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Garmin-Striker-Vivid-series-review
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It is called model maintenance when an existing series is more or less extensively beefed up. This is currently the case with the Garmin Striker Plus series, which now comes in a lively (vivid) form. In this article, you can find out how this turned out and whether Garmin succeeded in making the already successful Striker family even more attractive.

1. What's new about the Garmin Striker Vivid series?

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We know the so-called facelift all too well from the automotive industry. A little design work is done on the front apron and the headlights – and the marketing department has something to talk about. A new model.

The manufacturer will have had something similar in mind for the Garmin Striker Vivid series. One has a bit of a hard time recognizing a new model series with the few changes made compared to the Plus models.

  1. The Striker Plus hardware, for example, has been left untouched.
  2. Software-wise, only seven new high-contrast color palettes are available, which should allow for a better display of the sonar images.

That’s about it. Kind of disappointing, especially since there would have been several hardware options to significantly upgrade the Striker devices at points.

garmin-striker-vivid-5cv-connectors
A look at the back of the Striker 5cv. Two connection options: Left for the depth sounder transducer, right for the power supply. The connection pins sit directly on the system board. Screw terminals and strain relief? Missing! Below right, the connector sockets of the Striker Vivid SV versions. For the GT52HW-TM transducer, the two four-pin connectors of the Y-adapter belong in the two sockets on the left.

The following should be mentioned here:

  • The missing strain relief of the cable connections,
  • the adapter solutions for the 12-pin encoder connection of the GT52 in the SV models.
  • Likewise, the GPS-only solution (without chart plotter) is no longer up to date even in this price range – at least for the large devices in 7 and 9 inches.

Who now pulls the price card and would like to see it differently, should be countered with the fact that a Striker Vivid 7sv with the GT52 transducer is just 100 € cheaper than a 7 inch Raymarine Element with four types of fish sonar techniques – including 3D and a fully equipped chartplotter. The quad transducer is also already included in the price.

Not to be misunderstood at this point: The Garmin Striker series is always worth considering in the lower price range, as it offers excellent capabilities in both the fish finder and transducer areas. And therefore is definitely a recommended fish finder purchase for the price-conscious user. But even a successful echo sounder family can be made even better in detail. Especially so that the term “new” gets a little more substance than currently with the Striker Vivid series.

2. What does the series have to offer?

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The Vivid series is – as already mentioned at the beginning – completely based on the Garmin Striker Plus series, which has been around for a while. And was only slightly upgraded by new graphics. There are all device sizes from 4 – 9 inches with (identifier SV) and without SideVü (identifier CV).

2.1. What do the new color graphics bring?

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The seven additive color palettes are intended to improve the display of echo sounder images. According to the manufacturer, different external factors such as

  • lighting conditions,
  • the ground structures and
  • the personal eyesight of the individual user

are now taken into account.

This means in plain language that everyone can select his preferences in the color range, according to his abilities and inclinations. Compared to the Garmin Striker Plus family, the appearance of the display has noteably improved. The fish finder images have become more contrasty, subjectively sharper and can be optimally adapted to the respective situation. In this respect, the manufacturer did well to include this option. By the way, this has also found its way into the revised Garmin GPSMAP devices.

Garmin-striker-vivid-SideVue
The SideVü echo sounder image of a Striker Vivid SV model with the GT52HW-TM transducer. Although here was not scanned with the highest possible resolution (800 kHz), you get a great impression of the existing ground modulation by the new graphic design. And that with good detail representation.
garmin-striker-vivid-ClearVue
This ClearVü screenshot shows the optimal possibilities of the display. These are photo-realistic images that provide an excellent impression of the bottom of the water. And that with very good detail differentiation as well as commendable spatial impression.

2.2. What makes the "new" Garmin fishfinder series interesting?

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We’ll break down the features and functions of the Garmin Striker Plus family once again to draw your attention to the overall package that you get for your money with the Vivid variant.

2.2.1. Traditional echo sounder with Chirp

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The Striker Vivid series comes with the traditional chirp sonar, which has been systematically developed over the years in Garmin fishfinders and equipped with especially adapted chirp transducers. This technology provides crystal clear fish finder images with clean object separation and impressive detail resolution. The manufacturer has done a great job here – especially because it has implemented the possibilities of this technology even in the lower price range.

2.2.2. ClearVü and SideVü functions

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ClearVü (DownScan) and SideVü (Sidescan) are convincing. There are small differences to the competition here and there in the subtleties, but they are only of minor importance in practice. In the display differentiation, the new Striker Vivid series with its additional color palettes has collected visible plus points in these sonar methods – as you can easily see from the two images shown above.

2.2.3. GPS and custom charting

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The Striker family uses GPS, as well as its own map creation with Quickdraw Contours. The software is already installed, and it is self-explanatory to use. Turn on the app via the menu and the device creates high-resolution fishing maps with depth contours at 30 cm intervals. The maps are stored directly in the device memory. Map exchange and sharing is possible via wifi and the ActiveCaptain app on the smartphone. All communications of the device can be carried out via this app.

Follow the route via set waypoints. This allows navigation or re-routing to hotspots with a Striker Vivid. For plotter experienced users a little like navigating in the semi-dark. The white background offers hardly any possibilities to check the route for dangerous passages. However, this gets better when working with maps from the Quickdraw draw community.

With the GPS you can

  • navigate in a limited way,
  • mark hotspots and return to them later.

Of course, these functions cannot replace a chartplotter. However, they are a useful option that works well in practice. This is also confirmed by many satisfied users.

2.2.4. The Garmin CHIRP transducer range

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A highlight of the echosounder manufacturer’s efforts to provide us with the best images under and around the boat is its CHIRP transducer family. Where there is Chirp written on it, there is also Chirp in it. Of course, the prerequisite is always that you order the right transducer for your personal Striker Vivid.

Garmin-striker-vivid-chirp-transducer
On the left, the GT52HW-TM with 2D chirp, ClearVü and additional SideVÜ. On the right, the GT22HW-TM with 2D Chirp and ClearVÜ. Externally, hardly distinguishable.

For the Striker Vivid series these are

  1. the GT52HW-TM transducer for all SV units and
  2. the GT22HW-TM for the CV types.

Garmin also sells the GT20 dual frequency transducer in some combinations. This one is not bad either. Unfortunately, as a dual frequency type, it can only follow the chirp of the device to a very small extent. Thus the possibilities of the hardware to produce first-class chirp images are not fully utilized with it.

All CV units with 4 and 5 inches are also available without transducer, so you can order the chirp specialist GT22HW-TM for the small models throughout. Why of all models the 7 inch model (7cv) is force married with the GT20 is not understandable. Especially with this model, the GT22HW-TM would have been the better alternative. It helps to negotiate with your supplier about an exchange if necessary.

The SV models (which are only available in the 7- and 9-inch format) are delivered with the triple encoder GT52HW-TM – an excellent deal. Optionally, it is also possible to buy them without a transducer.

2.2.5. All Garmin Striker Vivid models at a glance


Equipment details and range of functions

Striker Vivid 4cv

Striker Vivid 5cv

Striker Vivid 7cv

Striker Vivid 7sv

Striker Vivid 9cv

Striker Vivid 9sv

Screen resolution

272/480

800/480

800/480

800/480

800/480

800/480

Screen size in inches

4,3

5

7

7

9

9

GPS

X

X

X

X

X

X

SD card slot

-

-

-

-

-

-

Chartplotter

-

-

-

-

-

-

2D-Chirp High/Middle

X

X

X

X

X

X

ClearVÜ

X

X

X

X

X

X

SideVÜ

-

-

-

X

-

X

QuickDraw Contours

X

X

X

X

X

X

Wlan

X

X

X

X

X

X

Active Captain app compatible

X

X

X

X

X

X

2-frequency transducer GT20

X

X

X

X

X

X

CV chirp transducer GT22HW-TM

X

X

X

X

X

X

SV chirp transducer GT52HW-TM

-

-

-

X

-

X

Transmitting power RMS

300 W

500 W

500 W

500 W

500 W

500 W

Network capability

-

-

-

-

-

-

Keyboard operation

X

X

X

X

X

X

Touchscreen

-

-

-

-

-

-

Surface- / flush-mounting

X/-

X/X

X/X

X/X

X/X

X/X

All models (except Striker Vivid 7cv) are also available without transducer. If you want the best chirp images, you should

  • buy the chirp transducer GT22HW-TM (approx. 198 €) for all CV models (2D chirp plus ClearVü).
  • For the SV models (with additional SideVü) combinations with the very good GT52HW-TM are offered.

Please note that for the connection of a CHIRP transducer an adapter is necessary for all models. For the CV models this is a 4-pin (instrument) to 8-pin (transducer) adapter. For the SV models a Y-cable with 2 x 4-pin (device) to 1 x 16-pin (transducer).

3. Conclusion: Garmin Striker Vivid echo sounders

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The Garmin Striker Vivid model series is in the lower price range located within the very first row of desirable candidates. The unchanged fish finder technology of the Striker Plus series, which has already received much praise in the past, shows its very best side with the additional new graphics.

All fish finder images have gained in contrast, sharpness and detail resolution. The really worth seeing display options can be optimally adjusted by a variety of integrated options, following individual requirements and wishes.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer hasn’t managed to eliminate the aforementioned criticisms of the cable connections with the “new” model series. As for the missing chartplotter, we would have liked to see the technology integrated at least in the 7 and 9 inch devices. This would have been the final touch for these two large models.

For all Striker Plus owners, a switch to the Vivid series is naturally not worthwhile. The differences are too small. For a new acquisition, however, the new color palettes have created an additional argument to get into fishing with fish finders at a reasonable price.

Garmin-Striker-Vivid-9sv-fishing kayak

This brings us to the end of our review of the “new” Garmin Striker Vivid fish finders. If you have any questions, additions or comments, then hit the keys: We look forward to your feedback – Jens and Martin! Or, if you want to read more fish finder reviews, have a look at our detailed fish finder test (including the most popular fish finder models of all major manufacturers like Garmin, Raymarine or Lowrance).

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