Lowrance Hook HDS 9 Gen 3 Review

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Coming in with near top of the market technology and updated features from the acclaimed 2nd generation, the Gen 3 Lowrance Hook HDS 9 is a hot topic in the fishing world as of late. This electronic fish finding unit is near the higher end of electronic units available to the consumer fishing industry. When you see all the features contained in this powerful and compact fish finder, you will see why.

Lowrance took many comments from anglers into consideration when modifying this unit from the Gen 2. The updated unit features enhanced graphics, increased processing speed, and improved interface usability to make this one of the current top units on the market.

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Main Features

The HDS 9 Gen 3 is an all-in-one electronic unit for your fishing boat. Featuring a now brighter and more detailed 9-inch backlit screen, it provides ample viewing room for multiple windows at a time. The screen is touch-compatible, though the best part is the unit also features buttons on each side of the screen for more traditional push-button operation. The interface usability has been enhanced on the Gen 3. One of the modifications includes vertical sliding page menus on each side of the screen, a feature reportedly appreciated by many anglers over the older Gen 2 bottom menu.

The integrated GPS system on this unit offers excellent location precision and includes a variety of maps. Compared to other lower end Lowrance systems that only include BaseMaps, this unit comes fully featured with Insight Maps which offer increased resolution and image definition. With microSD card slots, users even have the ability to build and store custom maps away from the unit and upload them when necessary.

Now for the important part. The unit’s fish finding and sonar capabilities. As you could expect, a unit of this caliber is going to offer top-of-the-line sonar performance and underwater viewing capabilities. Like other Lowrance units, the CHIRP technology stands out and provides anglers with premier fish detection and separation abilities. Unlike some of the other units, the HDS 9 also features StructureScan technology. This offers ultimate life-like precision in viewing the underwater structure of the bottom composition below you.

Another stand-out feature of this unit is the multiple wireless capability options it provides. First off, this unit is Bluetooth-compatible, meaning you can actually control the unit from a connected smartphone on board. Additionally, with built-in Wifi, you can actually purchase and download additional maps and upgrades for your unit while on board your boat.

While not the most advanced unit that Lowrance produces, the HDS 9 does not fall far from it. With all the technology and consideration packed into this serious boat electronic unit, the HDS 9 Gen 3 has been well-received by the angling community.

Pros 

  • Lighting-Fast Processor - One of the upgrades to the Gen 3 unit is an updated processor to provide quick response time compared to the Gen 2 units. With all the features and power this unit provides, it comes an increased demand in processing speed. You can rest assured knowing that you won’t be sitting there fiddling with your unit waiting for it to respond to the button you hit five seconds ago. Expect on-demand performance out of this one.

  • Bluetooth and Cloud Wireless Connectivity - With these features, you can operate your unit from a connected smartphone while on board your boat, which also allows you to transfer custom maps back and forth. Additionally, with WIFi cloud capabilities, you can actually purchase and download new maps and apps from your unit in the comfort of your boat cockpit with the GoFree App.

  • Insight USA Maps and Customizable Options - The included Insight USA maps are an upgrade in resolution and definition from some of the lower end unit BaseMaps. Additionally, you can customize and modify the Insight maps or download and customize other maps with your smartphone and Lowrance HDS 9 unit.

  • StructureScan Sonar Technology - While the CHIRP sonar is the go-to when it comes to finding and defining fish, there are better ways to read the structures and lake bottoms below you. That is where StructureScan comes in. This sonar technology offers near picture-quality definitions of the hard surfaces and aquatic vegetation below. Couple this screen with the CHIRP sonar next to it and you will have a near life-like understanding of what is below your boat.

Cons 

  • Features Come at a Cost - While certainly not the most expensive boat electronic unit on the market, it is definitely not the most affordable. This is a unit designed to be a powerful and all-encompassing unit for all freshwater and some inshore saltwater fishing electronics. With the upgraded sonar technology, high-resolution maps, and upgraded features this unit is not to be considered a budget unit. Expect to pay for the performance; but in the scheme of boat electronics, it won’t break the bank.
  • Upgrades Still Need to be Purchased - While this unit comes with a powerful bank of Insight Maps and sonar technology, some upgrades must still be purchased. These would include upgraded maps or satellite imagery for ultimate GPS capabilities. SideScan sonar is also an upgraded feature which can be purchased. While this could be considered as a con to some, others may appreciate the ability to upgrade the unit as they see fit and decide what they want to pay for.

What is the Lowrance Hook HDS 9 Gen 3 Best For?  

While not the premier electronic boat unit from Lowrance, the HDS 9 Gen 3 is not far off. For the power and technology contained in this excellent value unit, you are still going to have to pay for the features. This is an electronic unit for someone looking for some of the best fish finders available on the market without totally breaking the bank.

With this unit on your boat, you will have a powerful GPS with included high-resolution maps and excellent sonar capabilities to read both fish and structure. To keep up with this technology, the unit offers a high definition, large and bright LED screen for quick and easy readings. For those who want the best of both worlds, the touch-screen and push-button operation are hard to beat.

If wireless compatibility is an important feature to you, this unit delivers in that arena. Users have the ability to operate the unit via Bluetooth compatibility with their smartphone. This also allows for the downloading and modification of maps between units. Additionally, with the GoFree App, users actually can download new maps straight from their HDS 9 unit. For a slightly more traditional tech-junkie, the microSD card slots allow for the transport and storage of map data externally.

Bottom Line

For those looking to purchase an electronic unit for a new boat or simply upgrade their current unit, the HDS 9 Gen 3 is worth a closer look. Offering near top-of-the-line performance at a more mid-range price, this unit delivers power and precision on the water.

While not powerful enough to be taking out on offshore ocean excursions, this unit will do everything from freshwater fishing to serious saltwater inshore trips. With high-quality GPS technology, this is a reliable unit from a navigation standpoint and offers the ability to modify and customize maps to your needs. With enough features to read both fish and structures below you, it will be hard to find the limits of this unit.

Check out the newly updated Gen 3 HDS 9 unit by Lowrance. With the increased thought and consideration brought into some primary operational mechanisms, the updated version delivers next level performance in an onboard electronic fish finding and GPS unit. Lowrance continues to deliver excellent boat electronic products. 

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