I bought a Lowrance elite 5 DSI new from ebay for $400 last may 2012. I liked it so much I bought another one from ebay for $350. The price dropped a week after I bought the first one and I couldn’t resist getting one for $350. I noticed they are different versions, the first one I bought was 2 years older. The older one has these nagging help screens that block everything out so you can’t proceed and it has less options, like horizontal split screens instead of vertical. I might be able to update it online but from what I read I will no longer be able to use my lakemap anymore, which I paid $100 for and it has the best coverage for the Mississippi river (IL, Iowa, Kansas edition). I thought I would share this since there is a lack of information on the web. They don’t even have an accurate manual for these elite 5s.
My lake map is great as far as pool 13, but pool 14 is missing all contour lines and depths. The wingdams are sometimes off by quite a bit so I have to use way points to show where it really is. Otherwise I really like it. Since I can’t get these lapemaster for lowrance anymore since johnson outboards bought them out and only work with hummingbirds now, I had to buy a hotspots map for $100 of the great lakes. It does not show contour lines, and showing depths withoput these contour lines will sure make if difficult to read and stay away from shallow areas. This was a disappointment and for $100 I expected much more. Like with everything fishing, the prices are way too high for what you get.
$400 – older version 1.0.0 with navico 2009
$350 – newer version 3.6.0 with navico 2009-2011
Be careful, you could be buying an older version and in my case it costs even more. I did not know this until I bought my second elite 5 dsi.
I do like these units, but the thrill is wearing off and I am finding that using landmarks is still important and I am also going back to using marker buoys.
I miss some things my old hummingbird had, like beeps for fish.
These things are in their primitive stages. many people won’t buy them because they are so hard to use, but once you get it set up and spend some time learning it isn’t so bad, it’s usable, but many features are a waste of time for freshwater fishing.
I do like the great lakes navionics chip I bought, and I bet the rivers aren’t much different from lakemaster but I havn’t seen them.
Things I wish it had are just dots for marking fish so the icons don’t block the screen and having a color choice for different types of fish would be nice and different size dots for different size fish size would be nice too. They need to make the menu on trails easier and faster to set. They need a simple mode for using in the boat and then have the more complex menus deeper inside where you can adjust at home. Most boats are out in the sun and your bent over and don’t have time to be going through complex menus to adjust something. Obviously they don’t test these out in a small fishing boat.
The depth finder might have great detail but I am finding it is pretty worthless for the shallower water in the Mississippi river channels. You can hardly see fish at all, turn the sensitivity up and the screen is full of crap where you can’t see anything.
It seems these units are for ocean vessels, downsized with many features cut. It might be easy to sit in a cabin chair and play with your unit but out fishing in a small boat it is very frustrating and painful to mess with these on the water while bent over bouncing in waves with bright sun shining on the screen.