Lowrance’s HDS-Series chartplotters have been a staple of the fishing and boating community for quite some time now. We have had their latest model, the HDS Carbon, one of the most powerful and popular chartplotters, on the market since 2017. Lowrance has just announced it’s latest installment in the line of chartplotters: The HDS LIVE
The HDS LIVE will be offered in 7”, 9”, 12”, and 16” screen sizes similar to the previous generations. The new units will feature the SolarMAX HD screen as seen on the HDS-Carbon displays, and some of the internal parts remain relatively the same, however the 12” units get a very notable performance upgrade. Lowrance is now equipping them with a quad-core processor, typically only found in the 16” displays. What this means is that the new HDS-LIVE 12” Chartplotters will have more processing power and operate faster than even last year’s 12” Carbons. The new processor will allow much smoother operation in split screen views. For single-screen systems the new HDS-LIVE chartplotters will be some of the most powerful options on the market and will absolutely be worth considering as an upgrade.
Beyond a few hardware changes, there are a handful of quality-of-life and software improvements made with the new HDS LIVE chartplotters to help stay connected while on the water. Smartphone notifications can be enabled so text messages and other notifications will pop up on screen. Live casting from your phone is also available on the 12” and 16” displays, and can be tiled in with multi-page views. Lowrance suggests that you will be able to watch video, view google maps, or fishing data on your display. Lowrance has also brought a couple sonar improvements to the table with HDS LIVE.
The new HDS LIVE Chartplotters will also feature new transducer similar to the “Totalscan” that was previously offered. The new transducers will support active imaging, a soon to be released improvement on their structurescan sonar. The new and improved structurescan will provide better resolution and include custom depth shading as well. Lowrance will offer this in two variants, either with or without “traditional” sonar, so if you want a single standalone transducer you can purchase the 3-in-1 variant. If you have another transducer for traditional sonar the 2-in-1 would be the way to go. C-MAP Genesis Live mapping is also supported, allowing you to scan and save ultra-HD (as fine as to ½-foot contours) charts of your favorite fishing spots.
Arguably the most prominent new feature coming to HDS LIVE chartplotters is the new Livesight sonar. This technology is new to Lowrance and provides you with a real-time view of what’s under the boat. Livesight sonar is expected to require a specific transducer to function, similar to Garmin’s Panoptix, and will be available to add to your HDS Live starting in the Spring of 2019. A lot of dealers are still in the dark, we will be posting more details as they are available.