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Lowrance Elite Ti2 versus Elite FS

 

When Lowrance launches a new mid-range unit, it is a big deal. Forums and Facebookgroups light up with questions on the new stuff, differences towards the old stuff and questions on compatibility. As usual, we in Team Colibri will try our best to sort that out, both on a technical level and with a more practical in-your-boat approach.

So here we go, the outgoing Elite Ti2 versus the new and shiny Elite FS. What sets them apart?

Elite FS versus Elite Ti2


Hardware

In short, Elite FS has a new screen, new housing and ethernetconnection versus Elite Ti2.

If we start at the back, Elite FS has one more connection versus Elite Ti2, ethernet.

Elite FS has cabled ethernet.

That yellow connector you see there is ethernet. With Elite Ti2 ethernet was only wireless (WIFI), and while that might sound like a good idea, the limitations with WIFI meant that Elite Ti2 could only share 2D and mapping over WIFI as well as synchronizing waypoints and only to another Elite Ti2. You could not share between three units, or between Elite Ti2 and any other series of units. With Elite FS and cabled ethernet, those limitations are gone, and Elite FS will share everything. It can share with another Elite FS, and even with HDS, the top-level unit from Lowrance. 

Cabled ethernet also opens the door for using modules with Elite FS, as a first middle-range unit from Lowrance with such capabilities. We have seen this coming when looking towards Simrad, were GO got cabled ethernet in order to use radar. Elite FS is compatible with Halo (radar), LiveSight, StructureScan 3D, S5100 and any other current module used by Lowrance. Elite Ti2 is not, as it lacks the ethernetconnection needed to use these modules.
Modules, StructureScan 3D and SonarHub.

One thing that has not changed is the transducer-port. This is still the 9-pin xSonic, and there is only one port. We expect the Y-cable sold with "Active Imaging 2 in 1" to continue, so you can have separate 2D- and StructureScan-transducers, but the Y-cable does not work with Airmars XID,  meaning you are limited to Lowrance-transducers when using the Y-cable. However, with the ethernetport and support for StructureScan 3D, you can now have both great Side-/DownScan AND great 2D with an Airmar-transducer with Elite FS.

The housing has changed as well, with the same "tail" at the top at the back that we first saw with HDS Live.


New placement of the GPS-receiver.

The tail covers the new placement of the internal GPS-receiver, in older generations it was placed alongside the screen. In its new location, it is less prone to be hindered in its "view" to the satellites. In reality, this change means more accurate positioning with Elite FS than with Elite Ti2.

Elite Ti2 (and Ti) had five buttons, Elite FS has six, Power, zoom in and zoom out and Pages, and the new programmable button. Again, something we first saw on HDS Live (12 and 16). This button can be set up to do exactly what you want; examples could be screenshots, spotlock on your TM, dropping the Powerpole etc.
A brand new button right there.


For those of us that prefer both touch and a full set of buttons, HDS is still the only offering from Lowrance.

The screen on Elite Ti2 was the same as on Elite Ti, and again the same as HDS Gen 2 Touch. 
Lowrance Elite Ti2 left, HDS Gen 2 Touch right.


With Elite FS we see a screen very much like HDS Gen 3, glass glued to plastic (instead of plastic glued to plastic on Ti2), with more "punch" in the colors and easier to keep clean. But Elite FS has had an upgrade from the HDS Gen 3 screen, the outer layer is different and the same as we know from Simrad GO (and HDS Live), giving the screen a more "glass-like" look, and improving on the possible angles from where you still see your screen. 

Resolution wise there is no change, and Elite FS is still not on par with HDS Carbon and Live. (Carbon and Live has the exact same screens.)

Comparison of Lowrance screen-resolution.

As you can see from the comparison, screen-resolution is the same on both the entry-level Hook Reveal, Elite Ti2 and Elite FS. It is worth noting, that this is the same also with the other major brands. In fact, several brands have the same resolution on their top-end units in 7 and 9 as Lowrance uses for the entry-level and mid-range. HDS Live simply has excellent screen-resolution, while Elite FS is following the same line as the competition. Elite FS is by no means "bad", HDS is just "excellent".

At the time of writing this, Elite FS is available only in 7 and 9. Not making a 5 is a sensible move by Lowrance, that screen would simply be too small to justify the screen-quality and features on Elite FS. We are a bit surprised to see that there is no 12, but Lowrance made a similar move when they launched Elite Ti, for that series the 12 came a year or so after the smaller sizes. We expect a 12-version of Elite FS to come along as well, if the sales of Elite FS meets their expectations. (Judging by what we have seen so far, it will most likely meet those expectations.)

Out on the water, most users will notice the better screen, and pinch to zoom when using the chartplotter. We also expect that many users with elite FS will get ActiveTarget, a product NOT compatible with Elite Ti2, and that simply excludes Elite Ti2 from any comparison on live-sonar. Many will also enjoy that Elite FS is compatible with autopilot for their outboard, especially anglers that troll or have long stretches of transportation between spots. The last group that will greatly benefit from Elite FS over Elite Ti2, are the users that already have a HDS Gen 3, Carbon or Live and are looking for a second unit to network with their HDS.

As usual Lowrance is keeping information on processor and other components handling the processing in the unit for themselves. But it just takes a few seconds of use to see that Elite FS is significantly faster than Elite Ti2. Elite FS feels a lot like HDS Carbon when flipping through menues.

Software

With added functionality comes software that supports such functionality. With cabled ethernet comes support for modules, with full NMEA2000 comes support for autopilot. With Elite FS being brand new, it will probably be supported with software-updates the next 2-3 years, while Elite Ti2 has most likely seen its last update.

Networking is a big thing with Elite FS, probably THE biggest difference versus Elite Ti2 for most users.

Elite FS does it, Elite Ti2 does not.

For anglers fishing deep, Elite FS now supports up to 1000W (RMS) 2D-transducers. Elite Ti2 was limited to 500W, you could still use popular 1000W-transducers like TM185 and B175 but you could not fire them at full power. With Elite FS, these fantastic transducers can now be used to their full potential for power. What is yet to be explored, is to test if the processing of the 2D-signal on Elite FS has been beefed up as well. With Elite Ti2, there was a noticeable difference in sonar processing for 2D versus HDS, and we are curious to see if that is the case for Elite FS as well. Watch this space for more information on that, as we will be testing Elite FS with several transducers through 2021, also in deep water and with Airmar TM185. 

Airmar TM185HW and Lowrance HST-WSBL.

In parts of the world where Lowrance uses "proper" preloaded mapping (like in the US), another big difference between Elite Ti2 and Elite FS, is that these preloaded maps have been updated to the latest standard, the same as HDS Live. 

Elite FS can use LiveSight (through a module), Elite Ti2 can not.


Transducers

Let us start with what has not changed. Active Imaging was one of two big differences between Elite Ti and Elite Ti2 (the second was WIFI-networking of two Ti2s), and the two Active Imaging transducers continue with Elite FS. The "all in one" transducer Active Imaging 3 in 1 (SKU 000-14029-001) will be the go-to transducer for most users of Elite FS, just like it was for Elite Ti2. For users wanting to combine a shoot-through like PD-WBL (SKU 000-0106-73), Active Imaging 2 in 1 and a Y-cable will still be a very good choice. (More on the difference between those transducers in THIS article).

But with support for 1000W and modules, we will probably see users going all the way on StructureScan using StructureScan 3D (module and transducer) for the best range possible, especially the guys fishing saltwater as SS 3D "punches" through saltwater better than Active Imaging does with  better practical range and more detail, both for SideScan and DownScan. Anyone regularly fishing deeper than 40-ish meters will benefit from SS 3D and Airmar versus the classic AI 3 in 1.

While it is nice to see Lowrance open up their middle-range for anglers venturing into open water, what everyone is looking for is aimed more towards the shallow-water angler, ActiveTarget. 

ActiveTarget and Elite FS in forward view. 

For the first time in Lowrance-history, they now have a high-resolution live-sonar to offer their customers, and Elite FS supports it. (Elite Ti/ Ti2 does not.) ActiveTarget has three types of view, here is a brief look at the three:

Forward view:

ActiveTarget Forward view

Down view:

ActiveTarget Down view

Scout view:

ActiveTarget Scout view

ActiveTarget can also provide simple 2D at 200kHz and downscan (at unknown frequenzy), but while it can provide that you should expect that similar functionality from 83/200-HDI will be better.

While sonar-nerds will probably debate the difference between Garmin LiveScope (LVS32) and ActiveTarget, we will keep it simple and claim that they do the same. From what we have seen so far, the difference between the two are so small that they are merely for theoretical discussion. Indeed well played by Lowrance, but they are a couple of years behind Garmin in this game, and a "Gen 2 LiveScope" can again tip the scale in favor of Garmin. That is the joy of fierce competition.


To sum it up.

In many ways, Elite FS takes the best from Elite Ti2, and adds the best from the two main competitor`s middle-range units, while adding a best in its pricerange-screen. Usually we don`t think it is worth it to upgrade from one generation units to the next, but rather skip another generation before upgrading. With Elite FS, we think that the practical difference while out on the water can make an upgrade from Elite Ti2 worth it if:
  • You want ActiveTarget.
  • You want (or have) an autopilot for your outboard.
  • You want (or have) a 1000W 2D-transducer.

Looking for more "VS-articles"?

Lowrance HDS Carbon vs HDS Live

Lowrance Elite Ti vs Elite Ti2

Lowrance Hook2 vs Hook Reveal


Kommentarer

  1. Thanks for the write-up. I dont like the trend of going backwards, or in this case not at all, with smaller screens i.e. 5"
    Kayak users still want higher-end features.

    SvarSlett
    Svar
    1. Thanks! I don`t agree on the 5 though, especially in a kayak (or any other small wessel) I want at least a 7 since I can`t physically put my nose all the way into the screen. A 7 (or even 9) makes it easier to mount the screen in a good place, out of the way for the padle or when handling fish, without having to think about beeing able to see tiny stuff from afar. :) Kr Erik

      Slett
  2. Any info on processor or RAM of FS?

    SvarSlett
    Svar
    1. No, not at the moment. We have a couple of units inbound though, so we will get back to that once we have tested Elite FS properly. Kind regards Erik.

      Slett
  3. Hello, I am just before switching from Elite Ti2 to Elite FS. My plan was to connect FS to my old HDS gen1 as it has enthernet slot using both on my boat. I wanted to share the same transducer and share waypoints history between FS and my HDS gen1 but I heard it isn't compatible even via enthernet. Is there any option to share waypoints between those two or share only transducer?

    SvarSlett
    Svar
    1. Hi. Ethernet between Elite FS and HDS Gen 1/2/2T will cause legacy-mode in the Elite FS, and open up for a few (potential) software-related issues. In theory it should still share sonar and synchronize waypoints, but the only way to know for sure is to try. :) If you do, and don`t like the results just disconnect ethernet and do a hard reset on the Elite FS. NMEA2000 can share new waypoints (and will not cause Legacy-issues), but both units has to be one when the waypoint is set, and the units will not synch waypoints with NMEA. Kr Erik

      Slett

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