Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ vs FishHunter 3D Head to Head
Small enough to fit in your tackle box or pocket for that matter, smart portable fish finders are expanding the possibilities for anyone who enjoys recreational fishing. These versatile, mini fishing sonars are leveling the playing field for those of us who do not own a boat or just prefer more flexibility in where and how we fish.
Right from the start, two key features set this new type of fish finder apart from our more traditional sonar devices – they are wireless and they are castable. Simply drop in the water one of these, throw it or cast it out to your chosen spot using a fishing rod, or simply tie it to the back of your small boat or kayak and you’re ready to start finding fish.
Unlike traditional fish finders that require transducers, mounts, wires, hardware and drilling holes in your boat, these newer, ultra-portable fish finders take advantage of mobile technology to offer a incredibly portable and effective wireless Wi-Fi sonar devices that easily connect to your iOS or Android mobile phone or tablet device, via a downloaded app, to give you detailed information about your location.
Now, whether you are fishing from shore, a kayak, boat, or even ice fishing, you will be able to accurately see right from your smartphone or tablet screen the depth, temperature and bottom contour of your freshwater or saltwater environment and, more importantly, where the fish are in real-time.
Simply put, these small devices let you see exactly what’s going on below the surface and greatly increase your odds of catching fish, whether you are bank fishing, casting from a pier or out in the water.
Of the current line-up of the best portable fish finders, two products stand out above the rest in terms of functionality and quality –- the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ and the FishHunter Directional 3D Wireless, Portable Fish Finder.
This post will review and compare the best features as well as any shortcomings for each and tell you which one gets the nod.
The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is the latest portable wireless caster from Deeper Sonar, following the already popular Deeper Smart Fishfinder 3.0 and the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO.
Both the Sonar Pro+ and it’s predecessor, the popular Sonar Pro, enjoy a few upgrades over the Fishfinder 3.0 model, importantly the addition of Wi-Fi connection to smartphones and other mobile devices, replacing the Bluetooth connectivity. Connectivity range almost triples due to the upgrade to Wi-Fi, going from 130 ft in the 3.0 model to 330 ft in the Pro and Pro+.
Given the increased range provided by the upgrade to wireless Wi-Fi capabilities, you should have no problem connecting the fish finder and achieving a strong, reliable signal to your phone or tablet while fishing.
The Deeper Pro+ is a great choice for anyone planning to fish strictly from shore due to its relatively light casting weight and its 330 feet Wi-Fi connectivity range. Also, dropped connections, a complaint by some with Deeper’s first smart sonar users, should diminish greatly.
But Deeper’s newest smart fish finder gives you, even more, options over previous models. Unlike the standard Pro offering, the Sonar Pro+ gives you greater mapping capabilities, regardless of where you are fishing – including ice fishing.
Whereas the Sonar Pro uses your smartphone’s GPS to get real-time detailed bathymetric water bottom contouring while offshore in Boat Mode, the Deeper Sonar Pro+ has its own built-in, dedicated GPS so that you get those same high-quality readings whether you are fishing offshore or onshore – a significant improvement and a big plus for anglers.
The bathymetric mapping feature is the big selling point of the PRO+, offering users the opportunity to view maps of lakes and other bodies of water, as well as being able to create your very own maps through the high accuracy internal GPS receiver.
Using this feature, you can easily create detailed maps that feature plenty of useful information to make fishing that more successful, including info about water depth, temperature, underwater vegetation, and the location of fish.
All maps can be archived and are accessible offline as well as online, allowing you to create various layers of information from what you have gathered to create detailed, accurate maps of your own. Any archived maps stored online can be downloaded for free onto the Deeper app.
The color mode allows you to view specific details regarding the map, ensuring you can identify every aspect of the location to help make sure you never miss a bite. (Also, See Deeper Pro+ with Special Bundled Offer)
Deeper Pro+ Key Features
- Wireless Wi-Fi Connection (330 ft/ 100.5 m range)
- Built-in GPS Receiver
- Real-Time Bathymetric Mapping
- Color Mode
- Depth of Range of up to 260 ft/ 79 m
- Size/Weight: 2.5 inches dia. (6.4 cm)/ 3.5 oz (99.2 gm)
- Dual Frequency
- 5 Hours of Continuous Operation ( on a single charge)
- One-Year Limited Warranty
What Could Be Improved
- Battery Life – One of the things, that could have been better is the battery life of this device. The two previous models gave us 6 hours of continuous operation per charge.
- However, that drops slightly to 5.5 hours with the Pro+. While the drop in battery life is most likely due to the internal GPS now included and is not really significant, we would have preferred to see it increased.
- Night Fishing Cover (or lack of) – This one doesn’t make sense to me from a consumer point of view: though the Deeper Pro Plus comes with a built-in LED light for night fishing, you will have to fork over a few additional bucks if you want to get the orange, translucent night fishing cover to use this feature.
- It would have been nice if this were included as a standard feature like it is in the FishHunter 3D.
What We Liked
- Powerful GPS receiver and Wi-Fi quickly produce accurate and detailed bathymetric maps
- Impressive Wi-Fi range and sonar depth
- Adjustable sensitivity
- Light enough to cast with most standard rods
- Great for shore fishing and ice fishing
As a leading manufacturer of wireless portable fish finders, FishHunter has been at the forefront of the market when it comes to producing high-quality fish finding technology. They are the manufacturer behind the highly successful FishHunter Military Grade Portable Fish Finder 3.0 and the FishHunter Pro, one of the fastest tri-frequency portable fish finders to be released.
Their latest product, the FishHunter Directional 3D, is a powerful piece of hardware that offers a range of high-quality view modes. Its ability to scan an area is enhanced by 5 powerful transducers that produce highly detailed images as well as allow for coverage of a much larger area than most other finders.
The unit’s reliable and easy wireless Wi-Fi connectivity allows for the fish finder to be cast and remain connected to a distance of up to 200 ft, making it great for fishing from the shore. Simply connect your device via Wi-Fi, install the app and to start mapping!
Speaking of mapping, it is one of the most impressive features of this product, with the FishHunter 3D, offering an incredible 5 different sonar view modes, including bathymetric mapping, 3D structure mapping, directional casting (lets you see where fish are relative to fish finder), 3D fishing, and ice fishing flasher right from your mobile device.
Not only does it make mapping your favorite fishing spots simple, but you will also find ample information on depths, contours, fish locations, drop-offs, and bottom features, helping to increase your productivity significantly.
FishHunter 3D Key Features
- Wireless Wi-Fi Connection (200ft/61m range)
- 5 Tri-Frequency Transducers
- Directional Casting View
- Depth Range of up to 160 ft/49 m (100 ft/ 30.5 m for ice fishing)
- Size/Weight: 6.3 oz (180 gm)
- LED Night Fishing Light
- 10 Hours of Continuous Operation (on a single charge)
- One-Year Limited Warranty (from Navico, the parent company of Lowrance)
What Could Be Improved
- Size/Weight: At about the size of a baseball and over 6 ounces, this is not really something you want to cast unless you are using a heavy-duty rod and heavy test line. This fish finder is better tossed, pitched or floated on the back of your boat or from a fishing kayak using the provided 15 ft. leash/cord.
- This is, however, a trade-off for having a larger, longer-lasting battery and 5 transducers as opposed to just one.
What We Liked
- Extensive range of detailed sonar views including 3D maps
- Easy connection and wide coverage
- Suitable for deep and shallow water fishing
- Night fishing capability included
- Directional Casting
- 10 hr Lithium Battery
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ vs FishHunter Directional 3D
So, of these two top range fish finders, which is worth your money?
Well, it all depends on what you hope to achieve from your finder, but as both products are of the highest quality, they will be a firm favorite for almost any experienced angler.
Both feature amazing mapping technology; the bathymetric mapping of the PR0+ is exceptionally detailed, and with an incredible wireless Wi-Fi range of 330 ft it has one of the most impressive casting ranges on the market.
The FishHunter 3D truly shines with its mapping modes, of which there are 5, which is more than the single bathymetric mode present in the PRO Plus. The Deeper Pro+ is smaller and lighter than the FishHunter 3D – great features for casting performance – but it also has only about half of the battery life per charge of the FishHunter.
The FishHunter’s 3D structure and mapping capabilities will certainly catch the eye of many, offering what can be considered the most detailed map models from a fishfinder. Additionally, custom map modes and directional casting make it a little more versatile than the PRO+.
One fish finder will produce an incredible contour while the other can literally show you where to cast a line to increase your chances of a bite.
Some may find the FishHunter more difficult to operate and understand, given the wider range of functions available, although the app is certainly designed to be user-friendly, which is also true of the Deeper app used with the PRO+.
The FishHunter’s feature-rich offerings aside, the Deeper PRO+ has better Wi-Fi connection range than FishHunter, which is something to consider for those who will be fishing mostly from the shore, where casting distance/wireless connection becomes more important than for those fishing from kayaks or boats.
However, the versatility and useful features of the FishHunter finder such as 10-hour battery life, standard night fishing capability, and directional casting ability make the FishHunter 3D a product many anglers will love.
Review Final Thoughts and Our Pick
When I first wrote this review a while back, I gave the edge, though slightly, to the FishHunter fishfinder over the Deeper Pro+ unit. Over time, however, with more feedback from our readers and extended personal experience with both fishfinders, I feel compelled to update this review.
FishHunter (later sold to Navico – see below) created a castable fishfinder with great versatility and promise. The 3D mapping, directional casting feature and 10-hour lithium battery had many excited, including myself. It even came with a built-in light for night fishing!
It is not that the FishHunter Directional 3D has all of a sudden become an inferior product – because it is not! It still remains a great little portable fishing sonar and a solid bet for anyone looking for a fishfinder that is highly portable and packs tons of innovative features.
So what’s changed to make me swap positions between these 2 oustanding little fishfinders? What’s changed is that the Deeper Pro Plus has proven itself over these last couple of years. Time has shown that while exciting features are certainly attractive, in the long run, it is solid performance that usually wins out.
The Deeper Pro+, in the end, has proven that it is a quality product that sports features that make it the better portable, castable fishfinder. The most notable of which are Its durability, smaller diameter/lighter weight and longer Wi-Fi range – great advantages, particularly for anglers fishing strictly from shore. These real-world advantages cannot be overlooked.
Also, while it may not boast 3D mapping capabilities, let’s not forget that the Deeper PRO+ is an exceptional portable fishfinder that offers solid all-around performance and boasts a comprehensive bathymetric mapping system that delivers high-quality maps that will only enhance your fishing accuracy.
In the end anglers – especially anyone kayak fishing, inshore/lake fishing from a small boat or even casting from shore – looking for the best all-around portable/castable fish finder available today, both of these fish finders offer better performance and more top-line technology and forward-thinking features than most of the competition today.
In conclusion, I have to say that you can’t go wrong with either of these two products – they’re both winners! But time has proven that the Deeper Pro Plus is the class of the new breed of ultra portable fish finders.
Tight lines and see you again soon!
Update 11-16-17: FishHunter was acquired in August of this year by Navico, the parent company of Lowrance. Lowrance is probably the most recognized name in fishing and boating electronics in the world, so going forward I think we can expect some exciting innovations to the FishHunter line, as well as much better product and customer support.