Lowrance Elite-5 HDI Review



Lowrance has done it again with their new Elite-5 HDI series that combines the best of Lowrance technology into one amazing fish finding package.

If you have ever used Lowrance before, you know how good their DownScan Imaging is, and you also know how good their traditional Broadband Sounder is.

The new HDI technology(which stands for Hybrid Dual Imaging) combines both of those into one high-resolution package!

lowrance elite 5 hdi

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This baby has a power rating of 250W, and Lowrance boasts that you can see as far down as 1000 feet at 50 kHz. That’s an impressive number! Since most fish can be found much shallower than that, the Elite-5 HDI is your one-stop solution, showing you crisp, clear details of the bottom, structure, and schools of fish on its 5 inch, high-res color display.

In a compact, 5 inch package, you have everything you need to set and follow tracks and waypoints, view your position on a map, use the wide-angle 83 or 50 kHz beam to find promising areas, and really zoom in on them using the 200 kHz and DownScan frequencies. DownScan by itself is very effective for really seeing what kind of bottom and structure there is, so you can see a tree as a tree, a pylon as a pylon, and a rock as a rock.

Once you know the structure and bottom, you can use the Broadband SONAR to spot fish arches or fish lines, watch your line go in and how you jig it, and finally, watch as an arch creeps closer and closer to your line until you finally get a bite!


The Elite-5 HDI is a great fish finder for the fisherman that wants all the features that come with more expensive models, like combo broadband and high-res SONAR and GPS, but in a compact and economical package.

It can be used with boats of all sizes, too: from kayaks all the way to bass boats and rigs. The new HDI series is also the recreational angler’s version of the higher end HDS series. If you are looking for performance but don’t want an entire computer(figuratively) on your boat, the HDI is the way to go.


The HDI series has an amazing feature that combines the benefits of DownScan and traditional SONAR. DownScan is primarily used to find structure – it’s not very accurate for spotting individual fish. For that, you are better off with traditional SONAR.

The Elite-5 HDI has bridged that gap with DownScan overlay – now you can see one screen that shows bottom and structure with DownScan images – so you can see every tree, rock, and submerged object for what it is – and it will also show suspended arches from traditional SONAR, which are most likely fish.

This way, you can catch those sneaky fish that are hiding deep inside cover – which you couldn’t have normally seen with either a traditional or DownScan SONAR.


Before, to really get optimal readings, you had to manually adjust and tweak the settings on your fish finder. It was a process of trial and error. Lowrance Elite-5 HDI units have something called Advanced Signal Processing Technology which automatically judges the readings it’s getting and adjusts the SONAR settings itself so you can see fish, structure and bottom with greater clarity.

If you missed something, use the Trackback feature to scroll backwards into SONAR history to see what was recorded, and you can even create a waypoint using a trackback location, so you aren’t guessing in the dark about where that spot was.

Since all the keys are on one side, you can easily use this unit with one hand so you can keep your other hand on the wheel or on the motor.


The generous 5 inch screen on the Lowrance Elite-5 HDI also lets you split the screen into 3 panels, so you can see the charts, DownScan and broadband SONAR all on one page, side by side.

There are many preset views built in, so you can choose to see a combination of SONAR/GPS, SONAR/DownScan, frequency 1/frequency 2, or DownScan 1/DownScan 2. The views are all pre-installed, so you can cycle beween them with the touch of a button.


The built-in GPS antenna will mark your position accurately on the built-in U.S map that has more than 3000 lakes and rivers that includes depth contours and details of the shoreline, as well as coastal contours down to 1000 feet. Other charting options that are available are Lowrance Lake Insight, Nautic Insight Pro, Navionics Gold, Hotmaps Premium, and Fishing Hotspots Pro.


Suppose you are in a smaller community, and the body of water you are on doesn’t have a detailed map. With Lowrance Insight Genesis, you can create your own map! Just go into your fish finder’s settings to enable SONAR recording to the memory card, and criss-cross across the entire area that you want to map.

Once you are done, you can go to your computer, upload the maps into the Insight Genesis software(available for a yearly subscription fee from Lowrance), and let it process the data. Once that’s done, you can download the new processed maps onto your memory card, load it into your fish finder, and voila! You have a map with detailed contours, vegetation, and bottom composition.


Since there is only one transducer that has all four frequencies, mounting it is a cinch. You can even remove your old transducer and mount this right where the old one was, or you can mount it in line with it, too. If you are going to use this on a kayak or a plastic-hulled canoe, you can mount the transducer inside the hull on a flat area using a generous amount of marine goop or silicone.

The fish finder unit itself can mount on any small flat area, such as on the top of your dash, or you can also use a ram mount to fit it in a tight space.

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  • Display: 5″/12.7cm Full VGA SolarMAXâ„¢ PLUS Color
  • Resolution: 256-color TFT 480 x 480
  • Backlighting: Fluorescent cold cathode
  • Power Output: RMS (PTP): Max 250W RMS, 30,000W Peak to Peak (analog equivalent)
  • Languages: 30
  • HDI Operating Frequencies: (50/200 kHz or 83/200 kHz) + 455/800 kHz
  • Operating Voltage: 12 vDC (10-17 vDC min-max)
  • Media Port: One (1) microSD slot
  • Languages: 30
  • Output Power [kW]:12 W (0.9 A @ 13 vDC)
  • Memory Card Capable: Yes
  • Warranty: One year


  • Depth Alarm: Yes
  • Sonar Frequencies: (50/200 or 83/200 kHz) + 455/800 kHz
  • Shallow Alarm: Yes
  • Temperature Readings: Yes
  • Transducer Type: Multiple selections Lowrance and Airmar®Max Depth Per Transducer Type
    • DownScan Imagingâ„¢: Max 300′ / 91M @ 455/800 KHz
    • Broadband Sounderâ„¢: Max 1000′ / 305M @ 83/200 kHz
    • Broadband Sounderâ„¢: Max 2500′ / 762M @ 50/200 kHz


    • Waterproof Standard/Rating: IPx7
    • Product Width: 6.9″ 174mm
    • Product Depth: 2.5″ 63mm
    • Product Height: 5.4″ 136mm

Power Supply (Supply Voltage): 12 vDC (10-17 vDC min-max)

GPS Navigation 

  • Navigation: Routes: 100
  • Navigation: Waypoint Storage: 3,000
  • GPS Antenna Type: Internal high-sensitivity WAAS + EGNOS + MSAS (optional external antenna)
  • Plot Trails: Up to 100 trails – up to 10,000 points / trail
  • GPS Alarms: Yes

Networking Connectors 
NMEA Output: NMEA 0183

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