Besides all of the amazing technical features that the unit provides the most obvious one to examine first is the touch screen. There are many concerns to think about with a touch screen best fish finder. Your hands get all sorts of foreign materials on them while fishing. Scents that are on baits, oils, grease, fish slime, and any number of other substances.
Now try using your dirty hands on a touch screen and still expect a clean screen that can be easily viewed. Most likely not happening. This is, as far as I can tell, the biggest drawback to the touch screen unit. It might be a good idea to keep a rag and cleaning solution on hand to make sure it is clean and easily viewable as the day progresses.
Another issue to keep in mind is controlling the unit while you are wearing gloves on a cold day. Touch screens do not work unless something which can conduct electricity touches them, for example your fingertip. It would be very annoying and uncomfortable to have to remove your gloves each time you want to punch in a new way point or make any changes to your unit.
A quick fix to this is to sew in a conductive material to the tips of your gloves to ensure they will work still with the screen. You can buy metal coated thread at craft stores or online to accomplish this. Besides there two downfalls I think that the touch screen will be a welcomed and advantageous development to the Lowrance HDS gen 2 units.
Ease of Use:
After examining the screen and the on screen buttons to control the unit, it looks like Lowrance made the buttons nice and big so they are easy to select without hitting another button on accident due to fat fingers. The graphical user interface is very easy to navigate and intuitive.
The next feature I was impressed with was the QWERTY touch keyboard. I find it extremely annoying to use a cursor and select each letter to name way points and other data on the units. This is very time consuming, and with the new keyboard this can potentially now take seconds to input the same labels and information.
Overall I think that the touch screen was a great feature to add on to fish finder units and in time will become the new standard for all fish finder units. The cleanliness issue and glove issue can easily be overcome by many of the added conveniences of the touch screen. Oh and because there are no major buttons on the unit, you can have a lot more screen in the same size of a smaller screen sized unit with buttons.
I would guess that most people looking to upgrade to this unit already have a pre existing HDS Lowrance product. The great news is that this is fully compatible with all the existing networking features you had previously. Same wires, same connections.
An added benefit of the HDS gen 2 touch units is that they have a built in LSS-2 HD, the black box that costs over $600.00! The standard version of the HDS gen 2 does not have this build in. This is the unit for sidescan and down scanning. You can use the LSS-1 transducer if you have this already, however you will need an adapter for the cable. While the unit does has the LSS-2 HD module, you still have to purchase the transducer if you do not have this already.
In addition to these features, the Lowrance HDS Gen 2 touch units have 5 separate plug ins on the back of the unit. Ethernet, N2k, Sonar, Structure Scan HD, and power. This allows you to connect a wide range of networking devices such as a video feed, radar, fuel/temp probes, engine, and others.