Marine electronics evolve so quickly that the moment you finish mounting that new unit on the helm, there’s a good chance it’s become obsolete. You have to do software updates as soon as you open the box because those busy-body programmers have changed things since the factory shipped your unit out, and if you’re smart enough to figure out how to use half of that fishfinder’s features before it’s time to upgrade, there’s a position waiting for you as the next President of Microsoft. During this evolution, we’ve moved away from stand-alone sonar to do-everything boxes that not only find fish, navigate, and steer the boat, they also tell you the best place for lunch and even (eek!) connect to the internet when you’re not paying attention. So it’s really refreshing to see an electronics company come out with a new unit that harkens back to the olden days of pre-2010, when fishfinders were fishfinders, dang it.
Furuno sent me a FCV-587 to participate in a feature article comparing modern fishfinder technologies, which will be coming out on Boats.com soon. In the mean-time, however, this unit impressed me enough that I wanted to focus on it for a blog, to make sure you traditionalists who appreciate a cut-and-dry sonar know it still exists.
The FCV-587 has a beautiful 8.4” screen (and its little brother, the FCV-627 comes with a 5.7” screen) which is a bonded LCD that’s a lot better with side-views and polarized sunglasses than the older Furunos. In short, it gets a huge thumbs-up. All of the usual zoom, range, and gain/auto-gain features are present and accounted for, and there’s one new feature I really liked: Bottom Discrimination. We’ve always been able to determine bottom type with a good sonar, but it takes some practice and a close eyeball to figure out bottom composition by looking at the thickness of a bottom line. This feature eliminates the work and the guess-work, by displaying rocks, gravel, sand, or mud, right on-screen. There’s also a fish-size feature, but honestly, I haven’t yet caught enough fish while using the unit to determine exactly how useful it is.
Beyond features, another thing that makes this a stand-out unit is the big, beefy mount, stout plug-ends, and sturdy casing (areas in which some manufacturers skimp these days). In my experience Furuno produces some of the most rugged electronics units on the market, and the FCV-587 has the beef to keep this reputation safe for the long term. For you spec-heads: the unit puts out 600 watts in 50/200-kHz beams, has 640 x 480 pixels, is waterproof to IP56 standards, and can communicate via NMEA0183. Cost is a hair over $1,000 but can vary a bit depending on transducer type. You’ll hear more about how the sonar technology used by the FCV-587 stacks up against some of the newer “scanning” and “CHIRP” units in that feature, but until then, go to Furuno for more info.