This new MFD is on our radar
Lowrance HDS-16 Carbon
Lowrance has introduced its biggest ever MFD – a 16in addition to its premier-league Carbon range – which offers the equivalent of four 7in MFDS in a single unit.
The new unit boasts a bright, high-definition 1,920x1,080-pixel Solarmax display, which promises wide viewing angles and good visibility, even in bright sunlight or when wearing polarised sunglasses.
It almost goes without saying, nowadays, that a flagship model boasts a multitouch (pinch-to-zoom) touchscreen control system, but it’s backed up with a small but adequate push-button panel. Pushbutton control may be slightly more cumbersome than touchscreen, but offers far more precise control and far fewer accidental keystrokes than trying to operate a touchscreen on a moving boat.
Behind the screen, there’s a builtin GPS, a dual-core processor that provides the computing power required to run several functions simultaneously, including Radar, C-map and Navionics chartplotting, and six different kinds of sonar!
As one might expect from a brand whose roots are in fishfinders and whose main market is American-style sportsfishing, it’s the sonar functions that are most impressive.
As well as CHIRP and broadband sonar, which produce clear but pretty conventional-looking fishfinder images, the built-in sonar function offers high-frequency Structurescan, which opens the door to far more exciting and informative views of what is going on under the keel. Downscan produces what is effectively a high-resolution version of the conventional sonar picture: it’s not as good at showing up individual fish, but far better at revealing the details of underwater features.
Sidescan reveals features that lie on each side of the boat, making it much easier to locate the rocks and wrecks that are most likely to attract fish, or to check out an anchorage for possible hazards.
Structurescan 3D takes Sidescan a step further by using the Sidescan data to build up a three-dimensional ‘model’ of the sea bed that can be panned, tilted and twisted to view the overall shape of the underwater landscape from almost any angle. Meanwhile, Structuremap could be seen as a ‘sideways’ step in that it overlays the Sidescan image on to a chart, making it easier to relate the detailed but relatively narrow view of the world revealed by sonar to the much bigger picture presented by a navigational chart.
It has to be said that none of these are particularly ‘new’: Structurescan was launched in 2012, and even Structurescan 3D has been around for a couple of years. What is new, and exciting, though, is being able to see all of them simultaneously on a single screen.
Of course, there’s a price to pay – you can expect to fork out about £4,000 for the HDS-16 Carbon display alone, plus extra for the sonar transducer(s), radar scanner, and cartography. Contact www.lowrance.com