The soft ware updates do just fix minor programming issues. Just like updates on phones and apps. All digital sonar does it. My 10 year old Lowrance units on my boat had updates on them in 2006 even. Of course I updated them at that time and then my unit would read the bottom just a digital depth reading. Promptly there after a new version of software came out to fix the glitch they had created. The updates are not meant to completely change the unit functions. DTRO is spot on it is a complete Chevy VS Ford deal here. I personally have owned an old Vex FL 8 still have it. At the time I upgraded to a flasher with a zoom I had an option of a Vexilar FL 18 and nearly bought it but this new company Marcum had just introduced a LX 3 and the adjust zoom caught my eye and it was slightly cheaper at the time. I figured what the heck I would give it a shot as it gave me a handful of more options for the money. That unit was awesome other than at the time Marcum had a bad run on transducers which probably could have shut them down before they got going. Instead their customer service at the time (2005) was awesome about it. They provided new transducers and fixed the problem at no cost. That same unit is still being used by one of my buddies. I then upgraded to an LX 5 as it had again some more features the super fine line and dual beam transducers were pretty cool. I still have this unit and regularly use it still. Vexilar came out with the FL 12 and 20 during this time period and the flat screens were pretty neat. But I had found that I used the adjustable zoom alot when I fished. So, I never change to one of them. Around 2010 the Hummingbirds were coming out and I got a Ice 55. I loved the unit's display and digital read out and auto depth features. I like that the Zoom wasn't a split screen but was inline however I didn't like that it didn't separate the targets as well as my older Marcum LX 5. Which was why last year I started looking again. The FLX 28 nearly got me. I had a buddy that had gotten one and I thought it looked pretty nice. Then I fished with a buddy that had gotten an LX7 the minute I saw that unit I knew I wanted one. I like the ability to customize it how I wanted if I wanted a flash or graph or vertical I could make this unit do it. All graphs can do this really. I like the fact I can have the history of what has happened with the graph as it scrolls past. I picked up an LX 6 as I was a little late in the game last year and the LX 7 were sold out. I sold the Humminbird to another friend who was looking for that unit. The thing about all the units I have had and ran with is not one of them allowed me to catch more fish more than the next. They all told me fish were there. Most everyone here will agree with that. I personally am waiting for a Marcum RT9 to show up at my door soon. Is it worth the money to me it is. It is all relative and a personal decision. With my job the majority of my time spent fishing involve frozen lakes not open water. I put my focus on equipment that gives me what I want. Obviously the RT9 isn't going to make me a better fisherman than I was with an FL 8 even though I would like to think it will haha. Whatever decision that you make it should be comfortable. If you want a great entry level unit and want to buy one for a lifetime the FL 8 will be hard to bet. But there are several other good options out there. I know this my 83 year old dad has no interest in fishing with anything other than two bobber lines. On a given weekend with him he will probably keep up just fine in the fish count. The biggest thing though with my flashers we don't stay put if we aren't seeing anything or if the fish seem turned off we move. That is the huge difference how I have fishing now compared to when I was a kid. Back then in December we took the house dropped it in a spot and we had days when fishing was good and days where nothing happened other than some minnow drown and then in Feb. we took the house off. Those days were still fun but they are sure more fun now with all the cool stuff we have to use.