When you first started out as a fisherman, you probably bought a cheap fish finder that wasn’t that great. That low-quality fish finder might still be attached to your boat.
If that’s the case for you, it might be time to think about upgrading your fish finder. As you gain experience as a fisherman, you learn to use every bit of information available to you, and that old unit probably doesn’t offer much.
I do know of a fish finder that will allow you to make the most of your fishing skills, though. The Simrad GO7 is a powerful tool with a lot to offer. It has all of the latest features that the most respected pro fishermen love, and it’ll make the perfect replacement for your old fish finder.
Things To Consider
Before you read my review of the Simrad GO7, you should consider a couple of factors that determine whether or not it’s right for you.
There Are Three Main Options Available
There are three main options to choose from when you go to buy the Simrad GO7. There’s the XSE model that is the most expensive, and it’s the model I’ll be focusing the most on, but there are also two different XSR models that are more affordable, and they have very similar features.
I’ll be covering those three options in this article, and I’ll talk about the differences between all of them as this article progresses. If the XSE isn’t appealing to you, you’ll have two other alternatives to choose from that are the same quality as the XSE.
It’s For Elite Fishermen
If you just started fishing, you might want to go with a Garmin Striker 4 or one of Lowrance’s Hook models. The Simrad GO7 is highly advanced, and it has a price tag that reflects that.
However, if you have several years of fishing experience under your belt, and you know how to use a fish finder effectively, the Simrad GO7 is actually one of the best units you can use. I highly recommend the GO7 series to anyone who is an experienced fisherman.
The GO7 series is supposed to be a fisherman’s best friend. In order to meet that expectation, it has to offer a lot, and its vast array of features makes it a bit complex.
The addition of a touchscreen makes it a bit easier to use, but it’s still something that has a bit of a learning curve attached to it. Don’t get frustrated when you first start using it. You’ll feel as if you’re using a smartphone for the first time, but you’ll figure it out within a few hours.
Simrad GO7 Reviews
The Simrad GO7 series is a collection of high-end fish finders that are designed to please even the most discerning fishermen. The product line consists of the Simrad GO7 XSE and two XSR models that are a little more affordable.
The GO7 series promises to give more advanced fishermen the upgraded technology that they need to be successful in tournaments and record-breaking attempts. Each of the units are large, well-equipped, and capable of producing life-like images of the underwater environment.
Features of the Simrad GO7
There are three main units for you to choose from, and I’ll cover all of them in this section. The different models have similar features, but small differences set them apart quite a bit. Let’s get started.
All three of the GO7 models have multi-touch displays. A multi-touch display is a lot like the display on your smartphone. You can use swiping movements to flip between menus, simple finger presses will select or mark things, and you can use multiple fingers to zoom in or out to adjust your view.
All of the displays can be customized to help you organize the features that you use the most, and they can be separated into split-screen displays if you want to use multiple features at once.
That’s not all that the displays offer, though. They’re also widescreens, and they have exceptionally high resolutions. So, you can easily view them from several feet away.
Finally, the three different options have different display sizes. The XSE has the largest screen. It measures seven-inches across when you measure it diagonally. The two XSR models have five-inch screens. That’s a little smaller than what I personally like, but it’s large enough that most people won’t have problems reading the XSR screens.
The mapping system on the XSE is the most advanced system in the GO7 series. They all function exactly the same, but the XSE comes with Navionics, C-Map, and Insight maps right out of the box.
The two XSR models only come with C-Map cards. However, all of the GO7 models have SD card slots, and you can purchase new map packs if you prefer not to use C-Map maps. However, new map packs can cost a couple hundred dollars. So, keep that in mind before you think that you’ll save money by buying map packs separately.
Don’t let the lack of Navionics and Insight maps steer you away from the XSR models. They’re several hundred dollars cheaper than the XSE, and that’s mostly due to the fact that they don’t have tons of maps. If you’re not traveling a lot, you can easily get by with an XSR system.
All three versions of the GO7 have GoFree WiFi systems pre-installed in them. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that you get free WiFi from your Simrad GO7. It just means that you can connect any of the GO7 models to your phone or tablet, and that opens up a few different possibilities.
First, you can use it to view all of your Simrad GO7’s information on the device that you connect to it. It’s a feature that’ll come in handy if you ever have to move to the opposite end of your boat. Instead of cranking your neck to see your normal display, you can just use your phone or tablet until you move back towards the front of your boat.
Second, you can use it to access the GoFree store app. The app allows you to purchase new maps and features, and it’s a great way to upgrade your GO7 once you learn how to use all of the features that come with it.
You can also use any of the GO7 models to access Sirius radio channels. I know a lot of fishermen love peace and quiet when they’re fishing, but I love the idea of being able to listen to my favorite tunes while I wait for the fish to bite.
Finally, it’ll allow you to access all of your charts and records when you’re not on your boat. That won’t affect your fishing directly, but it will allow you to prepare a lot more before you go fishing, and that’s something that any advanced fisherman can appreciate.
Multiple Sonar Systems
The sonar systems on the different GO7 models are exactly the same. All three models come equipped with StructureScan HD imaging and CHIRP sonar, but they can be upgraded to also utilize ForwardScan technology if you buy a ForwardScan transducer. If you do buy the ForwardScan, you can run all three sonar systems simultaneously.
All of the GO7’s have an advanced target separation system that makes it easier to distinguish fish from structures and debris, too. The system works with all three sonar variants. So, you don’t have to worry about one sonar system being better than another.
Preparation Is Easy
While the GoFree system makes it possible to look at all of your records while you’re relaxing in your home, it’s not the best trip-planning technology.
That’s why all three options come with ChartPlotter and TripIntel systems. The ChartPlotter system will allow you to create fully customized routes before you ever start fishing, and the TripIntel system will tell you about the weather conditions, water hazards, and other factors that will affect your fishing trip.
If you don’t want to take the time to plot out your own routes, you can use the Navionics Dock-To-Dock system to automatically generate a route. All you have to do is mark your starting point, and then mark your destination. The system will automatically create a safe and efficient route for you to follow.
I spent quite a bit of time researching other Simrad GO7 reviews to get a good understanding of how other anglers view the GO7 product line.
It’s not a surprise that the XSE has garnered the most respect. Its fans swear by it, and they swear up and down that it has dramatically increased the quality of all of their fishing trips.
The XSR series is also quite popular. Since it has a lot of the same features as the XSE, most of the praise is the same. However, the XSR models are mostly regarded as more budget-friendly options. Honestly, I can’t disagree with that. They’re amazing fish finders, and they’re a lot more affordable. They just lack the seven-inch screen and advanced map packs.
Alternatives to the Simrad GO7
Since the GO7 is such a high-end product, I’m sure some of you want some alternatives that are a bit easier on your wallets. Also, the Simrad GO7 may be too complex for some fishermen. So, I’m going to offer three suggestions for fish finders that may not be as high-end as the GO7 models, but they are high-quality alternatives.
#1 Helix 7
If you like the seven-inch screen of the XSE, but you hate how complex and expensive it is, you might want to try out the Helix 7. The Helix 7 has a seven-inch screen that is just as impressive as the screen on the XSE, but it’s more simplistic, and its price is comparable to the price of an XSR model. It also has more maps that both of the XSR models.
If you want to get your hands on a Helix 7, you can click this link.
#2 Lowrance Hook 2 5-Inch
This is one of the Hook 2 fish finders that Lowrance is known for. It’s more affordable than any of the GO7 models, it has a full suite of United States fishing maps, and it has a TripleShot transducer included with the fish finder itself. In terms of its performance, it’s comparable to the XSE. However, it has a five-inch screen, and the display isn’t as good.
If you want to buy a Hook 2, you can click here.
#3 Deeper CHIRP
The Deeper CHIRP isn’t really comparable to any of the GO7 models. It’s a sonar ball. You cast it into the water like you would a lure, and it uses CHIRP sonar to send sonar returns to your phone. This is an option that I recommend to bank fishermen and fishermen who are on a budget. Obviously, you have to keep it in the water to get returns from it, but do you really need to have a constant feed of sonar returns on-screen at all times? I highly doubt it.
Here’s a link to the Deeper CHIRP if you want to pick one up.
The GO7 is a fish finder that will outperform just about any other unit out there. To compare it to an old Garmin Striker 4 or a similar fish finder is like comparing a Lamborghini to your dad’s old pickup truck. In short, it’s the ultimate piece of equipment for serious fishermen. You don’t technically need it if you just want to have fun on the lake, but it’s an invaluable tool for competitive fishermen and fishermen who attempt to break world records.
If you want to pick up a GO7, I recommend buying the XSE. If that’s a bit out of your budget, the XSR models are both great. You can find the TotalScan XSR here, and you can find the Combo Basemap XSR here.