CLEAR DISPLAY | SUNGLASS FRIENDLY
Should I upgrade to a – Garmin 8612xsv?
– Yes, I like this one a lot.
We’ll take a detailed look at the features and look at a couple of reviews from some who already have. But here’s the quick version:
► Pros – Beautiful Screen | Ultra Fast Processor | Very Expandable | Very Powerful Sonar | Nice upgrade over the 7612xsv.
► Cons – Price, the 8612xsv can run between 3000-5000 used & new.
The Garmin 8612xsv is a 12” Chartplotter/Sonar Combo that is built around the new Full HD In-plane Switching (IPS) Touchscreen technology. A very sharp screen that is very fast to use.
It comes preloaded with both BlueChart® g3 U.S. coastal and LakeVü g3 maps and features Navionics® data and Auto Guidance right out of the box.
As with most Garmin MFDS, it is fully network-capable with NMEA 2000 and the Garmin Marine Network. Though the one I used is a stand-alone unit, adding more modules like panoptics, radar, autopilot, instruments, cameras, and multimedia is pretty straightforward even though figuring out what you want to include might leave you scratching your head.
It has built-in support for ANT® technology, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi networking for connecting with additional Garmin devices like a quatix™ 5 marine smartwatch, VIRB action cameras, or gWind Wireless 2 wind sensors which cool for easily adding new gadgets.
Also included are SmartMode station controls a full suite of Garmin sonar options and support for OneHelm. The all-in-one design eliminates the need for black boxes, monitors, and external Wi-Fi antennas.
I found the ultra-fast processor makes easy work of map drawing, running sonar, radar, cameras, video, and digital switching, with little or no delay. The screen can be split to show up to six different features simultaneously, including HDMI video input.
As for the sonar support, the 8612xsv comes with plenty of sonar channels, like – Traditional Chirp, DownVu, SideVu, Ultra HD DownVu and Ultra HD SideVu all with 1kW of power. It also has support for Panoptics.
Pair the GPSMAP 8612xsv with the free ActiveCaptain mobile app for access to OneChart, smart notifications, trip planning, chart upgrades, and software updates and that completes the setup.
Below is a detailed look at the 8612xvs features one by one, but first here is a Comparison InfoGraphic on how the 8612xsv stacks up to the older 7612xsv. There are some key differences, mostly in performance but also in features and connections.
The only difference between the 8412xsv and the 8612xsv are the charts.
The 8612xsv is preloaded with BlueChart g3 coastal and LakeVü g3 inland mapping with Navionics data and the 8412xsv only comes with a worldwide base map.
The only difference between the 8612 and the 8612xsv is the depth sounder capability.
The 8612xsv has built-in support for dual-channel 1kW traditional CHIRP, CHIRP ClearVü, and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars plus built-in support for Ultra High-Definition scanning sonar. It also supports the entire Panoptix all-seeing sonar.
The 8612 has all the same chartplotter features but does not have sonar. Since they can share sonar, if you have 2 units only one needs to be the xsv version to use sonar on both.
Excellent Clarity and Sunlight readability
This is definitely the first thing you notice with the 8612xvs. The new In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology used for the display provided very consistent, accurate colors that can be seen from all viewing angles, even with polarized sunglasses.
IPS has been used on smartphones and desktop computer monitors for several years, but Garmin is the first to bring it to marine chart plotters in the GPSMap 8400 and 8600 Series multifunction displays.
IPS changes the orientation of the screen crystals so they are parallel to the surface (or in plane) when energized which just makes for a better user and viewing experience with a super-bright colorful screen when looking at it from virtually any angle.
I found the screen smooth, fast, and easy to read.
Built-in support for a bunch of Garmin sonar capabilities: Dual channel 1kW CHIRP traditional, ClearVu and SideVu scanning sonars, Ultra-High Definition scanning sonar, the Panoptix LiveScope system and the full line of Panoptix sonars.
I was very impressed with the Sonar Quality.
Keep in mind though the support for the Panoptix™ all-seeing sonar line will require an additional black box and transducer.
1kW TRADITIONAL CHIRP SONAR – Instead of sending just 1 single frequency at a time, CHIRP sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies ranging from low to high.
The 8612xsv has a 1kW CHIRP sonar that sweeps a continuous range of frequencies, from low to high, in a single transmission. The returns from each frequency in that transmission are then interpreted and showed on the screen.
Since this continuous sweep of frequencies provides CHIRP with a much wider range of information, CHIRP sonar is able to create a very clear, high-resolution image.
As you can see above, you get far greater target separation and more defined arches than you would with standard 77/200 kHz sonar.
ClearVü SONAR – ClearVü scanning sonar is mainly used to identify structure scanning sonar and gives you a nearly photographic image below the boat.
With ClearVü, you see structure, submerged objects, and fish more more clearly.
Instead of a cone-shaped beam like traditional CHIRP sonar, ClearVü scanning sonar sweeps a narrow beam of very high-frequency (455 or 800kHz) from side to side, producing “slices” that are combined to create very detailed images.
Fish are easily identifiable on Traditional View with CHIRP where as Structures are well defined using ClearVü.
For fishermen and divers looking for structure like wrecks, reefs, log piles and other underwater natural and man made features, ClearVü is a great tool.
Fish are easily identifiable on Traditional View with CHIRP where as Structures are well defined using ClearVü
SideVü SONAR – SideVü is a high frequency sonar that give you a true to life view of structures and targets on the either side of the boat.
You see a crystal clear image that makes it easy to identify wrecks, structure, rocks and even fish that are stacked up next to or above them.
The distance you can scan out to the side depends on the depth but can be usable out several hundred feet which is excellent for covering and searching lots of area quickly.
On the GPSMAP 8612xsv you can view SideVü, ClearVü and Traditional CHIRP sonar images on the same split screen.
Ultra-High Definition scanning sonar – is a new technology that puts more power on the targets with a higher frequency range, for much clearer images, detail of structure and fish below and out to the sides.
The detail of fish, rocks, brush piles, structure are noticeably sharper with Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and Ultra High-Definition SideVü sonar.
Ultra-High Definition CHIRP frequencies range from 760-880kHz for ClearVü and 1,060-1,170kHz for SideVü and are excellent for depths up to about 200′.
OPTIONAL | Blackbox required
Panoptix Livescope – Panoptix all-seeing sonar is pretty amazing sonar technology. It gives us the ability to see all around the boat in real time and in 3 dimensions.
Panoptix shows highly detailed, easy-to interpret live scanning sonar images of structure, bait and fish swimming below and around your boat in real time, even when the boat is stationary.
Images are so clear, that Garmin says with a little practice, we might be able to identify species!
Both LiveScope Forward and LiveScope Down modes are included in one transducer and are available with either transom or trolling motor mounts.
Panoptix Livescope Forward is cool tool for scouting and fishing out ahead of the boat. You get live, detailed images of structure and fish out to about to 200′ – even while the boat is siting in one spot.
Panoptix LiveScope Down gives us live scanning sonar images of structure and swimming fish in awesome detail below the boat up to 200′ out from the transducer.
OneHelm™ | Control Everything – The OneHelm system coordinates full control of onboard systems – such as digital switching, lighting, stabilization and more – conveniently on the 8612xsv screen.
Here is a short list of integrated third party systems. For most recent list – see Garmin OneHelm™
Charts and Mapping – The 8600 series comes preloaded with the latest BlueChart g3 coastal cartography and LakeVü g3 inland mapping featuring Navionics data for very detailed, clear and concise charts and maps.
Upgading charts to BlueChart® g3 Vision and LakeVü g3 Ultra is easy with 2 microSD cards slots located on the back of the device.
BlueChart g3 coastal cartography
Also included is Garmin’s Auto Guidance technology, which shows a suggested route to a destination, based on specs that you enter in the the device like draft, and verticle height restrictions.
Detailed Contours – 1′ contours that provide a more accurate look of bottom structure for improved fishing charts and enhanced detail in swamps, canals and port layouts.
Charts display high-resolution Depth Range Shading for up to 10 depth ranges, so you can see your needed depth at a glance by color.
Shallow water shading allows for shading at a user-defined depth to give a clear picture of shallow waters to avoid based on your own draft.
LakeVü g3 inland maps – coverage, excellent clarity and detail with integrated Garmin and Navionics® content. The charts also let you easily calculate suggested routes with Auto Guidance. You’ll get coverage on more than 17,000 lakes with up to 1’ contours.
Garmin Quickdraw™ Contours – Quickdraw Contours instantly creates personalized HD maps with 1’ contours and depth labels for any body of water as you fish.
When Quickdraw Contours records data, a colored circle surrounds the vessel icon. This circle represents the approximate area of the map that is scanned by each pass.
The maps are all yours – tailor them to fit your needs. Keep the data for yourself, or share maps with others in the QuickDraw Community.
Active Captain | Connected Boating App – The free all-in-one ActiveCaptain app gives your 8612xsv a powerful connection for upgrading charts, maps and access the Garmin community.
Wherever you are, you can have unlimited access to your cartography, purchase new maps and charts, and access the Garmin Quickdraw™ Contours Community.
Active Captain Features
Garmin SailAssist -Special preloaded sailing features such as laylines, enhanced wind rose, heading and course-over-ground lines, true wind data fields and tide/current/time slider.
For sail racing, there are prerace guidance, synchronized race timer, virtual starting line, time to burn and lay line data fields.
Garmin 2019 | GPSMAP 8600 – Brochure PDF
|2 microSD slots, 32 GB max|
|NETWORK||Garmin Marine Network|
|HDMI IN||HDMI in|
|HDMI OUT||HDMI out|
|CVBS IN||Composite video in|
|AUDIO||NMEA® 0183 and audio out|
|USB||Touchscreen input from a computer or other third-party device|
|12-PIN XDCR||12-pin transducer|
|LVS XDCR||LiveScope™ single-array transducer|
|8-PIN XDCR||8-pin transducer|
|NMEA 2000||NMEA 2000® network|
Charting | Mapping
Fishfinder | Sounder
11.9" x 8.5"x 3"
30.3cm x 21.6cm x 7.6cm
|Display type||WUXGA | IPS Touchsreen|
10.1" x 5.7" | 11.6" diagonal
25.7cm x 14.5cm | 29.5cm diagonal
|Display resolution||1920 x 1080 pixels|
|Display - Brightness||Not Available|
|Power consumption||3.1A | 10-32V|
|GPS Antenna||Internal or external NMEA_2000|
|GPS Receiver||10 Hz GPS/GLONASS/Galileo|
|Mounting options||Bail, flat or flush|
|Accepts data cards||2 Micro SD™ cards|
|Track log||50,000 points; 50 saved tracks|
|Preloaded Maps||BlueChart® g3 and LakeVü g3|
Single Channel CHIRP:
Dual Channel CHIRP:
Ultra High-Definition ClearVü:
Ultra High-Definition SideVü:
Panoptix - With Black Box
|Supports DSC - GPS Data / VHF||Yes|
|Black Box sonar support||Yes|
|Planning Software Compatible||No|
|App-Control Compatibility||Active Captain|
|Remote Input Device - compatible||GRID|
Radar - when connected
Sonar - when connected
Weather - when connected
|Transmit Power||1kW Traditional | 500W SideVü/ClearVü|
|Dual-frequency (50/200 kHz) sonar capable||Yes|
|Dual-Beam Sonar (77/200 kHz) capable||Yes - 50/200 | 77/200 | 83/200|
|CHIRP sonar technology||Single CHIRP: 40-250 | Dual CHIRP: 40-250|
|ClearVü | Down||ClearVü: | UHD ClearVü|
|SideVü | Side||SideVü: | UHD SideVü:|
|Forward View||Yes | With Black Box|
|NMEA 2000 compatible||Yes|
|NMEA 0183 input ports||1 differential|
|NMEA 0183 output ports||1 differential|
|Marine Network Ports||2|
|Video input ports||1 - BNC composite | 1 - HDMI|
|Video output ports||1 HDMI|
|Other Ports||J1939 Compatible|
|Model||Garmin GPSmap 8612xsv|
|SEE PRICE »»|
|Additional - 1||Sailing Features|
|Additional - 2||Supports OneHelm|
|Additional - 3||Supports Smartmode monitor presets|
|In The Box||
NMEA 2000® drop cable
NMEA 2000 T-connector
Bail mount with knobs
Flush mount kit
Trim piece snap covers
Rodney L. ► NavGuy | Lead Writer
Charter Boat Captain, Avid Cruiser, Boat Builder & Marine Electronics Pro:
With over a decade of experience in the marine electronics industry and over 30 years of cruising the Bahamas on boats of all kinds, Rodney is well-positioned to help boaters of all levels sift through the many choices we have today in marine electronics.