Which Is Better – LiveScope Plus Or LiveScope? (Key Differences Explained)
UPDATED 09 MAY 2023
by Robert Ceran
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Are you wondering if the new LiveScope Plus is as good as people say it is, and if it’s worth upgrading your existing LiveScope system to the new version?
In that case, it’s essential to understand what distinguishes LiveScope Plus from the original LiveScope.
For this article I tested the new LiveScope Plus system, and compared it side by side with the original LiveScope, to figure out what the differences are.
In this article I’ll walk you through the key differences between LiveScope Plus vs LiveScope, and will discuss whether it’s worth getting LiveScope Plus or not.
What is Garmin LiveScope Plus?
LiveScope Plus is the new and improved version of Garmin’s highly acclaimed LiveScope live sonar, released in February 2022.
The original LiveScope system came out in 2018, and has been the market leading live sonar ever since.
The new LiveScope Plus comes with an improved LiveScope LVS34 transducer, as well as a software update (which is required for it to work on compatible Garmin chartplotter units).
What is the difference between LiveScope Plus and LiveScope?
Based on my testing, I found that the main difference between LiveScope Plus and LiveScope is that LiveScope Plus has better target resolution and higher image quality compared to the original LiveScope.
This difference is mostly due to the new LVS34 transducer, which has improved sonar crystal technology compared to the original LVS32 transducer.
In addition to improved image quality and resolution, LiveScope Plus also comes with an improved mounting bracket that includes perspective mode straight out of the box, and is also very easy to adjust between all three viewing modes (forward, down, and perspective mode).
LiveScope vs LiveScope Plus – key specs compared
The table above compares the most important specifications of LiveScope vs LiveScope Plus.
Now let’s dive into the details, and look at each of these versions more closely.
Target resolution: Gamin claims that the new LiveScope Plus has 35% improved target resolution compared to the old LiveScope system, and based on my testing with LiveScope Plus on the water, this translates into extremely high levels of detail that are indeed better than the previous version.
Range: According to Garmin, the range of the new LiveScope Plus is 200 feet, which is the same as the range quoted for the old LiveScope.
In practice, however, my testing revealed that the effective range of both versions of LiveScope extends up to about 100 feet, and anything above that is not really useful for fishing.
Image quality: Garmin has worked hard on improving the image quality of the new LiveScope Plus, mainly by improving the transducer hardware.
This translates into a significant improvement in image quality, mainly in the form of less interference problems with LiveScope in shallow water (also known as the ghost tree effect).
During my testing, even when I did get a ghost tree with LiveScope Plus when fishing in shallow water, this didn’t result in a blind spot, and I could still see my lure even when it crossed the ghost tree.
Also, in addition to reduced interference, the new LiveScope Plus comes with image stabilization, which I discovered can improve image quality in choppy water.
Beamwidth: Both versions of LiveScope come with the same beamwidth of 135 x 20 degrees, and are identical in this regard.
Size: The LVS34 transducer of LiveScope Plus is clearly larger than the LVS32 transducer of the original LiveScope system.
With a weight of 2.25 lbs, the LVS34 transducer is 18% heavier than the LVS32. Also, measuring 6.4” by 3.1” by 1.9”, it’s clearly larger than the LVS32, which measures 5.37” by 3.8” by 1.75”.
The bigger size of the LVS34 transducer is due to the significant changes that Garmin made to the arrays of transducer crystals inside the transducer, which are the main reason for the improved resolution and image quality of the new LiveScope Plus.
Perspective mode: While the original LiveScope System did not come with a perspective mode mount, the new LiveScope Plus comes with a mount that can be adjusted to provide perspective view.
Perspective mode is essential if you want to use LiveScope in shallow water, but not so much in deep water.
Also, the trolling motor mount of the LiveScope Plus is a lot more user friendly than the mount of the old LiveScope, since it allows for mounting on either side of the trolling motor shaft, and can be quickly adjusted to change between down, forward, or perspective mode.
Compatibility: The biggest difference between LiveScope Plus vs LiveScope in terms of compatibility is that the new LiveScope Plus is not compatible with Echomap Plus units, while the original LiveScope is compatible with these units.
Also, you need to keep in mind that if you want to use LiveScope Plus on your existing Garmin unit, you’ll have to upgrade the software of the display unit to version 19.1.0 or later.
Black box: Both LiveScope Plus and LiveScope require the GLS 10 sonar module (also known as the black box) in order to function.
That means if you already have a regular LiveScope setup, you could just swap out the LVS32 transducer with the new LVS34 transducer in order to upgrade to LiveScope plus.
Pricing: Retailing at around $1700, the new LiveScope Plus is 200 dollars more expensive than the original LiveScope System, which retails at $1500.
However, you need to keep in mind that LiveScope Plus comes with a perspective mode mount included, which would cost you an extra 100 dollars if you get the original LiveScope system.
In other words, the new LiveScope Plus is about hundred dollars more expensive than the original version, all things considered.
What transducer comes with LiveScope Plus?
LiveScope Plus comes with the LVS34 transducer, which is a new and improved version of the LVS32 transducer, and accounts for most of the improvements that you get with the new LiveScope Plus system.
LVS32 vs LVS34 transducer
The main difference between the LVS32 and LVS34 transducer is that the LVS34 is significantly bigger, which is due to the significant changes that Garmin made to the transducer crystal arrays inside the transducer.
The improved sonar crystal arrays are the main reason for the higher resolution and image quality of the new LiveScope Plus.
Which is better – LiveScope Plus or LiveScope?
Based on my testing, LiveScope Plus is significantly better than the original LiveScope in 3 main regards: it comes with higher target resolution, it has less interference problems, and it provides image stabilization in rough water.
When I tested it, this translates into a noticeably better user experience when using LiveScope Plus on the water. It’s amazing to be able to see a school of crappie in high detail at a distance of 100 feet.
Finally, another advantage of LiveScope Plus is its mounting bracket, which comes with perspective mode out of the box, and is also much easier to adjust when switching between different view modes.
Is LiveScope Plus worth it?
LiveScope Plus is absolutely worth it if you don’t have LiveScope yet, but want to start using it. In that case LiveScope Plus is definitely the way to go.
However, if you already have the original LiveScope system on your boat, you don’t necessarily need to upgrade to the new LiveScope Plus.
While LiveScope Plus definitely provides you with a higher quality result, the original LiveScope is extremely good, and provides some of the best live sonar imaging you can get.
However, if you really want to upgrade your LiveScope, then the most cost effective option would be to buy the LVS34 transducer on its own, and use it to exchange the LVS32 on your current LiveScope setup.
What all do you need for LiveScope Plus?
You need the following components to run LiveScope Plus:
- LVS34 transducer
- GLS 10 black box
- Compatible Garmin chartplotter unit
- Trolling motor or pole mount
If you buy the LiveScope Plus system, this comes with an LVS34 transducer, black box, and mounting bracket included.
If you just buy the transducer on its own, it comes with the mounting bracket included.
This concludes our article comparing LiveScope Plus vs LiveScope side by side. Hopefully this will help you decide which one is better for your purposes. Tight lines and see you on the water!
Gear and methods used for testing
To get consistent testing results, I tested both transducers reviewed in this article on a MotorGuide Xi5 trolling motor mounted on the bow of a Ranger Z520R bass boat. I tested both transducers on the same day on Lake Tarpon, to make sure I could compare their performance side by side under similar conditions. Testing was performed by imaging schools of crappie, largemouth bass, and bluegill that were relating to structure in about 5 to 20 feet of water.