Some skepticism existed when Garmin released the original STRIKER series a few years ago. These were, and are still, stripped-down versions of the Echomap UHD series. Would anglers want a fish finder with updated sonar capabilities but no maps or data storage?
Turns out, yes, STRIKER proved to be an excellent value to anglers and is a popular fishfinder series. With the release of Vivid, Garmin has made a significant transducer update, along with slick new color palettes for each model. So, we set out to see if the new STRIKER Vivid series is as good a deal as the original.
Striker Vivid Series Overview
New with Striker Vivid
Upgraded Transducer – The Striker 9sv and 7sv models come with the GT52HW-TM, which has side and down-looking imaging elements for the best possible images. The cv models still include the GT20-TM transducer for regular CHIRP and ClearVu imaging.
No More “Calculated” ClearVu – The GT52HW-TM has a dedicated down-looking piezo for pure ClearVu imaging. The old CV52HW-TM had to rely on the two side beams to create a “calculated” ClearVu image. This means you get clearer down-view imaging on the Striker Vivid.
New “Vivid” Color Palettes – Striker has always been a basic fishfinder series and never quite took full advantage of the 800×480 WVGA display. The Striker Vivid adds a handful of new color palettes that make the SideVu and ClearVu images really pop onscreen.
Striker Vivid 9sv, 7sv Review
Overview – The Striker Vivid 9sv and 7sv are the best units in this series. Both have bright, easy-viewing WVGA displays with 800×480 resolution. With features like CHIRP sonar, SideVü, and ClearVü they truly are feature-rich and price-conscious locators.
The mounting brackets now feature a quick disconnect bail mount, where the cables are fixed in place on the bracket, and the head unit can be removed in seconds. I really like that feature for traveling and storage, not having to mess with screws and locks.
Sonar – These two units have identical sonar capabilities to their big brother Echomap UHD 93sv and 73sv. They pack out with the upgraded GT52HW-TM transducer with transom and trolling motor mounting hardware.
GPS & Maps – The one glaring omission from the Striker Vivid is still the lack of onboard maps. There is no MicroSD for map chips, and nothing is pre-loaded onto the unit.
You are limited to making your own contour maps with Quickdraw Contours. All things considered, that is a lot better than nothing. And besides, if you really need the maps, step up to the Echomap UHD series. A Striker fish finder is a value unit, after all.
Striker Vivid 7cv, 5cv Review
Overview – Stepping down to the 7cv and 5cv, you lose SideVü and get a weaker transducer. But the big thing about these two is the price. Both the 7cv and 5cv retail MSRP come in under five hundred. Crazy. 5 years ago, that kind of price and screen size was unthinkable.
2D sonar is great for seeing the traditional fish arches we are all used to seeing, but with ClearVü imaging, structure comes alive. You can see what objects look like rather than amorphous blobs. With a lot of seat time, fish and bait become much easier to spot.
Sonar – The 7cv and 5cv bundles come with the GT20-TM transducer, which is a traditional 2D plus CHIRP ClearVü transducer. It’s disappointing that a CHIRP capable unit like the Striker Vivid doesn’t have a full CHIRP transducer.
You must upgrade to the GT22HW-TM or GT23M-TM transducer to enable the 2D CHIRP. HW means “High Wide,” and M means “Middle.” The GT23M-TM also has a lower CHIRP ClearVü frequency range (260/455 kHz) for improved deep-water imaging.
If you like to run your fish finder on the bow, any of those transducers already have a trolling motor adapter bracket in the box for you.
GPS & Maps – The mapping situation is the same on the 5cv and 7cv. No maps on board and no MicroSD slot. You, your motor, and Quickdraw are in charge of making lake maps.
Striker Vivid 4cv Review
Now we have the smaller vertically oriented 4-inch model. Only the 4cv is offered now, with the sonar only unit being eliminated.
The 4cv has CHIRP ClearVü and 77/200 kHz traditional sonar, whereas the 4 only has 2D sonar. the difference in price is about $40 (MSRP), so it seems a no-brainer to get the 4cv. This might be a good deal for you if you are strict on your budget and can’t go over $200.
More Things Striker Vivid Can Do
Here are the most important new features of the Striker Vivid series:
New 9″ SideVü Model – Anglers are always wanting bigger displays, so with the success of the prior releases, it’s no surprise Garmin would add a 9″ model. In the case of imaging sonar, bigger is most certainly better.
Wi-Fi Connectivity – Everyone knows how to use Wi-Fi on their smartphones, and the trend is towards adding wireless connectivity to fish finders. It makes syncing with apps and downloading software updates extremely simple. Just use the ActiveCaptain account, and you’ll get updates pushed to your control head.
Quickdraw Contours – Garmin’s version of live sonar mapping continues to expand and improve. You can now store up to 2 million acres of 1-foot contour data on the Striker units. 2 million acres is a lot, more than anyone can map in a year, no doubt.
ActiveCaptain App – Garmin is heavily promoting this new app as a way to get more out of your electronics. You sign up for an account, download the app to a smartphone, and pair the app to the control head. After that, the ActiveCaptain community allows you to share and download user contour data.
In the Box/What’s Included
The Striker is a basic fishfinder series, so don’t expect too much in the way of extras. You’ll get the fish finder, transducer, cables, and some hardware, and that’s about it.
Should you Buy a Garmin Striker Vivid?
The Striker Vivid is a great way to get a CHRIP Imaging Sonar fish finder at an affordable price. They would make a great additional fish finder for anglers already with a unit with maps.
- Affordable CHIRP Sonar and Imaging
- Wi-Fi Connectivity
- QuickDraw Live Mapping
Wi-Fi connectivity in a low-cost fish finder is a great development. Wi-Fi is a widespread and accepted way of connecting to home and wireless networks, making software downloads and updates easier.
The 9sv is one of the lowest-priced 9-inch fish finders on the market. I would not hesitate to make that my imaging unit if I already had another unit with mapping. It is essentially a cheap way of upgrading your sonar.
Live mapping has become very popular, and Quickdraw Contours is a great tool for anglers of all experience and skill levels. With the addition of the ActiveCaptain app, you can share, upload, and download Quickdraw map data to a Striker Vivid with just a few clicks on a smartphone.
The lack of pre-loaded maps is the biggest concern about Striker Vivid units. Certainly, you’ll save money by not having them, but it’s hard to imagine fishing without them. At least you have Quickdraw to chart your own maps and download other user maps via ActiveCaptain.
No memory card slots for waypoint and data storage. The Striker Vivid has imaging sonar, so it is disappointing there does not appear to be any way to save screenshots to review and share later.
Bottom Line – Unless you are a very casual fisherman, or fish smaller waters where you can make a map yourself, it would be hard to rely on this as a primary depth finder. We recommend the Striker Vivid as a secondary add-on fish finder.
To save some cash, you could buy a Striker Vivid 9sv for primary SideVü and sonar display and an Echomap UHD 93sv without a transducer for maps. You’d have a respectable 18″ of screen on a side-by-side setup – for less than the cost of other brand’s 10-inch models.
*Last updated 2023-11-28 at 14:34 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API