Garmin ECHOMAP UHD2 LiveScope Plus Ice-Fishing Bundle LI Review

Garmin ECHOMAP UHD2 LiveScope Plus
Reviewed by: John Baltes
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Garmin ECHOMAP UHD2 LiveScope Plus Ice-Fishing Bundle LI Review

Garmin ECHOMAP UHD2 LiveScope Plus
USAngler Rating: 

This Garmin outstrips the competition in both real-world range and image quality, no doubt thanks to the awesome LiveScope Plus LVS34-IF transducer on the end of your pole.

While Garmin’s ECHOMAP Ultra 126sv dominates the open water, we wanted to know how the ECHOMAP UHD2 LiveScope Plus Ice-Fishing Bundle LI stacked up against the competition.

Garmin’s screens are typically very good, and this one is no exception. Bright and legible, you’ll be able to read the screen even when the sun breaks through the cloud cover. Inside a shack or shelter, legibility is simply excellent.

As you’d expect from Garmin, this fish finder is designed with user-friendliness firmly in mind.

Right out of the box, in contrast to the Humminbird’s almost puzzle-like complexity, the Garmin demands no assembly short of putting the pole together and attaching the LVS34-IF transducer.

Trust me, that’s a huge amount of frustration Garmin managed to avoid!

And when you’ve got your ECHOMAP UHD2 ready to go, navigating its controls is simple and intuitive. You won’t need to bring the manual along or have customer service on speed dial.

If that weren't enough of a selling point, this Garmin outstrips the competition in both real-world range and image quality, no doubt thanks to the awesome LiveScope Plus LVS34-IF transducer on the end of your pole.

Garmin LiveScope Plus LVS34-IF transducer

Garmin’s LiveScope Plus LVS34-IF transducer is one of the best on the market.

The ECHOMAP UHD2 LiveScope Plus offers both forward-facing and standard downward-facing sonar options, promising a range of 200 feet in both. In the real world, that’s optimistic at best, and we think you should expect realistic performance to be about half that.

Nevertheless, that’s still amazing performance, and you’ll be drilling fewer holes and find yourself on the fish much faster when you can spot them from 100 feet away.

Garmin GLS 10

Garmin’s GLS 10 is the brain of this system.

Garmin’s LiveScope offers amazing live-action images after running the sonar data collected by the transducer through the GLS 10 sonar module, the “black box” that processes that signal.

In FFS mode, you’ll be able to tell the difference between bait fish and pike, see what lures call bass in for a closer look, and identify which brush piles hold a school of fat slabs.

That’s a game changer, no question about it.

In standard down scanning mode, you can monitor your jigging intensity, altering it to trigger strikes.

That ice-fishing two step is the new normal, and the ability to move from locating fish to working your jig like a pro makes all the difference, whether you’re looking for a tournament win or just bragging rights.

Garmin packs high-end tech like GPS and maps into this unit, too, including way marking and spot marking, awesome mapping tech, and a Micro-SD map card that has you covered on most inland waters. And by networking your fish finder with the ActiveCaptain app on your phone, you gain even more features.

With excellent maps, GPS, and FFS in play, you’ll spend less time drilling holes and more time jigging, guaranteed.

You’re going to pay a premium for this awesome tech, and FFS systems for the ice don’t come cheap.

But for our money, the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD2 LiveScope Plus Ice-Fishing Bundle LI is the best system currently available, offering outstanding image quality and greater user friendliness than the alternatives from Lowrance and Humminbird.

Pros
  • Awesome image quality from the LiveScope system
  • Simple and intuitive user interface
  • Great mapping and GPS tech
Cons
  • Expensive

Specifications

Weight: 22.5 lbs.
Display size: 9”
Resolution: 1024 x 600
Frequencies: 530 - 1,100 kHz
Maximum range and depth: 200 feet
GPS: Yes
Maps: Yes
Data card compatibility: 1 microSD card; 32 GB maximum size

How We Tested: What to Look for in a Great FFS Fish Finder for the Ice

Image quality

Live, moving images have changed how anglers use fish-finding tech.

Now you can watch fish, studying how your technique, presentation, and lure affect their interest, enabling you to adjust your jigging in real time to better lure fish in for a strike.

Garmin, Lowrance, and Humminbird offer roughly equivalent image quality via powerful transducers that transmit ultra-high frequencies. These quickly oscillating sound waves carry more data than lower frequencies, allowing their black boxes to translate raw information into vivid, real-time, moving images.

The downside to this awesome tech is that high frequencies just don’t penetrate the water column very well, and that doesn’t change when you aim them horizontally, as FFS does.

In our testing, Garmin and Humminbird provided slightly better image quality than Lowrance, as some skipping and lagging was evident with the latter unit.

Range

FFS manufacturers make some pretty boil claims about the range of their products.

These numbers may well be accurate under ideal circumstances, but in the real world, they’re not even close.

Expect roughly half of the stated number in usable range.

In our testing, the Garmin was the best of the three, followed closely by Lowrance and Humminbird, in that order.

Ease of operation

If there’s one thing that most anglers can agree about, it’s that the user interface on a fish finder needs to be simple, inuitive, and easy to master.

Garmin is the clear leader on this front, and their UI is the best by a mile.

Lowrance and Humminbird lag behind, and it’ll take careful attention to the user’s manual and slime practice on dry land to learn to use all the features on offer.

Battery life

Frigid temperatures devour battery life like a hungry dog.

Each of these units comes with a typical battery that’s good for 6 to 10 hours, depending on your use and the ambient temp.

BUt keep in mind that none of these fish finders is rated to work below 5 F. If it’s really cold, you’ll need to be in shelter and keep your fish finder and battery warm.

Portability

Weight matters, and the Garmin is hefty.

Ideally, an FFS comes with a backpack that allows you to tote it out onto the ice and leave your hands free. 

Fortunately, Garmin and Lowrance realize this.

Unfortunately, Humminbird doesn’t.

About The Author
John Baltes
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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