Garmin GPSMAP 8612XSV – Honest review

Garmin 8612xsv is a 12-inch Chartplotter/sonar combo with Full HD IPS Display type.

Garmin sonar choices and OneHelm compatibility are also available just like in SmartMode station management. As a result, black boxes, displays, and external Wi-Fi technology are no longer required.

Garmin GPSMAP 8612XSV Unboxing

As soon as you open the package, you’ll find BlueChart® g3 vision US coastline and LakeVü g3 maps preloaded, as well as Navionics® data and Auto Guidance.

Garmin Marine Network and NMEA 2000 are both supported, as they are on most Garmin MFDS. Even though deciding what you want to include could leave you scratching your head, using additional modules like panoptix, sonar capabilities, cameras, and multimedia in your interface is easy. It has a lot of customizable fields.

It can link to other Garmin products like the quatixTM5 marine watches, VIRB action cameras, and gWind Wireless 2 wind sensors through built-in ANT wireless technology, Bluetooth®, and Wi-Fi networking.


  • Excellent readability in bright sunlight.
  • CHIRP sonar.
  • ClearVü & SideVü.
  • Ultra High-Definition Sonar.
  • Mapping and Charts.
  • Depth Range Shading.
  • Shallow Water Shading in BlueChart g3.
  • Garmin Quickdraw™ Contours.
  • Active Captain App.
  • Garmin SailAssist.


  • The price tag is not for everyone.

Garmin GPSMAP 8612XSV Features

#1 Excellent readability in bright sunlight

With the 8612xvs, this is the first thing you notice. The display’s innovative In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology gives consistently realistic colors that can be viewed from wider viewing angles even while using polarized sunglasses.

Garmin’s GPSMap 8400 and 8600 Series multipurpose displays are the first maritime chart plotters to include IPS technology, which smartphones and computer monitors have been around for a while.

IPS technology gives you an improved user and viewing pleasure with a super-bright and colorful touchscreen display from nearly any angle. They are parallel to the surface (or in-plane).

The interface has customizable monitor presets to choose from. However, I don’t tweak the interface a lot and keep it simple.

#2 Complete Sonar Support from Garmin

Traditional CHIRP sonar, ClearVu, SideVu scanning sonars, and Ultra High-Definition scanning sonar are supported. The Panoptix LiveScope system is also supported, as is the whole series of Garmin Panoptix sonars.

In addition to the black box and transducer, PanoptixTM all-seeing sonar support is also available. Want more? You can also connect a Garmin GPS to a DSC-capable VHF radio. You can also plug a BNC composite-video source with RCA connectors.

CHIRP sonar

The dual-channel 1 kW traditional CHIRP sends a constant sweep of frequencies from low to high instead of the single-frequency forwarded by a single CHIRP transducers frequency.

The 8612xsv gets a 1kW CHIRP sonar that scans a wide range of frequencies in a single transmission, from low to high. The screen then shows the results of each frequency in the delivery.

CHIRP sonar can provide a clean, high-resolution picture because it can access a larger spectrum of frequencies. Compared to 77/200 kHz sonar, CHIRP is better.


If you’re looking for structure scanning sonar and get an almost photographic view underneath the boat, ClearVü is your best bet. ClearVü allows you to see more clearly underwater structures, objects, and creatures.

To provide more detailed pictures than typical CHIRP sonar, ClearVü uses a narrow beam of ultra-high frequency (over 455 up to 800 kHz) energy instead of a cone-shaped one.

The simple view with CHIRP makes it easy to identify fish, while ClearVü makes it easy to identify structures. ClearVü is an excellent tool for fishers and divers searching for underwater structures, including wrecks, reefs, log piles, and other natural and artificial phenomena.


To receive the most accurate picture of what you’re looking at, you need a high-frequency sonar called SideVü. Wrecks, structures, rocks, and even fish piled up next to or above them can all be seen clearly in the photograph.

You can scan out to the side for hundreds of feet depending on depth, making it ideal for swiftly scanning large areas of land.

All three sonar pictures may be seen on the GPSMAP 8612xsv’s split-screen at the same time.

ClearVü and SideVü use frequencies of 760-880kHz and 1,060-1,170kHz, ideal for maximum depth capacity of up to 200 feet.

Ultra High-Definition Sonar

It’s a new technology that uses more power consumption and a higher frequency range for sharper photos and more detail in the structure and fish below and out to the sides of the vessel.

Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and Ultra High-Definition SideVü sonar provide crisper images of fish, boulders, brush piles, and structure.

Panoptix Livescope

Panoptix all-seeing sonar is an impressive sonar technology. It provides us with a 360-degree 3D view of the boat in real-time.

Even while the boat is stationary, Panoptix displays high-definition, easy-to-understand live scanning sonar pictures of the structure, bait, and fish swimming underneath and around your vessel.

Garmin claims that with some practice, we may be able to identify species from the images.

In addition to the LiveScope Forward and LiveScope Down modes, the LiveScope transducer may be used with either a transom or trolling motor.

Using the Panoptix Livescope forward-looking sonar is an excellent way to scout and fish out in front of the ship. Even when the boat is stationary, you can see structure and fish in great detail up to a distance of around 200 feet.

At a distance of 200 feet from the transducer, Panoptix LiveScope Down provides us with live scanning sonar pictures of underwater structures and moving fish in incredible detail.

#3 OneHelmTM | Full control of systems

On the 8612xsv screen, the OneHelm system manages all onboard functions, including digital switching, illumination, stabilization, and more.

These are an overview of a third-party system that has been included in the device:

  • Victron Energy: You can see the status of the battery, charger, inverter, and systems
  • Yacht Controller: It is one of wireless remote controls for navigating, docking, anchoring, and docking the yacht
  • Maretron: It is a digital power distribution system. It has DC load modules with 12 or 16 programmable channels.
  • PowerPlex: Switching and automation for lights, air-conditioning, and pumps onboard.
  • Quick Spa: Control battery use, chargers, thrusters, docks, and water heaters.
  • Scheiber: Control lights, cooling, heating, generators, and tank monitors.
  • GROCO®: raw water filters, fittings, heat exchangers and pumps, toilets, and sanitation.
  • HP Watermakers: Water purification systems that are fully automated.
  • Lumitec: LED lighting for utility and navigation.

You can see the updated list of 3rd party systems included in Garmin OneHelm™.

#4 Mapping and Charts

BlueChart g3 coastal cartography and LakeVü g3 interior mapping with Navionics data are preloaded on the 8600 series’ charts and maps, ensuring that they are very comprehensive, clear, and concise.

Two expandable memory card ports on the device make it simple to upgrade charts to BlueChart® g3 Vision or LakeVü g3 Ultra. With the update, you will be able to measure dynamic lake level easily.

Auto Guidance

A proposed route to a specific location is shown using Garmin’s Auto Guidance technology. This route depends on the information you provide into the device, such as your position and vertical graphs.

1′ contours

For better fishing charts and more detailed wetlands, canals, and port layouts, 1′ contours give a more realistic view of the bottom structure.

Depth Range Shading

Color-coded Depth Range Shading charts show up to ten depth ranges at a time in high-resolution.

Shallow Water Shading in BlueChart g3

It’s possible to employ shallow water shading to get a clear image of the waters you should avoid depending on your own personal draft.

#5 Inland maps from LakeVü g3 inland

You will have good map drawing coverage and superior clarity with integrated Garmin and Navionics® material. There are more than 17,000 lakes that will be covered with up to 1′ contours.

#6 Garmin Quickdraw™ Contours

Instantly draws HD maps of any body of water with 1′ contours and depth labels while you fish. When Quickdraw Contours collects data, the vessel symbol is surrounded by a colorful circle. This circle shows an estimated area that is covered by each pass.

You have complete control over the maps, so make them precisely what you want. Sharing maps with others in the QuickDraw Community is also an option.

#7 Active Captain App

The free ActiveCaptain app connects your 8612xsv to the Garmin community, allowing you to download new charts, maps, and more.

Access your maps and concise charts from any location, at any time, with the Garmin QuickdrawTM Contours Community.

Here are the features included in Active Captain:

  • OneChartTM gives you mobile access to all of your charts and maps.
  • When synced with the app, you’ll be able to see smart notifications, including calls and messages, on your phone’s display.
  • You can download alerts and software upgrades straight to your Garmin devices from the app.
  • Connect with other boaters on social media for the most up-to-date information about marinas and other relevant topics.
  • You can make, store and transfer routes and waypoints between the app and the Chartplotter.
  • Quickly upload and download the most recent Garmin QuickdrawTM Contours material from the internet.
  • Use your smartphone or tablet to access and control your Chartplotter.

#8 Garmin SailAssist

Special Sailing Features such as laylines, an upgraded wind rise, heading and course-over-ground lines, genuine wind data fields, and a tide/current/time slider are preloaded here.

Final Thoughts

If you are professional fishers, this internal antenna device is must-have. With little or no delay, map drawing, operating sonar, radar, cameras, video, and digital switching are all made simple by the processor’s ultra-fast speed.

Up to six different features, including HDMI video input, can be shown on the split-screen at the same time. For OneChart, smart alerts, trip planning, chart upgrades, and software update, you can download the ActiveCaptain mobile app and pair it with your GPSMAP 8612xsv device.