For those needs of both extreme
shallow water capabilities and excellent viewing in direct sunlight, IMHO I'd go with a Humminbird unit. I just bought the Matrix 27, with water temp, from Broken Leg Dave (www.brokenlegdave.com
) for $221 (arrived 2 days later) and it has 340 wide by 640 tall resolution.
In my experience, the H'birds have better screen viewability than the Eagles in direct sunlight and much better noise rejection. The display on the Eagle would be different depending on whether I was running with the current or against it. I never had that problem with any of the H'bird units showing excessive screen "clutter".
Another subtle point, the Eagle depth readout displays to the 1/10th of a foot reading, so the readout is always flashing from 10.2 to 10.4 to 10.3, etc. ... rapidly, and I found that extremely ANNOYING
. The H'birds display the depth to the whole number.
Once last comment on the Eagle Fishmark 320, I did not care for its backlighting and that's really why I replaced it. For that amber backlight to work, it had to be on FULL bright and I found it blinded my helm at night ... but your opinion/application could very well be different. With all that said, it did have incredible screen resolution(though a bit "noisy" with clutter) for a unit that now sells for $160 or so.
FYI - If you want to "test drive" any of the Eagle machines, you can download an emulator, click here:
that loads a simulated depth machine onto your computer. Extreme fun to play with, just like using one :grin , but like a real unit, one must hold your cursor on the power button for 2-3 seconds to get it to shut off. When I downloaded it (at work!), my boss came into my office and I couldn't shut the darn thing off (had to download the instructions)