If you are an angler or a marine enthusiast, you have probably come across the terms HDS Carbon and HDS Live. They are fish finder series by Lowrance, a renowned company in marine electronics. Understanding the difference between these two can be quite critical when deciding on which unit to purchase. So, what’s the difference between HDS Carbon and HDS Live? Let’s dive in and explore.

Introduction to HDS Carbon

The HDS Carbon series is the predecessor of the HDS Live series and served as a significant step up from Lowrance’s previous HDS Gen3 series. The main improvements in the Carbon series included an enhanced processor for faster sonar updates, improved clarity, and an expanded dual-channel CHIRP sonar range.

Introduction to HDS Live

HDS Live is the successor to the HDS Carbon series. It boasts cutting-edge fish finding technology and improved features such as real-time sonar views, enhanced networking capabilities, integrated support for Active Imaging™, FishReveal™, and smartphone integration.

Distinguishing Features between HDS Carbon and HDS Live

Sonar Capabilities

While both HDS Carbon and HDS Live support a variety of sonar types, HDS Live takes it up a notch with support for Active Imaging™, which offers high-resolution imaging of underwater structure and fish. Moreover, HDS Live also offers LiveSight™ real-time sonar, which provides a real-time view of fish movement.

User Interface and Display

Both series offer high-resolution SolarMAX™ HD displays, allowing for excellent clarity and viewing angles in all conditions. However, the HDS Live series has a slightly more intuitive interface with quick access to key features through a customizable menu bar.

Smartphone Integration

HDS Live takes connectivity to the next level with smartphone notifications. It allows you to stay connected to your world with smartphone notifications appearing on your HDS Live display, letting you keep your focus on the fish.

Mapping and Navigation

While both series offer excellent navigation features, HDS Live comes with an enhanced, built-in mapping solution – C-MAP® Genesis Live – that enables users to create custom, high-resolution contour maps in real-time.


In conclusion, while both the HDS Carbon and HDS Live series offer high-performance fish-finding capabilities, the HDS Live series provides more advanced features. With real-time sonar views, enhanced mapping, and smartphone integration, the HDS Live series offers a superior, more integrated, and convenient experience for the user. However, the HDS Carbon series remains a solid choice for those who do not require these additional features or are working within a tighter budget.

Anthoni Ja
Latest posts by Anthoni Ja (see all)