend the most because it’s just so awesome.

Let’s dive right in and see what it’s all about.

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So first off is the screen size, one nice element of the elite 5 is its compact size, however, it’s not too compact since it has a nice 5-inch screen, which is super important as you want to see where the fish are right? So a nice size screen with a great definition is a must. The elite-5 HDI is the upgraded version of the elite-5, including the same great build quality.

So we’ve got a nice 5-inch diagonal screen which is pretty roomy and it also has two other features I like in a fish finder, which the screen is both square and full color. The resolution is 480 x 480 pixels, which in fish finders is pretty decent for a screen of this size.

Now, the really cool part about the elite-5 HD is the HDI imaging which is where it gets its name from.

Lowrance elite-5 HDI Review


Tech Specs:

  • Display: 5 inch – Full VGA Color
  • Resolution: 256-color TFT 480 x 480
  • Backlighting: Fluorescent cold cathode
  • HDI Operating Frequencies: (50/200 kHz or 83/200 kHz) + 455/800 kHz
  • Media Port: One (1) microSD slot
  • SD Card: Yes (optional)
  • Warranty: One year

Key Features:

  • Power Rating of 250W
  • Depth View of 1,000 feet at 50 kHz
  • 5-Inch, High-Resolution Color Display
  • Wide-Angle 83 or 50 kHz Beam
  • DownScan Overlay
  • Split-Screen Capabilities
  • Built-in GPS antenna

So What Is HDI?

HDI stands for Hybrid Dual Imaging and what this does is it uses the 3D sonar which is a really high-frequency beam that shows you a really clear picture, especially of the surrounding bed structure and also good coverage of submerged objects and so on.

It also boasts the traditional sonar as well, so this would be either 83 or 50 kilohertz, as well as the 200 killer HP and this sonar will show you arches and the traditional echoes that you are used to seeing. Combined this gives us an incredible piece of fish finding equipment in a nice five-inch package.

There is one really cool part about the elite 5, which is that it has just one transducer for all four frequencies, so there’s no complicated installation it simply installs the same way as any other fish finder would.

This finder comes with a transom mount transducer out of the box and it mounts easily and is pretty compact. I have found the elite-5 HDI to be really easy to use and it is as simple as taking it out of the box, fitting it securely and you’re good to go.

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What about GPS Capabilities?

The elite five HDI does have GPS capabilities, coming from its internal GPS antenna. The reading are pretty damn accurate readings and the basic maps pack that are available with the elite-5 contain around 3,000 US Lakes and 1,000 Coastal Areas, so plenty to get your hooks into!

If you wanted to, you can also expand with an SD card along with a bunch of other custom configurations available, where you can have the Navionics maps which are the king of maps.

The great thing about the new Lowrance Elite-5 HDI is that you can have the split screen viewing, which whilst this may get a little bit cramped on the 5-inch screen, it’s still pretty decent and you can see the GPS data, the traditional sonar data and also see the down scan data all on one screen, side by side.

This helps to see exactly where you are and you can put all of this together for the highest probability of finding fish wherever you are.

So there are quite a few configurations available with the with the elite 5 HDI. We have the basic 50 kHz which has no charts, no transducer. There’s another option with basic charts and an 83 kHz transducer, the difference between the 50 kHz and 83 kHz is that the 83 is more suited for shallow/fresh water and the 50 is suited for deeper/salt water.

So at 83 kHz, you should still be able to see down to about a thousand feet but only in freshwater. If you’re fishing in saltwater you’re better off going for the 50kHz model, although the 5200 is significantly more expensive, there’s also the Navionics gold that comes with it, which is what I referred to earlier, which is the gold package which also comes with the same configurations as the base model plus some additional features, such as DownScan overlay.

DownScan Overlay

This is one of the coolest features about the elite-5 series, what DownScan overlay does is it combines the traditional sonar and the DownScan sonar onto one screen, so this won’t be a split screen, it is all put together on the single screen view. It’s basically a mash-up of both frequencies and with that, it’s really easy to spot fish that are hiding under cover


To wrap up this review of the elite-5 HDI, it truly is one of my favorite fish finders on the market and if you’re thinking about buying is, I can highly recommend that you go for it.

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