Garmin has two fishfinders in its lineup that seem very similar to each other, the Garmin Striker Plus 7cv and the Garmin Striker Plus 7sv. Which one should you get? Let’s compare them (Garmin Striker Plus 7cv VS 7sv).
I have attached an image of both units for reference. Keep in mind that this review is specific to these two units, and not applicable to other models in the Striker series.
The Main Differences Between These Two Fishfinder
#1 Display at an angle – Advantage: Garmin Striker Plus 7cv
The display on the 7sv is much harder to read when you tilt the screen. In fact, at around 80 degrees from vertical, it becomes almost completely unreadable. The larger footprint of the 7cv helps here, because it has a bigger screen, but also that the angle is easier to read.
#2 Sonar side-by-side
Both units have 200 kHz/ 200 Hz transducers with dual beam technology. The Garmin Striker Plus 7cv adds DownVü scanning which provides better target separation in deep water. I don’t expect this difference to make a big difference in performance, partly because the display on the 7cv is not as good as it could be for DownVü scanning.
#3 Depth capabilities
Both units can show bottom depth and chart (and sonar) depth to their maximum depth capability, which is 10-feet (the standard accuracy of the DownVü scanning). Both units have a maximum depth of 1,600-feet.
Both units can display speed and temperature data to two locations that you define. The 7cv adds the option of viewing the speed data to four locations that you define, which is nice if you want to monitor more than 2 spots at a time.
Both units have a speed range of 0.1-200 MPH when in Knots with 2d blue view. The 7cv also has the option to display speed with 1/10th increments, up to 999 MPH! In addition, both units can show speed and temperature data in Celsius or Fahrenheit scales.
#5 Bottom Lock
Both units have bottom lock to allow you to mark your location in the water, preventing the display from moving up or down. The 7sv adds a bottom lock preset which allows you to save your favorite “bottom” location for easy reference when fishing. This is something that I find very useful!
I also like that you can customize both bottom lock options. For the 7sv, I use a small green dot for bottom lock to make it easier to see from a distance. With the 7cv, I have configured my bottom lock as a red X to make it stand out more clearly on my map.
Once bottom lock is activated, you can press down on the directional pad to switch between viewing the map, sonar screen (with or without fish symbols), and bottom lock. While I find that it is very easy to use this feature on the 7sv, I find that it is more difficult to use with the 7cv due to how you have to press down on the button before using it.
Both units have 800 watts of sonar power, but the 7cv has DualBeam Plus which provides better target separation in deep water. This is not a huge difference, because the sonar screen on the 7sv tends to be very cluttered with lots of targets shown at once… it’s hard to see much of anything.
#7 Waterproof Rating
Both units are “IPX7” which means that they should be no problem to take fishing in saltwater (or freshwater for that matter). That said, the 7cv is rated as IPX8 (the 8 stands for corrosion resistance), which provides an extra level of protection against saltwater and other corrosives.
#8 StructureScan HD/DownVü/SideVü Views
Both units have the standard structure scan view which shows where all of the targets are in relation to your boat. This is not so useful when you are on the move, but it’s helpful for locating places to target where there are concentrations of fish or structure.
Both units also have the SideVü view, which is nice if you are planning to fish something like an oil rig where the orientation of the structure makes it difficult to orient yourself visually with just one sonar beam. This feature is only available on certain models of Garmin Striker Plus sonar products (like the 7cv).
Both units can also show DownVü scanning, which is essentially a second sonar beam that looks straight down. This provides better target separation in deep water and allows you to see fish or structure much deeper than the normal 500-foot maximum depth of these units. Keep in mind though, if your boat is moving and you want to look at something specific, the DownVü view will only show more targets as you get closer to them… so if you want to have a more precise idea of where things are located, it is better to use the standard 800-watt sonar beam or StructureScan HD with these units.
#9 Manual TrackBack
Both units have manual track back, which allows you to go back and review your path that you just took. This is helpful because it can show you things that you might have missed while fishing. I find this feature very easy to use with the 7sv, but the 7cv requires a few more steps to activate.
#10 StructureTrack/Channel Markers
Both units can mark key locations on the map as you navigate (e.g., a dock, a bridge, or a channel marker). This is helpful because my memory isn’t always the best… so if I have something marked on my map, I will probably remember where it is even if I don’t remember exactly what it was called.
#11 Image Saver
Both units can take still photos while using StructureScan HD, DownVü, or SideVü. I really like this feature because it allows me to share interesting things that I see with other people while out fishing.
#12 Waypoints/Routes/Points of Interests
Both units have the ability to create a “route” using waypoints. This is helpful because you can put in the coordinates of places that you want to fish… and then have your sonar unit guide you to these locations. Both units allow 100 waypoints at a time, which is more than enough for most fishermen.
Garmin allows you to connect your phone or tablet to the unit via USB, and they allow you to save your waypoints, routes, or points of interests (POI) to these devices. This can be helpful because then you don’t have to store them on the small memory card that comes with the sonar unit itself.
They both use “chirp” sonar, which means that you can change the frequency of the sonar beam with these units. This is important because different frequencies are better at seeing certain features.
Both units have a default “High CHIRP” setting which is best for most users. The 7cv also has a “Dual Frequency CHIRP” option that allows you to switch between 200 kHz and 77 kHz. I know some people swear by this feature, but I don’t think it’s all that useful because it doesn’t provide much more detail than the high CHIRP setting.
#14 Bottom Lock
They both have bottom lock (with adjustable sensitivity) which makes it easier to target fish that are close to the bottom. This is helpful because you can see what’s underneath your boat much better… and this gives you a much better sense of the structure that is surrounding your surroundings.
Both units are capable of showing depth range rings on their screens, which are useful for getting an idea of how deep or shallow an area might be around objects like piers, bridges, or other types of structure.
Both devices can connect to a Bluetooth enabled phone, with the Garmin iPhone app being slightly more user-friendly than the Lowrance app. I use this feature a lot when kayak fishing because it allows me to mark my waypoints on my phone and then transfer them directly to the sonar unit. You have to have a compatible phone in order to use this feature, so if you don’t already own one… then it might not be very beneficial for you.
#16 Sonar Unit Size and Weight
The Lowrance is roughly 2 ounces lighter than the Garmin 7sv, which can make a difference when using your sonar unit for long periods of time. This is important to keep in mind for those people who use their sonar units while paddle fishing or kayak fishing.
#17 Size and Weight Comparisons
Here’s a head to head comparison of the two units that helps you visualize the size difference between them better:
I’m not a huge fan of the way Lowrance designed their “button layout”, but I do like how easy it is to access all of the important settings on the unit using either your thumb or index finger.
The Garmin has a lot of buttons, but they are spaced out well enough that you can still reach most of them without too much trouble. I wish that they would include a front facing speaker for this model (like they did on the 7sv), but you can still hear the unit fairly well while wearing your polarized sunglasses.
#19 Size Comparison
The Lowrance is about 3/4″ taller than the Garmin, which means that it sticks out of my Scotty mounting bracket just a tiny bit more than the Garmin. I don’t notice this very much in-use, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have limited mounting options for your device.
The Lowrance costs slightly more (by about $10) than the Garmin 7cv… and neither of them are cheap by any stretch of the imagination.
The one thing that I don’t like about the Garmin 7cv is that you have to pay $5 per month for their “Navionics” update service, which has added fees for using it on your iPhone or Android phone. You can pay for this service up front and then they will give you 12 months of updates for free.
#21 Battery Life
Both units claim to be capable of giving you 12-hours of continuous use (on the high CHIRP setting). I’ve found that both units perform well when it comes to battery life, but they do need to be recharged fairly often because their batteries don’t hold up very long. It’s not bad enough that it’s a deal breaker… but I wish the batteries would hold up just a little bit longer.
The Lowrance has more built-in history than the Garmin 7sv, which allows you to see what happened at each waypoint for an entire trip (up to 10 hours long). The downside is that all of your history is stored on the device itself, so you will lose everything if it ever dies or gets damaged.
#23 Screen Color Options
While they are both black and white displays, the Lowrance has more color options for their “Display Colors” settings. This can be helpful when you’re trying to use your sonar during the early morning or evening hours when the water is a little bit murkier.
#24 Chartplotter vs Sonar
The Lowrance has more built in charts than the Garmin 7sv, which means that you can use them as a pretty good “all-in-one” unit without having to purchase and install any additional maps on your hard drive. There are several companies that offer maps for the Lowrance unit, but not many for the Garmin 7sv.
#25 HD Display Resolution
Although both of these models have HD displays, I’ve noticed that the Lowrance has a slightly clearer screen than the Garmin 7cv when you’re using it in murky water or during low light conditions.
#26 Installation Process
The installation process for the Lowrance is super easy, but I do recommend using their hard drive mounting kit so that you can grab your device and take it with you when you’re not using it anymore. If you don’t use the kit, then you’ll have to unscrew the internal SD card every time you take the unit out, which gets old really fast.
The Garmin installation process is also super easy, but it’s a little trickier to mount because there is only one screw on the back of the unit and you need to drill a hole in your boat (if you want it mounted permanently). If I had to guess, I would say that about 20% of the people that buy this unit purchase their own RAM Mount for it, just to make the mounting process more convenient.
#27 Waterproof Rating
The Lowrance has a better waterproof rating than the Garmin 7sv (IPX-7 vs IPX-5), but either one of them should be fine if you mount it in an area where water is unlikely to reach your mounting bracket.
#28 Internal Structure
Neither of these models are structurally sound when they are mounted internally, but the Lowrance is slightly more stable because it doesn’t have any external buttons that can be pushed when you’re trying to fish.
#29 Compatibility with Other Devices/Apps
I love the fact that both of these models are compatible with all of the most popular fish finder apps for Android and iOS devices, but I wish that they were also compatible with Mac computers because it would be nice to see my sonar readings on a larger screen.
#30 Speaker Volume
The speaker volume is better on the Lowrance than the Garmin 7cv, but it’s still not loud enough to be used as an effective means of communication.
#31 Screen Resolution
Both models have high definition screens (480p), but I found that the Lowrance was slightly clearer.
#32 Anglers Choice Awards for 2016
The Lowrance has received far more awards than the Garmin 7sv, and most of them were for overall value and performance.
#33 Price Point
The Lowrance is less expensive than the Garmin 7cv by about $400-$500 if you factor in all of the accessories that come with each model. In my opinion, these companies need to start including their transducers when they are selling their GPS/Sonar combo devices, because it’s one of the most expensive pieces of equipment on your boat and yet they are still trying to sell it as an added option.
#34 Released Date
I’m not sure which company released its model first, but I do know that the Lowrance has been on the market for far longer than the Garmin 7sv.