Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 Review
by Jean Whitehead
The fish finder is one of the top pieces of equipment in the bag of any avid angler and it certainly makes fishing a little easier. It does not take the thrill out of the catch but makes life easier to find the thrill and knowing where to cast. Having a high-end fish finder can be pricey, but rewarding at the same time. With all of the top features on the market, one should not need to worry about missing a catch.
The Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 is one of the top fishfinders designed by Lowrance. It is quite expensive but includes all of the top features you would expect to find in the other cheaper fish finders with the addition of something extra. Staying with CHIRP technology, Lowrance has made a fish finder that can compete with anything you need for taking on the ocean.
Fishing Tech happily gives the Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 and overall rating of A+.
HDS-9 Gen3 Key Features
The Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 comes with a diagonally designed 9-inch display system. The screen features a touchscreen functionality and additional navigational buttons are also present if you feel the need to operate it without touching the screen. It features an 800H x 480V pixel matrix and the backlight can be toggled on and off depending on your personal preference.
With a display ratio of 16:9 for viewing the screen, it also comes with fishing icons instead of arches. The multi-window feature continues to stay in the HDS series and it offers users the luxury of viewing multiple different stats and the sonar at the same time. Finally, Advanced Signal Processing helps the fish finder adapt automatically while processing information.
Sonar and Transducer
One of the main parts of buying a fish finder is the sonar and without a decent sonar and transducer, the fish finder will be worthless. The HDS-9 Gen3 comes with a CHIRP sonar that operates on frequencies of 83/200 kHz, while the added StructureScan feature operates on a frequency of 455/800 kHz. It has an overall depth range of 750-feet, while the StructureScan has an overall depth of 300-feet and a SideScan option ranging at around 600-feet.
Lowrance has once again included the TotalScan transducer with this fish finder, but it can also be ordered without this transducer, making it possible to add your very own compatible transducer if needed. The TotalScan transducer is weatherproof and functional in cold-water conditions as well. It also includes temperature-measuring nodes that make it possible to see the temperature of the water at any given location.
GPS and Maps
The Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 comes with a highly sensitive 10Hz internal antenna. It comes fully loaded with the Insights USA maps and this contains the locations of most US lakes, rivers, and coastal regions. These locations can also be viewed in either 3D or 2D, but the multi-window function makes it possible to view the maps in both of these formats.
This fish finder also comes with a new unique feature called StructureScan. It enables users to record StructureScan logs and these can be overlaid with maps to have much better situational awareness. Insight Genesis also makes it possible to plot multiple waypoints and create your very own customized maps that can be shared online with other users of the GoFree app.
Finally, the fish finder comes with a built-in wireless connection that can be used to connect to Wi-Fi sources and download new maps and software. As mentioned before, the GoFree Cloud app is included for sharing information and storing your custom maps online. However, the fish finder includes two MicroSD card slots that can be used for saving these maps externally as well.
- Quick-release mounting bracket
- Available in multiple different languages
- Includes the Lowrance SmartSteer feature
- Includes an optional video input adapter cable
- TrackBack feature enables you to review the sonar
- Optional portable stand can be purchased
HDS-9 Gen3 Review
The Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 comes with a durably designed display system. The entire fish finder also features an overall waterproof rating of IPX7. This means that it is waterproof for up to 30-minutes in 1-meter deep water. However, we do not recommend testing this as the fish finder is not designed for swimming.
The sonar and transducer also some of the best we have seen and the TotalScan transducer is extremely versatile and functional. Testing it in cold weather conditions proved to work without any real hiccups and the addition of the backlight, makes it perfect for night fishing as well. It is worth noting that the TotalScan transducer is a necessity if you want to use the StructureScan feature.
The unit's quality is evident in an overview of its settings:
The performance makes or breaks the fish finder and the Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 is an extremely fast and effective fish finder at processing data. The Advanced Signal Processing technology limits the amount of adjustments you need to make to the fish finder, helping you focus on catching fish instead. It works perfectly fine for the occasional saltwater fishing trip and with a maximum depth range of 750-feet; you will see the bottom of most lakes.
One thing that we loved about the fish finder is the addition of the Bluetooth compatibility. This enables the user to connect the fish finder to either their mobile device or tablet and operate it remotely. Additionally, if you have the portable stand, the fish finder offers you more versatility and it can be used for fishing from the shore.
Mapping is one of the parts that make the Lowrance fish finders excel. The fish finder already comes with a highly sensitive GPS antenna and the Insight USA charts. However, these can be upgraded online with the app to expand your library and add new locations that you will be visiting around the world. The GPS enables you to plot up to 200 routes with 5000 waypoints in all of them and the additional MicroSD card slots make it possible to add even more.
The GPS is also compatible with multiple different maps and these include the Navionics and the C-MAX MAP-N+. All the other Insight maps can be downloaded to expand your library as well. One of the biggest drawbacks; however, is the fact that all of these need to be purchased and this can be rather expensive in the end.
HDS-9 Gen3 Pros and Cons
- Excellent durability
- Stylishly designed
- Can easily be removed with the quick-release bracket
- Features internet connectivity with the GoFree app
- Allows you to build your own custom maps
- Limited 1-year warranty included
- Quite expensive
- All upgrades must be purchased
Other Products in the Line
The Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 is an improvement over the Gen2. It is not the most expensive Lowrance fish finder, but in terms of features, it is certainly one of the very best. It ranks just under the HDS-12 and the extremely expensive HDS-16 but should be considered as one of the best when it comes to fishing in freshwater or inland.
Since the competition is fierce when it comes to marine technology, the competition is certainly up their and this pushed manufacturers to develop better and better fish finders. Garmin features 2 fish finder that closely competes with the Lowrance HDS-9 and while they might not be as stylish, they are still extremely functional.
The Garmin 010-01816-02 Echomap Chirp 92SV features a highly sensitive GPS antenna, designed by one of the world leaders in GPS technology. It includes a CHIRP sonar and also features a diagonal design that looks stylish and durable. Unfortunately, it is not touchscreen, but it is worth noting that it is a little cheaper.
The Garmin Echo 301dv Worldwide with Transducer only features a 3.5-inch display, but it comes with a great transducer and Garmin DownVu scanning that makes spotting fish that much easier. The fish finder might not be as larger, but its perfect for fishing in the ocean and features a maximum depth range of 1,750-feet. It is also a little cheaper on the pocket.
The Bottom Line
While the larger HDS-12 and the HDS-16 are perfect for fishing in the ocean, the Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 offers the perfect combination of features and depth capabilities to fish inland and in coastal regions without costing you too much. However, if you plan on staying inland, the fish finder might be a little expensive and you could simply look for one of the cheaper models like the HDS-7.
Fishing Tech happily gives the Lowrance HDS-9 Gen3 an overall rating of A+ and we would highly recommend it to the more advanced and avid anglers that go fishing on a regular basis.