Garmin Striker Vivid 5CV Review

Garmin’s Striker Vivid 5CV is a user-friendly 5-inch fish finder equipped with advanced sonar technology. 

It features a 5-inch color display that offers clear visibility under various lighting conditions, enhanced by the Vivid color palettes that aid in distinguishing underwater objects. 

The fish finder incorporates high-frequency CHIRP sonar for detailed imagery and improved target separation, along with Garmin’s ClearVü scanning sonar for near-photographic images of structures beneath the boat.

The unit also includes a built-in GPS for basic navigational functions, allowing anglers to mark waypoints, track their routes, and view their boat’s speed. 

The Striker Vivid 5CV is available in an ice fishing bundle, designed specifically for ice anglers The bundle is intended to provide anglers with a portable, all-in-one solution for ice fishing. 

Key Specifications:

Display Size5 inches
Resolution800 x 480
Sonar TechnologyCHIRP Sonar, ClearVu
TransducerGT20 Or GT8HW-IF for Ice
Frequencies50/77/200/455/800 kHz
Waterproof RatingIPX7
Price (MSRP)$319.99 USD


  • High-Quality Sonar: Features CHIRP and ClearVü sonar for detailed and clear underwater imaging.
  • Vivid Sonar Color Palettes: Offers multiple color options for enhanced visibility and differentiation of objects.
  • Built-In GPS: Includes basic GPS functionality for waypoint marking and navigation.
  • Good Screen Size: 5-inch display provides clear visibility.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Easy to navigate menus and settings.
  • Portable and Versatile: Suitable for various fishing environments, including ice fishing with the specific bundle.


  • Limited Mapping Capabilities: Lacks advanced chartplotting and detailed mapping features.
  • No Networking Capabilities: Cannot share data with other devices or integrate with more advanced marine systems.
  • Limited Depth on ClearVü: ClearVü sonar has a relatively shallower depth capability compared to some competitors.

Display and Interface

The Garmin Striker Vivid 5CV offers a high-quality display, especially considering its position in the mid-range segment of fish finders. While it may not have the advanced features of higher-end models (like touchscreen capability or larger screens), its display quality is very good for its price range and target market. It provides clear, detailed, and easily readable information, which is essential for effective fish finding and navigation.

striker vivid 5cv display unit

Here are some aspects of its display and interface:

  • Screen Size and Resolution: The Striker Vivid 5CV features a 5-inch diagonal display, which is a comfortable size for easy viewing. The resolution is sufficiently high to provide clear and detailed images, making it easier to interpret sonar readings and navigate menus.
  • Color Palettes: One of the standout features of the Striker Vivid series is the range of color palettes available. This allows users to select the color scheme that works best for different water conditions and personal preferences, enhancing the visibility and interpretability of sonar data.
  • Sunlight Readability: The display is designed to be readable in bright sunlight, a crucial feature for outdoor use. Users generally report good visibility even in direct sunlight.
  • User Interface: The display is complemented by an intuitive keypad user interface, making it easy to navigate through various features and settings.

Striker Vivid 5cv Transducer

Striker Vivid 5CV comes with Garmin’s GT20-TM transducer, which is a key component contributing to the device’s effective sonar performance.

gt20 transducer

Here’s an overview of GT20-TM features and capabilities:

  • Dual Sonar Support: The GT20-TM is capable of supporting both traditional CHIRP sonar and Garmin’s ClearVü scanning sonar. The traditional CHIRP sonar offers excellent target separation and clear fish arches, while the ClearVü provides a nearly photographic image of structures beneath the boat.
  • Frequency Range: For traditional CHIRP sonar, the GT20-TM operates at 77/200 kHz. For ClearVü scanning sonar, it uses higher frequencies of 455/800 kHz. This range of frequencies allows for versatile use in different water conditions and for various fishing applications.
  • Depth Performance: The transducer is capable of reaching significant depths. It can deliver traditional sonar readings up to 1,900 feet in freshwater and ClearVü readings up to 750 feet, making it suitable for both shallow and deeper water fishing.
  • Water Temperature Sensor: The GT20-TM includes an integrated sensor that measures water temperature, which can be crucial for locating fish as different species prefer different temperature ranges.
  • Mounting Options: The GT20-TM transducer is designed for flexibility in installation, with options for transom mounting (most common for small to medium boats), trolling motor mounting, and even in-hull mounting for certain boat types.
  • Durability and Build Quality: Designed for the marine environment, the GT20 is robust and built to withstand regular exposure to water and the rigors of fishing activities.
  • Enhanced Imaging: The combination of CHIRP and ClearVü technologies in the GT20 transducer ensures detailed and accurate imaging, crucial for successful fishing expeditions.

Sonar Performance

The sonar performance of the Garmin Striker Vivid 5CV is well-regarded. It lacks some of the advanced sonar features like side imaging, but its performance in terms of CHIRP and Down Imaging is good for its price range. It is well-suited for anglers who need reliable sonar capabilities without the need for more advanced, and often more expensive, features.

striker vivid 5cv chirp and clearvu sonar in split screen
Striker Vivid 5cv CHIRP and ClearVu sonar in split-screen view

Here are some key aspects of its sonar performance:

  • CHIRP Sonar: The Striker Vivid 5CV utilizes CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse) sonar technology, which sends a continuous sweep of frequencies, providing better target separation, clearer fish arches, and a more detailed representation of underwater structures compared to traditional single-frequency sonar.
  • ClearVü Scanning Sonar: The device includes Garmin’s ClearVü scanning sonar, which offers near-photographic images of what is beneath the boat. This feature is particularly praised for its ability to reveal the detailed structure of the underwater environment, enhancing the angler’s understanding of the fishing area.
  • Deep and Shallow Water Suitability: The Striker Vivid 5CV is capable of reaching considerable depths, making it versatile for various fishing environments, from shallow freshwater to deeper coastal areas.
  • Sonar History Rewind: This feature allows users to scroll back through sonar images to review spots they have passed over, which can be useful for marking waypoints or revisiting promising fishing spots.
  • Multiple Frequency Options: The ability to select different frequencies for the sonar allows anglers to optimize the device for different water conditions and target species.
  • Split-Screen View: Users can view different sonar modes simultaneously (like traditional and ClearVü) on a split screen, providing a comprehensive underwater view.

Ice Fishing Bundle

The Ice Fishing Bundle for the Striker Vivid 5CV is specifically designed to enhance the usability of the Striker Vivid 5CV fishfinder for ice fishing. This bundle includes several components and features tailored to the unique demands of ice fishing. Here’s an overview:

  • Portable Kit: The bundle typically includes a portable carrying case that allows for easy transport and use on the ice. This case often houses the fishfinder and its components, providing protection against the cold and elements.
  • GT8HW-IF Transducer: Instead of the regular GT20 transducer, the ice fishing bundle usually comes with a GT8HW-IF transducer. This transducer is designed for ice fishing and provides clear, high wide CHIRP sonar images with excellent target separation.
  • Battery and Charger: A rechargeable battery and charger are included, which are essential for ice fishing since access to power sources is limited. The battery is typically designed to last for a reasonable duration to support a day of fishing.
  • Float for Transducer: The bundle includes a float for the transducer, which is crucial for ice fishing as it allows the transducer to be suspended in the drilled ice hole.
  • Built-in Flasher: The Striker Vivid 5CV has a built-in flasher mode, ideal for ice fishing. It gives a real-time depiction of fish passing through the transducer’s sonar beam, similar to traditional ice fishing flashers.
  • Rugged Design: The components are designed to withstand the harsh, cold conditions often encountered during ice fishing.
  • Ease of Use: The setup is designed to be easy to use, even with gloves on, which is important in the cold environments of ice fishing.

The Ice Fishing Bundle for the Garmin Striker Vivid 5CV turns the fishfinder into a versatile tool not just for open water fishing but also for the ice fishing season, offering anglers a significant advantage in locating and catching fish under the ice.


The Garmin Striker Vivid 5CV offers basic mapping capabilities, primarily focused on aiding navigation and marking locations rather than providing detailed chart plotting. Here are the key aspects of its mapping features:

  • Waypoint Marking: The Striker Vivid 5CV allows users to mark waypoints. This is useful for noting fishing hotspots, docks, hazards, or other points of interest on the water. It helps anglers to navigate back to these spots easily.
  • GPS Navigation: Equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS, the device enables users to see their boat’s speed and track their position. While it does not offer advanced navigation features like detailed maps or chart plotting, it is sufficient for basic navigation tasks.
  • Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software: This feature allows users to create and store maps with 1-foot contours. You can map the waters as you fish, creating personalized fishing maps with detailed contours.
  • Track Plotting: The Striker Vivid 5CV can record the boat’s path over the water, allowing you to view your track and retrace your route if necessary.
  • Basic Display: The mapping display is basic, showing your location and tracks. It does not provide detailed cartographic data like depth contours or points of interest found in more advanced chartplotters.
  • No Preloaded Maps or Chartplotting: Unlike higher-end models, the Striker Vivid 5CV does not come with preloaded maps or support for advanced chartplotting software. Its mapping capability is primarily for creating your own maps and marking waypoints.

In summary, while the Striker Vivid 5CV does not offer the advanced mapping and chartplotting capabilities found in higher-end devices, its built-in GPS and Quickdraw Contours feature provide useful navigation and mapping functions for anglers. These features are sufficient for basic navigation, marking spots, and creating simple custom fishing maps.


How to install Striker Vivid 5CV?

Installing the Garmin Striker Vivid 5CV involves several key steps, from installing the transducer to fish finder display mounting. Here’s a general overview of the installation process:

1. Choose Transducer Location: Decide where to mount the transducer. Common options include the transom (rear of the boat), trolling motor, or through the hull. The location should be in constant contact with water and away from propeller turbulence.

2. Mount the Transducer:

  • Transom Mount: Attach the transducer bracket to the transom at a location that’s submerged in water. Adjust the angle as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Trolling Motor Mount: Use a trolling motor mounting kit to attach the transducer to the motor.
  • Thru-Hull Mount: For fiberglass hulls, a thru-hull mount can be used. This involves drilling a hole in the hull and should be done with caution to ensure the boat’s integrity.

3. Run the Transducer Cable: Route the transducer cable to the location where you’ll install the fishfinder display. Avoid running the cable close to electrical wiring to prevent interference.

4. Install the Display Unit:

  • Choose a location for the display unit that’s easily visible and accessible.
  • Use the included mounting bracket or opt for a flush mount, depending on your preference and the layout of your boat.
  • Mark and drill holes for the mounting bracket, then secure the bracket in place.
  • If you’re flush mounting, cut the appropriate size hole in the console and secure the unit.

5. Connect the Transducer to the Display Unit: Plug the transducer cable into the back of the display unit. Ensure the connection is secure.

6. Connect to Power:

  • The Striker Vivid 5CV typically requires a 12V power source.
  • Connect the power cable to a battery or fuse box. The red wire is for power (+), and the black wire is for ground (-).
  • If additional wiring (like a fuse or switch) is needed, install according to the boat’s electrical system.

7. Test the Setup: Power on the device to ensure the transducer and display are functioning correctly. You might want to test this in water for accuracy.

8. Secure All Cables: Use cable ties or clips to secure the transducer and power cables along their route to prevent damage and keep the installation tidy.

How to use Striker Vivid 5CV?

Using the Garmin Striker Vivid 5CV involves a few straightforward steps:

  1. Power On: Turn on the device by pressing the power button. If it’s your first time using it, you might go through a basic setup process like selecting language and units (metric or imperial).
  2. Select Sonar Mode: The Striker Vivid 5CV offers various sonar views, including traditional CHIRP sonar and ClearVü scanning sonar. Choose the mode that best suits your fishing style. For a comprehensive view, you can select a split-screen mode to see multiple sonar types simultaneously.
  3. Adjust Sonar Settings: You can fine-tune the sonar settings like range, gain, and frequency to optimize the sonar images according to the depth of water and the type of fish you are targeting.
  4. Mark Waypoints: Use the device’s GPS functionality to mark waypoints for significant locations such as fishing hotspots, docks, or navigational routes. This can be done easily by navigating to the desired location on the screen and pressing the waypoint button.
  5. Navigate: Utilize the GPS feature to navigate back to your saved waypoints. While the Striker Vivid 5CV doesn’t have advanced mapping capabilities, it’s useful for basic navigation and tracking your boat’s speed.
  6. View and Interpret Sonar Data: Learn to read the fish finder screen. This includes identifying fish arches, understanding bottom contours, and recognizing underwater structures.
  7. Customize Display: You can adjust the display settings, including the color scheme and brightness, to suit different lighting conditions and personal preferences.
  8. Use Quickdraw Contours: If you want to create custom fishing maps, use the Quickdraw Contours feature to map the waters as you fish.