i'm writing this review because i just bought this unit, and i see that there are no reviews listed at this time.
after reading about all the different flashers on the market (Vexilar, Humminbird, Marcum), i was getting confused. numerous models, numerous features. I finally read a review that said the HUGE difference is between having a flasher, and not having one. after that, all the differences are small.
I bought the marcum from FISHUSA because the price was better than other places, and no charge for shipping. I liked the case for it (which costs extra for some other makes). Also, it's MADE IN THE USA.
I opened the box, read the manual. connected the battery in the back. plugged in the charger, and took it fishing the next day.
the manual says battery life is 18-22 hours. i turned it on at 9am, shut it off at 5:30pm. it ran fine all day.
I plopped the transducer in the hole, turned it on. there's the bottom at 18 ft. I dropped down a jig, and it shows up on the screen, dropping down towards the bottom. i played with the gain a bit, and all of a sudden, there's something on the screen between the jig and the bottom. a fish! sure enough, the fish mark on the screen moves up level with the jig mark. about 2 seconds later, there's a tap on the line, i set the hook, and i've got my first perch of the day! awesome. another time a fish mark came up level with my jig mark, but no bite. i waited for something to happen, and finally decided the fish must be chewing on my bait. i set the hook, and pulled up another perch.
this unit is the bottom of the line Marcum flasher, and I love it. I was thinking about the features the more expensive units have that this one doesn't:
a) a moveable zoom. this unit has a zoom, but only for the bottom 5 ft. you can't move your zoom up and down the water column.
b) battery life indicator.
c) more colors (this one has 3 colors)
d) digital depth reading
e) more power (this one is 1000 watts. some go 2000 or more).
on this trip, ALL the fish were within 5 ft of the bottom, so a moveable zoom didn't matter. i fully charged the battery the night before, and it will run 18-22 hours on a charge, so i don't need the battery life indicator. as a beginner, 3 colors is enough for me. maybe after i've used it a few years, i'll be more interested in a 6 color unit. a digital printout of the depth would be nice, but if you turn the knob on this unit to 20 and see bottom, you're good. if you don't see bottom, turn it to 40 or higher until the bottom shows up. maybe more power would be helpful in some situations, in deeper depths, but this unit did everything i wanted.
i had another rig i was jigging, and i had 2 jigs on it. what's this 3rd line i'm seeing on the screen? turns out i forgot that i'd put a snap swivel on there, too. the flasher was picking up both jigs, and also the snap swivel, down at 28 ft.
the ONLY problem i had was that it was a very windy, cold day. the winds blew snow into the holes and we had to scoop them out every 5 min or so. well, the winds also blew snow into the recessed viewing screen on the flasher. I had to scoop out the snow every couple minutes to be able to see the screen. I put a clear plastic sandwich bag over the screen and held it in place with a rubber band, but some sort of clear pop-on screen would be nice.
The zoom is a nice feature. At first it wouldn't go on. I turned up the gain and hit the zoom again, and it came on. then i backed off on the gain adjustment to get the picture I wanted. works great.
overall, this is a very nice unit. it will NOT fit in the bottom of your 5 gal bucket, but i haul other junk out in my bucket, so that's academic.
I have not used any other flasher units, so i cannot compare this to any others. this one showed the bottom, it showed my jig, and it showed the fish. in other words, it did everything that i wanted it to do, and it did it perfectly.
Pros: Simple Controls, Easy to use, Excellent manual, Nice carrying case
Best Uses: Ice fishing
Would you recommend this product? Yes