Simrad GO9 XSE Review-XSE or XSR? What is the Difference?

This is a review of the Simrad GO9 XSE.

I’m a former fishing guide and am still an avid angler. I’ve done the research on the GO9 XSE fish finder to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your needs.

Simrad GO9 is an elite group of fish finders that provide exceptional features. While the Simrad GO series does offer fantastic options, it does come at a price.

This series is the best Simrad fish finders available in their collection and isn’t going to be as user-friendly as an entry-level or beginner finder is. These fish finders are for the experienced, advanced angler. It offers features that could be daunting for newer anglers to set up.

This comprehensive Simrad GO9 XSE review will dig into the features and functionality of these Simrad fish finders. I will also touch on customer reviews, reliability, and any closing recommendations I may have.

Let’s jump in and get started!

Simrad GO9 XSE Reviewed

simrad go9 xse review

The GO9 comes in three models. They are the XSE and two types of XSR. The XSE is the high-end of the three, though they all offer great features. The XSR models are offered up at a lower price, which doesn’t mean they aren’t still packed with options. Find fish hiding in deep cover, discover new ledges and structures that your old finder couldn’t identify, and bring a whole new clarity to what’s happening beneath the surface with the Simrad GO9.

I’m going to break down the features of each of the models of the Simrad GO series, and you’ll be able to determine which one might be the best fit.

These finders are a step or two above the standard fish finders. They cost significantly more as well. The target for these finders is highly experienced, elite anglers. There are complex settings that a novice angler isn’t going to need on their first several trips to the lake.

Once experience merits the need for a higher-end fish finder, these are a great fit. Touchscreens, incredibly detailed sonar images, charting, and several other features help set these apart from the mid-range fish finders on the market.

Touchscreen Display

The GO9 provides anglers the advanced technology you need to remain competitive in tournaments and for professionals to keep your clients catching those once-in-a-lifetime fish. Each finder creates crisp, clear images on its incredibly detailed high-definition display screen.

The display screen of each model offers a multitouch display standard. A multitouch display works as the screen of a tablet. Swiping and finger pressure selects and flips between menus. Zooming is as simple as pinching the screen in or out.

The ability to adjust the placement of information on the display screen is also a huge plus. It’s going to be one of your most-used features. As soon as you figure out which options you like the most, you’ll be able to set them up on the screen however they’re most convenient for you to view.

Speaking of view, you can easily read the screen from several feet away. The resolution is incredible, and it does a great job of being visible in the sunlight.

The XSR models have 7” screens, while the XSE has a 9” display screen.

Bringing the underwater world to life and giving you the upper hand every time you’re on the water is what these finders excel at. Try one of them out and you’ll see how big a difference they can make. Don’t forget about the significant learning curve. The amount of tech that goes into these fish finders is truly impressive, but it also ratchets up the learning curve.


topographic map

The mapping of the Simrad GO9 fish finder is where the money comes into play. It’s time to decide how you plan to use the fish finder. If you tend to fish the same waters without traveling to new areas often, you may want to go with the XSR models. They are significantly cheaper, and that cost comes in the form of maps.

The XSE fish finder comes with Navionics, Insight maps, and C-Map. The XSRs come with C-Map cards. They all come with SD card slots so that you can upgrade map kits at any time. Map packs are pricey, and the difference in cost is obvious in the XSE and XSR models.

Does Simrad GO9 have CHIRP sonar?

Each Simrad GO model uses the same sonar system. The proprietary Simrad Structure scan HD imaging along with CHIRP sonar are standard inclusions on all three. You can opt for the upgraded Forward Scan tech if you upgrade the transducer to a compatible model. In doing so, you can run all three sonar types at once, which will give you an expansive view of the world beneath the surface.

The models all have an excellent targeting system that differentiates between fish and trash, which is particularly helpful for those of us who’ve been sidetracked trying to get a school of submerged beer cans to bite. The standard setup on each model is fantastic and will give you enough range to meet almost any hobby angler’s needs.


The Simrad GO7 fish finder series is a great option for those looking for a high-end line of fish finders. However, if you’d like to look for something else, here are some surefire alternatives to consider.

Lowrance HDS-12

The Lowrance HDS-12 is a fantastic alternative. It’s made a solid name for itself as the go-to offshore fish finder. It offers everything you’ll find with the Simrad GO9, but with a 12” screen. Its most significant setback is the cost. This fish finder is more expensive than the GO9 series. I like it because you can see your bait move in real-time on the screen. It’s that accurate.

Humminbird Helix 9 Chirp Fish Finder

The Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP sonar works as a fun alternative with a slightly bigger screen. This finder is for those tech junkies that want to set their entire boat up to run off their finder. If that’s you, then look no further. This finder integrates your Minn Kota and Cannon products right into its interface and lets you set trolling speeds from the touch screen.

Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Fish Finder

Lowrance Hook Reveal 5

The Hook Reveal 5 is an excellent unit that lets you scan in both 3d and 2d to get down super deep. Get down to 1000 feet in 2d and 300 feet in 3d.

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06/29/2022 06:28 am GMT

The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 is a perfect alternative for the GO9 XSE series. It has a beautiful 5” display and will scan to 1000 feet (304.8 m) in 2d. 3D will take you down 300 feet (91.44 m). It comes equipped with some great maps and performs as well as the XSE, just without the larger, crisper screen. Give it a try if you’re trying to save some cash.

The Verdict

The GO9 is reliable and offers the most advanced options as any other fish finder on the market. It outperforms most other finders on the market and will make that Humminbird you’ve had in your boat for the last 15 years feels like an 8-track player. Once you get over the learning curve, you’re going to find yourself amazed at what this thing can do. Then you’ll be surprised at how much more productive your fishing becomes.

Whether you want to upgrade the finder in your bass boat for the next competition, or you just want to catch that giant fish in your local lake, the Simrad GO9 is the finder for you. It simply outdoes others in the same price range, and because of that, I can’t see a reason not to get it unless you’re a novice angler. The learning curve might be a bit high for a novice, where the most important thing is consistency, not spending a small fortune for bells and whistles.

Get the XSE if you can afford it. If not, the XSR is a great finder to “settle” for. It still outdoes most others on the market and helps you locate fish more efficiently.

For more guidance on choosing your next fish finder, check out the pages below:

Eric Larson

Eric Larson

Hi, my name is Eric. I am a contributor for A Fellow Fisherman and a former charter captain who has been saltwater fishing since before I can remember. I grew up in New Jersey, fishing mostly the Delaware Bay and River, as well as many offshore charter trips. I have had an enormous passion for fishing my whole life, and am lucky to have done it as a profession. I am confident when it comes to telling people about the best techniques for catching fish, but am still open to a good debate.

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