Portable Fish Finders
Deeper Pro+ vs iBobber
With all the new portable fish finders on the market, it can be really overwhelming to know which is the right one for us as consumers. With that in mind I decided to put two of those options up against one another straight out of the box to see what the deal was on each of these units. Many of you probably go into a purchase of a unit like this with a predetermined idea of what you’re willing to spend, and features you need to have. But there are certainly features from each unit that you might not have been made aware of (both good and bad) that could play a big part in you being satisfied with your unit after purchasing it. Price can always be a factor, and since it’s the easiest to differentiate we’ll start there. In this case the Deeper Pro+ (DPP) is $239.99 and the iBobber is $99, but there functions of each that the other doesn’t have.
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The similarities between these two portable fish finders are simple. Both units are designed to be tied to a line and casted with a rod and reel. Both require a smartphone or tablet and that you download an app and install it. The iBobber is very simple and only requires that you create a username and provide an email address. The Deeper unit has one more step, requiring an email verification in order to launch the app and begin use. Both units must be kept on the surface, otherwise the signal will fail. Both units are considered “castable”, and meant to be tied to line and casted like a lure, and the weights of each are relatively close with iBobber being 1.7 oz and Deeper being 3.5 oz. That might not seem like a lot, but the 3.5 oz unit would feel like a lot on some rods, and could potentially damage a rod that wasn’t designed to handle lure weight of that size. Both units also sport an in app camera function that will allow you to take pictures without having to leave the app.
The iBobber uses Bluetooth smart technology to transmit to your device. The Deeper unit uses wi-fi. There are benefits to each of those. The Bluetooth Smart technology is designed to not be a huge drain on your battery and will still allow you to use your phone the way that you normally would. The Deeper unit only uses wi-fi, which will limit use of your phone and drain your battery faster, but will work on older tablets and phones that don’t have bluetooth capability. Also the iBobber will reconnect automatically if the connection is broken, but the Deeper had to be manually reconnected a couple times when incoming calls or voicemails broke the connection.
Once both units are turned on and in full operation the apps are very different. iBobber is very easy to use. The App Tour option walks you through a slideshow of 7 images that depict the functionality of the app, and how to access key information like weather, mapping, and trip log. The screen will automatically run in demo mode when the iBobber is not in the water. When it has been casted into the water the device will start depicting depth up to 135 feet, at a 42 degree sonar angle to deliver a max range of 243 feet in diameter. In Fish ID mode, Weeds will actually look like plants, and fish will look like sharks. Or you can switch to Raw Sonar mode, and see a traditional sonar screen with detailed bottom density of the floor. What I really like about this is that every time I’ve marked fish with this unit, they have actually been fish that triggered bites. This has always been my biggest peeve about fishfinders is the inconsistency with which the units accurately mark fish. I like that it will map the lakes that haven’t been charted before. My only wish is that I could still mark fish while mapping the bottom.
iBobber also has a “Strike Warn” feature which will alert you when the line is vibrating. This is a really cool jigging feature that I hadn’t anticipated.
The Deeper unit is not as plug and playable as the iBobber, but has some features that people might want. For starters it has two beam options. The purpose of this according to Deeper is to allow you to use a broad range to begin with (4.3 feet) and switch to the narrow angle (2 feet) once you locate fish to pinpoint them dual beam frequency of each is: 290 kHz (15°)/90 kHz (55°), capable of recording depths up to 260 feet. But this also supports an icefishing use and in fact there’s an Ice Fishing setting. Deeper also supports a splitscreen mode that will show you contour lines on the left, and the fishfinder screen on the right (figure 1 seen below). When in use, the Deeper unit delivers a very crisp imagery that is exactly what you would find in a traditional fishfinder with the addition of having small fish images with numbers that identify fish and the depth they’re located at.
There’s also an entire user manual built in to the app. So if you lose it, or just have a question about a feature while you’re on the water, you can find it quick and easy. Really there are so many features with this app that you can get lost and overwhelmed with them all.
The Deeper unit isn’t for everyone. But if you’re really techy and want every feature imaginable, whether you need it or not, this is the one for you. If you’re just looking to get depth and mark fish, then you can save a ton of money and buy the iBobber. I think that the iBobber does a more accurate job of marking fish right out of the box. The Deeper unit is great but requires some fine tuning that the average user isn’t as familiar with. The Ice Fishing option is a great added bonus if you ice fish, but the limited battery life (only 4 hours) won’t give you a full day of fishing and there isn’t a way to switch batteries or charge while you’re using.
Bottom line is that both of these portable fish finders are great units, depending on the features and functionality you need and what you’re willing to spend. If you have a question or a comment, be sure to drop me a line and I’ll be sure to get to it right away. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe below.