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Garmin 721xs/GCV-10/TM150 - First Impressions

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Garmin 721xs/GCV-10/TM150 - First Impressions

Old 07-10-2014, 04:22 AM
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Default Garmin 721xs/GCV-10/TM150 - First Impressions

I ordered a Garmin 721xs, GCV-10 and a Airmar TM150 a week ago and I managed to fit it on the boat yesterday and gave it a quick water test.

These are as the thread subject suggests - a First Impression.

Packaging -
The 721xs box is nice, but has no SideVü and DownVü 'ready' imagery on it. The GCV-10 has no imagery whatsoever on the box, which is fine for the boating company that orders it and fits it to the boat before the customer even sees it, but the guy that opens his parcel from the courier is going to be a bit disappointed. The Airmar TM150 transducer has two wedge adaptors in different sizes for transom angles as opposed to only the one which came with the old P66, very nice.

In the Box -
Everything you need is in the box. I like that an allen key is included with the GCV-10, as well as an SD card for software updates and instructions, very good idea!

Navigating through the Menu -
I sat down with the family watching TV after supper with a power supply and the unit expecting to spend the entire evening going through the menu. To my surprise it was relatively simple and within half an hour I had been through the entire menu (after updating to 3.6) and even had my iPhone controlling the unit on simulator using the Helm App.

Installation -
The installation was pretty painless, and the clip-on securing rings is a great idea. I would have preferred a twist and lock rather than a screw-in type though, especially since the plugs are so close together.

Software -
Getting the latest software off the net and loading it to the unit was no problem.
The GCV-10 was not powered up / connected when I did the update and therefore it did not get updated, nor was I aware that it should be. Lowrance users coming to Garmin will have the same problem as I did as there was never a software update for the module itself. A little caution note and solution added to the package would go a long way in this regard.

On the Water Setup -
I selected the SideVü, DownVü and Traditional page layout, and found out that the only change I could make was to increase or decrease the panel sizes, not layout.


There were no panel options such as a three way vertical split or a Down/Trad top and Side bottom option. This option maximises the vertical resolution for down sonar and maximises horizontal resolution for side sonar. See PhotoShop’d image …


I immediately noticed interference lines and shut down every other device on the boat including the N2k network and main motor, and still could not get rid of the interference lines, and only seemed to get worse as time went by. I am hoping that it is simply a faulty network cable.


CHIRP -
Everything that CHIRP is supposed to do it does, and it does it beautifully. You really get that “Wow!” feeling when you idle over your first bit of standing timber or bait ball. The crystal clear water column with no clutter whatsoever straight out the box, with perfect fish arches is just amazing to say the least.


There are two frequency options with the TM150, CHIRP and 120kHz, I could see very little difference between them at this early stage of the game.

The only thing I found myself doing a lot of, was zooming in and out. The arches are so perfect and crisp, that the smaller fish need a lot of zooming in to see exactly what is going on. The larger screens such as the 8”, 10” and 12” will certainly solve this issue.

DownVü -
I was not blown away by this, in fact, I was somewhat disappointed, especially after seeing some of the amazing screenshots I have seen in the Garmin Screenshot competition on at the moment on Flickr. The interference isn’t helping either, so I really hope that a new cable sorts both of these problems out.


SideVü -
In the relatively close range up to 100ft, resolution and contrast of the imagery is on a par with what I have been used to, to date, but when you increase range the magic begins. It has auto gain as well as contrast, so you don’t have to do anything but give it time to sort it out for you. Even with my motor trimmed down, partially blocking the left view, the range was nothing short of jaw dropping. At a range of 300ft to either side of the boat, giving a total side to side coverage of 600ft/200m, the imagery is as good as the old Humminbird 1198SI on a range of 150ft. Pushing it to a further 600ft to either side the outer limits were still visible, but small detail was lost naturally due to the resolution of the display of the smaller 7” screen. Channels, humps and large timber plantations were still as clear as day at a total side to side coverage of 1200ft/400m - WOW!


The only sad part of this amazing feature is that you can do nothing with it other than look at it. You cannot create waypoints out to the sides, there is no mapping overlay feature and there is no way of viewing the logs as a KML for Google Earth. When these features do become available we are in for something very special.

Networking and Sharing -
N2k
The N2k network plugs are exactly the same as the Lowrance, so I simply plugged the Garmin straight into my boats N2k and under the device list I could see all my Lowrance devices - Point-1 receiver / temp probes / fuel level / other Lowrance units / SonicHub and even my Yamaha SHO engine interface.
The Good
I could select any of the other Lowrance units or Point-1 as a GPS receiver and heading sensor from the network


All my engine data was available on a number of gauge selection pages


The Bad
No sharing of waypoints between Garmin and Lowrance even on the NMEA0183
No interfacing with SonicHub

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
The built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is a great idea and the link to the Helm App is an easy setup while on simulator. Strangely enough I could not get it to link once connected to the GCV-10 and running ‘live’. I would like to know what devices other than the Helm App on a smart phone Garmin has in mind for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Ethernet
I have not connected to any other devices other than the GCV-10, but I do believe that the interference issue is an Ethernet issue, hopefully just a cable replacement.

Overall Usability -
One Button
The one button concept is a great idea, but it does force you to rely on the touch quite heavily.
Light Sensor
Automatic screen brightness is great, and works very well.
Display
The non reflective layer on the screen is not very effective. Once the screen has been touched a number of times it is quite hard to see in certain light conditions and continually found myself tilting the screen a lot trying to avoid the glare.
The touch seems to have a very long delay when ‘grabbing’ the sonar pages and scrolling back in history, as well as creating a waypoint from a specific point in the sonar history. I had the same experience with the new Humminbird Onix, and is quite frustrating when you have got used to a quick fluid motion on a touch screen.
The menu took a little getting used to but I don’t think it will be long before I will be sailing through it seamlessly.

HomePort - The App (Mac)
I have not spent too much time on this App, but the Sonar Playback has a number of issues that need urgent attention. There is no way of controlling range, and when it does auto range it leaves steps in the actual bottom. This is not working well at all.

Last edited by Fishton; 07-10-2014 at 04:49 AM.
Old 07-10-2014, 05:43 AM
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How does Side Vü and Down Vü compare with Side Scan and Down Scan? Do you have any images showing both displaying the same thing?
Old 07-10-2014, 08:59 AM
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I am not going to start another Chevy v.s Ford war like what happened to DownScan v.s DownImaging.

Remember this article? ...

Old 07-10-2014, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Fishton View Post
I am not going to start another Chevy v.s Ford war like what happened to DownScan v.s DownImaging.

Remember this article? ...

How about an opinion less set of comparison images to let us draw our own conclusions?
Old 07-11-2014, 06:02 PM
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Quick Update

I found that the interference was caused by the TM150 being too close to the SideVü transducer, and not the network cable.

And most importantly, you CAN create a waypoint at the cursor position to the sides. When the cursor is activated a strange little teardrop button appears at the top right of the screen, and when selected creates a waypoint at cursor. If you select the Mark (waypoint) button is just drops it in the trail position. Garmin should re-visit the logic behind that.

I still can't get over the amazing SideVü range!

Now I just need to get the Helm App to work when Live. I suspect it is an IP issue.
Old 07-11-2014, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Fishton View Post
Quick Update

I found that the interference was caused by the TM150 being too close to the SideVü transducer, and not the network cable.

And most importantly, you CAN create a waypoint at the cursor position to the sides. When the cursor is activated a strange little teardrop button appears at the top right of the screen, and when selected creates a waypoint at cursor. If you select the Mark (waypoint) button is just drops it in the trail position. Garmin should re-visit the logic behind that.

I still can't get over the amazing SideVü range!

Now I just need to get the Helm App to work when Live. I suspect it is an IP issue.
Nice review
Old 07-11-2014, 09:17 PM
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I just purchased the garmin 741xs with no transducer cus im not sure what to do. I have a lowrance hds110 which has a glued in transem mounted transducer and it seems to work fine for speed, temp, and nav. Can I do this with one of the garmin transducers and still get all the benefits. Can I connect the garmin to the lowrance. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks kevin
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by eagle57 View Post
I just purchased the garmin 741xs with no transducer cus im not sure what to do. I have a lowrance hds110 which has a glued in transem mounted transducer and it seems to work fine for speed, temp, and nav. Can I do this with one of the garmin transducers and still get all the benefits. Can I connect the garmin to the lowrance. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks kevin
boat 1985 3270 bayliner
With the 741xs you will get the best results using one of the Garmin CHIRP transducers .
For a transom mount use the TM150M...For a thru the hull the B150, B75 or B175.
Old 07-13-2014, 02:43 AM
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1. I got the interference issue sorted, very simple.



2. And the waypoints from SideVü (and Helm App)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=T_H0lFLVX_4

3. And you can select any panel layout you want:
Old 02-08-2015, 03:26 AM
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Love tht. Great info and review. Thanks for the post.
Old 02-08-2015, 05:15 AM
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Nice review.

SE Kansas grass grower
Old 02-08-2015, 06:12 AM
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Is it possible to show the placement of your transducers?

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