The large, bright, easily-read-in-sunlight display of Lowrance's LCX-104c is what made it the choice for Boating Magazine's Scout Abaco 242 project boat. Besides making charts and bottom readings decipherable at a glance, this combination chartplotter/fishfinder displays cartography information to 1/8 of a mile. Some of today's big-name chartplotters don't actually do that in the field-though their specs say they can.
One disappointment: The built-in chart, although fairly accurate, frequently showed my position as being on land. Spring for additional cartography. The unit conveniently has two bays, so you can install two cartridges-either MMC (multimedia card) or SDC (secure digital card) formats.
The 10.4" TFT LCD screen-the best type-has 640-by-480 pixels and 256 colors. The LCX-104c outputs up to 1kW of power (RMS), so good soundings are assured. Aboard the Scout, we never lost the bottom reading, whether offshore or skimming the flats. The unit has 512k of memory and can store your charts or soundings on blank MMC or SDC cards, which can then be uploaded to your PC. Speed, water temperature, and the 12-channel GPS/WAAS antenna are included. Price: $2,500 with a dual-frequency (50/200kHz) transom-mount transducer.
Contact Lowrance at 800/324-1356, www.lowrance.com.