Garmin 1040XS – Product Review

By Capt Andy LoCascio - 04/22/2014 - Short URL: - Views: 34307

Product reviews for electronics are difficult especially when dealing with combo units. It is hard to provide an accurate review without spending a significant number of hours using the unit. So this specific review will be updated over the course of an entire fishing season. Please note that we purchased this unit and this review is completely objective. The boat we are testing this on is a 28ft Triton with twin 300hp Verados.

About this Unit

Here are the major features:

  • 10” color screen (not touch)
  • Preloaded with BlueChart G2 maps
  • Chirp sonar with 50/200khz transducer
  • Downvu/sidevu compatible when used with the GVC 10 black box sonar module

Initial Install, Configuration, and Observations for the Garmin 1040xs

We purchased the initial Garmin 1040xs unit and selected the downvu/sidevu transducer option and the GVC 10 scanning sonar module. We did not include a radar. The install was very easy and pretty much plug and play. The GVC 10 requires its own power connection, but other than that, powering up was typical. One very nice feature is the internal GPS antenna. It was nice to skip that wiring step. Assembly of the transducer was typical but we already have concerns that the bracket bolts are too light. We shall see. This is why good electronic product reviews are done over time.

Once we fired this up we were immediately impressed by the accuracy and resolution of the down view and side view sonar. We had no problems located schools of bait fish on either side of the boat. The amount of side view depends on your depth. The deeper the water, the wider the beam. The down view is a composite of the entire scan and if you see a mark on that, you can glance below of the side view and determine exactly where that was. The resolution was incredibly good.

If you have already used BlueChart maps from Garmin, you know how good they are. The presentation on this unit was perfect and so was the ease of use. We really liked how fast the GPS position and heading was updated on the chart. These charts are as good, or better, than any other manufacturer.

After 30 days

We have at least 15 fishing days both inshore and offshore under our belt and this machine continues to impress us. We had a minor issue with the bolts on the transducer and needed to retighten them. There are only two bolts and the boat is super-fast. We suspect the water pressure loosening them and that caused the angle of the transducer to change. Inshore, we are able to locate schools of bunker (menhaden) well off to either side of the boat and it has certainly made bait getting simpler. The unit also performed flawlessly offshore and it great for getting us over balls of bait and feeding fish.  We still have not needed to use the owners manual.

After 90 days

Capt Andy LoCascio “I will never use a machine again that does not have Chirp technology! With just a few weeks of experience I can distinguish various schools of boat including bunker, sand eels, and squid. I can also identify stripers, bluefish, and sea bass.” We are already sold on the charting, so we really are focusing on the sonar. It is simply the best we have ever used. The side view was perfect for quickly locating wrecks. Wrecks are notoriously hard to locate just using a chart. With this unit we were able to precisely locate the position in a single pass.

End of season

We had over 100 fishing days on this machine now. Everything is still perfect and we added two more machines on two other boats. We spent the second half of the season comparing them to other manufacturer’s machines. The charting and plotting was equally good or better than everything else. The BlueChart charts were the best. The sonar performance of the Garmin 1040xs was far and away the very best. Capt Andy LoCascio “We added these machines to two other boats during the season and then added them to several other boats we rigged for others. Everyone loves this machine. They are so easy to use, that NO ONE has bothered to read the manual.

We only had one minor issue. The bolts on the transom bracket failed completely. They were simply too light for our application. We upgraded all the nuts and bolts to heavier diameters.

Capt Andy LoCascio is also the owner of Long Island Fishing Charters which provides fishing charters, complete boat rigging services, and consulting. Contact us with any questions related to this review and he will respond as soon as possible.

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