Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv Review
by Ben Team
Once you start shopping for fish finders in the $500 to $700 price point, you can start to access some pretty impressive features. This includes things like down-imaging sonar technologies and touchscreen interfaces, as well as larger screen sizes, which are easy to see from a distance.
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv is a great example of this type of fish finder, and it comes in at the middle of this price range. Equipped with CHIRP and down-imaging sonar, a touchscreen interface and a very high-quality 7-inch screen, the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv is a strong competitor at its price point and provides almost every feature comparably priced units do.
Considering all of these factors – especially the touchscreen interface and high-quality maps included with your purchase -- Fishing Tech gives the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv a B+ grade.
See Review Table of Contents
ECHOMAP 73cv Features
The ECHOMAP Plus 73cv is designed to be functional, yet affordable, so it comes equipped with only those features that most anglers will find helpful, rather than packing it with a lot of bells and whistles you are unlikely to use.
Three of its features are especially valuable and help the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv pull out ahead of the other fish finders in the same price class.
CHIRP Sonar Technology
Traditional sonar units produce sonar signals of a single frequency, or in some cases, a few discrete frequencies. But the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv also includes CHIRP technology, which emits signals that sweep across a wide range of frequencies. This yields much better detail than traditional sonar modules do, and it provides very clear images of the underwater world.
Unsurprisingly given that it is manufactured by one of the leading GPS companies in the world, the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv comes equipped with a high-powered GPS module. This provides anglers with important information about not only their location but their heading and travel speed too. It even allows you to store 5,000 waypoints, so you’ll always be able to find productive fishing location again in the future.
Down-Imaging Scanning Sonar
The ECHOMAP Plus 73cv comes with Garmin’s powerful down-imaging sonar technology, called ClearVu. ClearVu provides a remarkable amount of detail and clarity, which will help you distinguish sunken logs from rock piles, and search for shipwrecks, old roadbeds and other fish-attracting features.
Some of the other important features and specifications of the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv include:
- Maximum depth readings of 2,300 feet in freshwater and 1,100 feet in saltwater
- WVGA color display with 400 x 800 screen resolution
- Display screen measures 6.1 inches by 3.4 inches (7-inch diagonal)
- IPX7 water-resistance rating
- Water temperature sensor included
- Split-screen zoom capabilities
- Water temperature log and graph
- Tilting swivel mount
- 1 Panoptix port
See full specs here.
ECHOMAP 73cv Review
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv has a number of characteristics that make it one of the best options at an intermediate price point. Some of the most noteworthy capabilities and design features of this sonar unit include:
High-Quality Display Image
Anglers should always prioritize a high-quality display when selecting a fish finder; otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much information the unit can process, as you won’t be able to see the images clearly. Fortunately, the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv features a 7-inch, sunlight readable display that produces crisp, clear images.
Keyed-Assist Touchscreen Interface
The ECHOMAP Plus 73cv allows you to navigate menus and screens and adjust parameters directly on the screen or through the use of the included keypad. This gives you the chance to use whichever type of interface is best suited to your current conditions. For example, you may use the touchscreen while navigating and then switch to the keypad once your fingers get wet while fishing.
Like many other Garmin fish finders, the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv comes with 17,000 preloaded LakeVu Maps – 13,000 of which feature 1-foot, shore-to-shore contour lines. This allows you to navigate even unfamiliar waters with ease and locate the best possible fishing locations.
Quickdraw Custom Map-Making
The ECHOMAP Plus 73cv may come with preloaded maps, but that doesn’t help anglers who fish in small or uncharted waters. But the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv also comes with Quickdraw custom map-making software. This allows you to make your own maps on the fly and means you’ll never have to fish blindly again.
The ECHOMAP Plus 73cv provides a number of split-screen functions to help you view multiple types of data at the same time. You could, for example, view an overhead map or chart on half the screen while viewing the CHIRP sonar image on the other. Alternatively, you could view two different sonar technologies at the same time, to help positively identify unusual objects or structure.
IPX7 Water-Resistance Rating
The ECHOMAP Plus 73cv boasts an IPX7 water-resistance rating, which means that it will not only take splash and spray in stride, it can even tolerate brief submersion without suffering damage. You obviously don’t want to make a habit of dunking your fish finder under water, but it is nice to know that a minor accident won’t ruin it completely.
ECHOMAP 73cv Pros and Cons
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv is an impressive fish finder, but like every other model on the market, it has a number of strengths and weaknesses. You’ll want to consider these factors carefully when making a choice, to ensure you select a fish finder that suits your needs.
- Combination touchscreen and keypad interface
- Comes pre-loaded with 17,000 LakeVu Maps
- Custom map-making capabilities
- High-quality display image
- Wireless connectivity
- Does not include side-imaging capabilities
- Only images clearly to 1,100 feet in saltwater, which limits its offshore capabilities
It is often helpful to compare fish finders with other models made by the same manufacturer, as well as a few made by other manufacturers to ensure you get good value for your dollar. Some of the most applicable comparisons are examined below.
Other Products in the Line
The two fish finders in Garmin’s lineup that are most comparable to the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv include the ECHOMAP Plus 63cv and the ECHOMAP Plus 73sv. The former is about $150 cheaper than the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv and the latter is about $150 more expensive.
The ECHOMAP Plus 63cv differs from the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv in a few minor ways, but its most notable differences include the lack of a touchscreen interface and the smaller display screen (the ECHOMAP Plus 63cv features a 6-inch screen). The lack of touchscreen technology may not matter to some anglers, but most will appreciate the larger screen provided by the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv. It is up to each angler to determine if the additional inch of screen size is worth the difference in price.
On the other hand, the ECHOMAP Plus 73sv is essentially the same unit as the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv except for one key difference: The ECHOMAP Plus 73sv comes with SideVu – Garmin’s name for side-imaging scanning sonar. Because side-imaging views can be very helpful for searching large areas quickly, many anglers may find it wise to go with the better-equipped, if more expensive, unit.
There are a few comparably priced fish finders that offer many of the same features and capabilities that the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv does, but two of the best include the Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2N and the Raymarine Dragonfly 7PRO.
The HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2N is the same price as the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv, and it provides most of the same features. This includes down-imaging sonar, CHIRP sonar and wireless connectivity. However, the HELIX 7 also offers a few nice bells and whistles that are lacking from the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv, including SmartStrike location-recommendation software and ethernet connectivity.
Read our full Humminbird HELIX 7 Review.
The Dragonfly 7PRO is actually one of Raymarine’s best-equipped consumer-level fish finders (they have a few more expensive models designed for charter captains and professional anglers). It is available with or without preloaded charts; you’ll spend about $470 for a bare-bones model or about $550 for one loaded with your choice of three different map packages.
But no matter which package you select, you’ll notice that the Dragonfly 7PRO comes equipped with most of the important features provided by the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv, including CHIRP sonar, DownImaging (Raymarine’s down-imaging scanning sonar technology) and wireless connectivity. The only important difference is that the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv features a touchscreen interface, while the Dragonfly 7PRO does not.
Read our full Raymarine Dragonfly 7PRO Review.
The Bottom Line
The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 73cv is clearly a feature-packed fish finder, and those shopping at this price point would likely find that it helps them find and catch more fish. It is also a helpful navigational aid, which comes with preloaded maps and custom map-making functionality.
It has an impressive collection of imaging technologies, although a few other models in this price range are better-equipped in this regard. However, it is the only model on the market that provides down-imaging capabilities, CHIRP sonar and a touchscreen display in one unit. Essentially, if you are trying to decide between the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv and one of the similar units detailed above, you’ll want to decide how important touchscreen functionality is to you.
Ultimately, the ECHOMAP Plus 73cv is a high-quality and capable fish finder that earns a B+ grade from Fishing Tech. You could certainly find fish finders that provide more features, but you’ll generally have to spend more money to do so.