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I am looking at getting a sonar for ice-fishing and I have been looking at the hand-held units, partially because they are compact and convenient (they look like a flashlight), but mainly because they are in my price range. The two models I am considering are both right around $100: the Marcum LXi and the Polar Vision Hand-held. Both claim to read right through the ice, both have a fish alarm, and both claim to be waterproof. The Marcum has more power (2500 watts vs. 1000 watts) but it uses a non-standard lithium battery that I have not been able to tell whether or not it is rechargeable. They cost $10 so I am guessing they are disposable and you have to buy a replacement every time. They are supposed to be good for 20 hours of continuous operation but that would still be a pain to replace them so often. The Polar Vision uses 4 - AA batteries so it would not be a big deal.

Has anyone had any experience with either of these products, or something comparable? I am taking the whole family on a 3 day trip to Fish Lake later this month and I would like to get one before then to maximize my chances for success, particularly on a lake I am not familiar with.

Thanks guys.
 

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I have the Marcum and it has worked well. The batt. has lasted for 3 months in use at least twice a week. Worked in mexico in the salt water. Works on the ice with a little puddle of water. The alarm sounds when fish are under the cone, and flashes the depth of the fish. I have enjoyed the heck out of it. I ended up buyin a Aqua-View Showdown flasher for 120 bucks more than the Marcum so I can see the fish now.
 

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I have had a polar vision for several years, the one I have runs on 2 9v batteries, it does look like a blue flashlight. It works great for checking depth when ice fishing, it is supposed to beep when fish swim under it and sometimes it does, but I have seen fish swim by and no beeps. I usually put new batteries in it every year before ice fishing and it lasts all winter.
 
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