I agree with your assessment in deep water with down mode. I, however, use forward mode almost exclusively to ice fish, even when I've got fish below me. You can adjust how far "backwards" it to see more of what's below you, but most importantly to me forward mode allows me to see where the school is moving with a turn of the pole. In forward mode there is a SIGNIFICANT difference in target separation and how far away you can see fish. Side by side many times with a 32 and it was a hands-down win for the 34.Here is my 2 cents....I have been in the boat running both the 32 (mine) and the 34 (not mine) at the same time. In depths up to 60ft for walleye, there is a maybe a little bit of a difference in the down view between the two (the 34 is a little clearer). Out on Ft Peck fishing lakers, the 34 kicked my 32's butt last summer in 90 to 120 feet in the down view option. On the ice out there for lakers, there really was no difference but we were a lot shallower. Here is where I saw the biggest difference between the two...in perspective mode this spring pitching jigs for walleyes, the 34 was way more detailed than my 32. I honestly have not used either in forward view very much, so I cant comment on that, but based on the difference in perspective, I would anticipate the forward to be better. These observations were made side by side in the same boat at the same time. If you are just buying mainly for ice fishing, then the 32 is everything you would need....if you are going to try and use it to pick out fish and cast/target them or fish deep water for lakers or other fish, I would look at the 34.