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Navman Fish 450 Tricolor
( 11/2000 )
 
Boating
This clever little sounder not only gives you a colour display, but also a very effective fuel-flow computer that?s very handy when coastal fishing.
Navman Fish 450 Tricolor

Navman has of late become a thorn in the side of a number of the traditional cheaper, recreational fish-finder manufacturers. The New Zealand brand has been making inroads into this market for the last two years and it?s latest offering only increases the pressure.
The Navman Fish 450 Tricolor not only offers low cost colour, but also the benefits of an onboard fuel flow computer.
The Fish450 Tricolour pumps out a healthy 400 watts RMS, comes standard with speed and temperature and has a recommended price of just $599. Included with a transom-mount transducer that?s seriously good value and places it firmly as a market chaser.
Before moving onto the three-colour display let us cover the usual menu items on offer. The menu programme is very easily worked, being clearly displayed on the starting of the unit, or on the pressing of the menu key.
From here you can go directly into standard sonar, or set up the split screen for standard and zoom operation. The fuel monitoring facilities are easily accessed through this screen along with Speed, Temperature and battery monitoring displays. The actual set-up functions are also accessible via the screen and once visited and your preferred units, etc are set. It is one area you need not visit again on a regular basis.
The Navman Fish450 does not provide a wide range of functions, preferring to keep operations simple to use. However, it does have a graphic display of depth penetration, or concentration of the ultrasonic pulse. This function can be quite handy for those of us who at times struggle to get the best Gain volume in given situations.
With the use of this handy screen, Gain adjustment becomes a breeze and highly accurate. The other big plus of this screen is its ability to determine fish species. The width and length of the signals give the trained eye a good indication of the type of fish being displayed.
Using the colour screen is one area that will require practice, but for many targeting species this handy function could well be an answer.

Colour My World:
Yes this unit gives you a three-colour LCD display with a 160 x 80 pixel screen. To that end the picture you get isn?t as fine as some of the other units it?s competing with.
Garmin, Raytheon and Lowrance all have finer visuals displays, where as this unit is slightly better than the Humminbird. As I have stated in past tests all things are a trade off, and in the case of this unit pixels per-inch have been sacrificed for power, three-colour and price.
It sends and receives a mighty strong signal for a unit of this price (400W RMS) and our testing showed it to be quite accurate in display.
The Navman Fish450 is not a unit that displays hundred of non-existent fish beneath, as some of the units we test these days have a good habit of doing.
A host of alarms include all the usuals features, along with low battery warnings and low fuel warnings (if fuel flow option fitted). The battery voltage display is a great inclusion, providing a continual display of the health of the batteries.
Also displayable is a handy temperature graph displaying the last 30 minutes of water temperature, which updates every 30 seconds.
The three-colour system simply means this is your colour sounder when you probably cannot afford the real thing. To be fair, the colour system does enhance the soundings projected on the screen and does assist in detecting bottom hardness. Otherwise it is a function of very limited use.
In saying this I do not want to take away from this unit. It is a very useful, well-priced package that will give the average recreational coastal reef fisho a reasonable degree of accuracy. Not to say sounding at a very affordable price.
The three-colours, blue, red and green determine the strengths. It goes from the weakest blue, to green the strongest. An easily selectable colouration bar allows you to manipulate those colours, and remove weaker signals. This aspect of the three-colour display is probably its biggest advantage over standard monochrome units.
It is quite interesting that the inclusion of the colour technology has not affected the price of this unit dramatically, if at all!
Be aware though that the visibility of the colour unit does suffer all the same problems of colour units. For example, when sunlight passed over the screen readings became quite difficult to see.

Performance:
Fitted with the Fuel Flow Monitoring system, the Navman Fish450 provides a unique function not seen in low cost sounders.
The fuel flow system is extremely easily fitted to your boat, via a device that goes into the main fuel line. This device is connected to both the Fish450 and the power source.
Once connected you get clearly readable fuel usage figures. By simply entering units in the tank, it monitors and can display the flow of fuel.
You can get information on fuel remaining in the tank and fuel used. This clever device also can provide distance travelled per unit of fuel used, allowing you to set your throttle at the most economical settings.
Measurements can be set in either gallons, or litres depending on what you want. The fuel flow computer also has a non-volatile memory. Basically that means it stores information in memory till the next time you switched on the sounder.
Our testing showed that the fuel flow unit was within 4% of perfect accuracy. Having played with a number of fuel monitoring devices I can assure you that?s very, very good.
At a price of just $165, I believe the fuel flow is an excellent option that I personally would include with the package. In fact you can buy the fuel flow unit as a stand-alone unit at a price of $295, recommended retail.

Verdict:
This unit has been designed by fisherman, for fisherman, of that I have no doubt. Many of the bells and whistles found on many units have been removed, with no disadvantage to the average recreation fisho.
The inclusion of a simple colour screen, at no extra cost, is also an extra attraction on top of the basic sounding capabilities.
And when you throw in the fuel flow monitoring system you have a very appealing package. Our testing left us pleasantly surprised with the unit?s performance/price ratio. And even if you?ve already got a good sounder aboard, I suggest you look at adding the Navman Fuel Flow Monitor on its own.



Specifications

Display 5cm x 9.5cm
Resolution 160 x 80 pixels
Presentation 3 colour
Frequency 200kHz
Power 400w RMS

Report Card

Ease of Use 4/5
Manual 3/5
Daylight Visibility 3.5/5
Night Visibility 3.5/5
Sounder 3.5/5