GPS and sounder technology is moving at an almost exponential pace. It’s undeniable that all this tech is providing us fishermen with greater tools to find and catch fish and make our time on the water easier and more enjoyable. Technology on boats used to be something only the super-rich could afford on their luxury cruisers or big game boats. With this new tech evolution, small trailer boats and even tinnies can now head out armed with the latest tech in fish finders and mapping.
Simrad has really raised the bar with its new GO7, a feature-packed pocket rocket of a unit that gives you almost all the tech you could ever want in a small, affordable and easy-to-use unit.
When the editor called me with the opportunity to install and test one on my 5.5 metre runabout, I jumped at the chance. I currently have a Lowrance HDS-10 as my main unit, which is now a few years old so I was keen to see what features this new little unit would offer.
It’s small but big
While a 7in unit isn’t the largest monitor going around, the GO7 presents a lot larger than you’d think due to the fact it’s a fully touchscreen unit. There isn’t a button or turn dial to be found – it’s all screen. Not only does that allow you to make the most of a compact monitor, it also looks really cool. I mounted the GO7 under my targa as I didn’t have the dash room to mount it elsewhere. That’s the cool thing about a unit like this for a boat that is short on space – you can mount it anywhere.
The first thing I noticed after assessing the user manual and doing some online research is that this is a feature-packed unit, offering a lot of bang for your buck. First off, you get a mapping card that covers all of Australia and New Zealand so you save quite a bit of money there. It also comes with an 83/200 455/800 kHz HDI transducer with Chirp and DownScan capabilities.
Ease of use
Firstly, the unit powers up and switches on quickly. This is important to me in any unit, as a slow start generally means slow operation throughout all functions of the unit. Thankfully the GO7 gets down to business quickly.
While the technology in combo units may be ever increasing, thankfully so is the ease of use. The GO7 is very user-friendly and anyone familiar with working a tablet or smartphone will quickly get the hang of navigating the touchscreen menu. The home screen allows you to navigate all the unit’s features via large coloured touchscreen icons. Within each function, settings menus are easily navigable and adjustments easy to make. The LED backlit screen is bright and highly visible, even in sunlight. This was surprising as touchscreen units of any kind are often hard to see in direct sunlight. The screen is clear and offers excellent resolution.
Features such as tides (which show you a tide chart) are a great function to have and are usually found only on larger and more expensive units. The ability to quickly check the tide of your nearest location is a valuable tool that I use often.
Creating, saving and editing waypoints is also easy and all aspects of this important and constantly utilised feature are straightforward.
The GPS and mapping system is responsive, with a clean and easily viewable layout. I was expecting a bit of a lag while I zoomed in and out and moved the maps around and I was surprised to find all facets of the mapping operations smooth and responsive, with great resolution.
The fact that the GO7 transducer is capable of both 2D sonar with Chirp and DownScan imaging is a great feature. The ability to use DownScan to gain a more realistic view of your readings is a handy feature and one that enables you to make confident decisions about where to fish. The readings were clear and concise and navigating the settings to get a clear reading of bottom structure and fish in what were some turbid water conditions was again very simple.
Another great feature of the GO7 is the GoFree wifi capabilities, which allow you to send a carbon copy of your unit’s readings to your phone or tablet. This is a handy feature when you may be fishing up front on a centre console or at the transom, where your unit may be out of view. A quick check of the phone can show you if you’re on the right track.
The GO7 is a very capable unit that offers features you’ll be hard-pressed to find in a unit at this price. Essentially Simrad has taken all its best tech and put it in a compact unit so smaller boats or those on a budget have access to the same features and benefits the bigger boats – with bigger units – have.