Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 Review | Guideforfishers.com

Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 Review | Guideforfishers.com

With the technological advancement, the fish finder today has improved a lot. I still remember using those black and white fish finder with poor performance that won’t get any fish. However, Lowrance has taken the fish finder to the next level. The Lowrance HDS Gen 3 series has made fishing easy. The HDS 12 gen 3  is Lowrance top of the line series that many anglers dream of. This is an expensive fish finder. So, is spending the money even worth it? To find out, read this Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 review.

Save your time! If you have been jumping from page to page researching about the HDS 12, then you are wasting your time. Researching all day and coming to a confused conclusion is not worth it. By spending few minutes reading this ultimate in-depth review of Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 will save your valuable time. So without wasting time first let’s talk about the top features of the HDS 12 Gen 3.

Lowrance HDS12 GEN3 Totalscan Bundle

Top Features:

  • 12″ multitouch display with 1200 x 800 resolution
  • Built-in 2D sonar Chirp with 200 kHz and 83 kHz frequency
  • Structure Scan HD with Down Imaging & Side Imaging (with structure scan transducer)
  • Built-in Bluetooth and wireless connectivity
  • Built-in 10 Hz GPS antenna
  • Autopilot control via Lowrance SmartSteer
  • Multi-split screen option (4-way)
  • Depth capacity: 750ft / 299m (2D sonar) & 300ft / 92m (Structure Scan)
  • 2 MicroSD card slot for
  • IPX7 waterproofing

Before moving on, you should know that there are various bundles. In this review, we are going to refer to the Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 model number LOW- 000-13267-001 with Total Scan Transducer.


 Full Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 Review:

Some people do fishing out of passion, some are professional tournament anglers and some people are commercial fisherman. No matter which angler category you are in, this HD 12 can handle anything. A casual angler may find this fish finder overpower however, sports anglers will find this fish finder very helpful competing in a tournament. Here we will talk about the in-depth information about the Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3



The display on the HDS 12 Gen 3 is one of the reasons to buy it. The widescreen of the HDS 12 provides a more viewable screen. It has got a resolution of  1200 x 800. You might think, such low resolution? Well, my phone has more resolution than that. Phones display and Fish finder’s display are not the same. Fishfinder having a WGVA 800 x 480 resolution is considered good. This monster has whopping 1200 x 800 resolution. This means you will get sharper and detailed view under water.

The multitouch screen allows you to navigate easily through the screen without the hassle to press the buttons. The display is sharp and crisp and with this non-glared screen, you will be able to see every detail even in the bright sunny day. Do you fish at night? This fish finder has LED backlit that allows you to fish even at night.

Lowrance has not compromised a bit in their display section. Personally, I think Lowrance has provided the best display that you can get at this price point.


2D sonar:

The built-in chirp broadband sounder gives you a 2d view of what is going on underwater. This sonar gives you a clear clutterless and noiseless picture so that you can know exactly what is beneath you. The Chirp sonar has a frequency of 200 kHz & 83 kHz. The frequencies operate through conical sonar beam.

For low depth, use the 200 kHz which has a cone angle of 22° and the 83 kHz covers wider cone angle of 52° which is best for deep water. This sonar is capable of covering water depth up to 750 ft / 299m which is more than enough for deep water fishing. Regardless which bundle you purchase, the 2d sonar transducer is included.


StructureScan HD:

The Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 review would be incomplete without mentioning the StructureScan HD. This beast is equipped with StructureScan HD that is capable of DownScanning and SideScanning. The DownScan and SideScan give you a 3-dimensional idea of that are going underneath. The StructureScan HD means you will get 180° view of underwater.

The StructureScan HD has a frequency of 455 kHz & 800 kHz. 455 kHz frequency means you will get wider coverage and with 800 kHz you can get a clearer picture of what is going around you. The StructureScan HD has a depth capacity of 300 ft / 92m.

Note: This Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 review refers to the TotalScan Bundle. The StructureScan HD transducer is only available for the TotalScan bundle. If you already own a TotalScan transducer, then you can purchase the HDS 12 Gen 3 without transducer model number 000-11794-001. To check the price, click here.


Lowrance HDS12 GEN3 Totalscan Bundle

GPS & Navigation:

The HDS 12 Gen 3 is equipped with 10 Hz built-in GPS Antenna that provides high position accuracy. All the bundles are pre-loaded with Insight USA chart, that covers the Inland & Coastal US water. This device is also support for Insight (HD, PRO or  Genesis), Navionics (Gold, NAV+ Platinum +), C-MAP and much more.

The two MicroSD card allows you to upload a map to the device through SD cards. Moreover, the built-in Wifi and 8gb of internal storage mean you can download any map directly to the HDS 12 Gen 3 and use it without needing SD card.

The Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 has made navigation super easy. With this device, you can save up to 3000 Waypoints, 100 Routes, & 100 Trails. They are super easy to input and now you will not have to waste time finding your favorite fishing spot.


Lowrance SmartSteer:

If you own a Lowrance Outboard Pilot Hydraulic Pack or an XI5 electric-steer trolling motor then you can control your boat with the SmartSteer. This is an interesting feature that will make navigation to another place really simple. SmartSteer is one of the reasons why you must own the Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3.

Here is a video that will give you a clear idea about Lowrance Autopilot:

Courtesy: WesternBassTV

Other Features:

The interface of HDS 12 Gen 3 is simple yet very functional. It is very easy to use and navigate through the interface. You don’t need to be a tech savvy to run this simple operating system. However, there are some advanced option that you can use if you have got an idea about them.

Other than navigating through the superb multitouch screen, you also the option to navigate using the buttons placed at the top right. The 4-way split screen is really helpful. You can have your side and down imaging on one side along with the map on the other side. By this, you will know what is under the water while moving around the map.


Till now in this Lowrance HDS 12 Gen 3 review, we have just given you the reason to purchase this cool gadget. Now let’s talk about why you should not buy this device. Although this is a great high-quality device that has few to non-flaw, we have grind some drawbacks to help you decide whether it is worth the money.

The first reason that comes to my mind is the price. Although this is one of the best fish finders around 2500 dollars, still it is a lot of money. Most of the anglers find the HDS 12 overpowered and expensive. They are not willing to pay the extra money to get the extra features that they don’t need for casual fishing. If you are not willing to pay over 2000 dollars yet want a decent fish finder that has all the similar feature, then consider buying the Elite Navico Ti 9″. 

Another thing is that some people but not all have experienced problem concerning the mapping option. Also along with the simple interface this device rocks many advanced options. So there is a steep learning curve to use the full potential of this device.

That’s all! Seriously, I did not find any other major fault of this amazing fish finder.

Final Words

Overall, this is a great device that packs a lot of features. This device is a dream of many anglers. I don’t think these minor issues will derive someone from not purchasing this fish finder considering a high budget. If your budget is not high, then you should consider buying Lowrance HDS7 or HDS9.

Personally, I think the money spent on such an expensive device is worth it. I hope this Lowrance HDS 13 Gen 3 review has given you some solid reason to why you must own this high-class top of the line fish finder.



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