In November Humminbird introduced a new series of fishfinders – Helix 5. The units feature a brilliant, extra-wide, 480 x 800 resolution display that depicts 256-colors on a 5-inch screen complete with backlighting that ensures clear, crisp images in all types of lighting conditions day and night. The new display is essentially the main innovation in the Helix series, the transducers and the software are borrowed from the predecessors – 800 and 600 series. The familiar, large digits that provide water temperature, depth and vessel speed take up a lot of the display real estate. There there several different versions in the Helix 5 series ranging from the sonar-only unit to the side-imager with GPS.
Helix 5 SI GPS is essentially a scaled down version of the 7 inch 899 model. The main difference is the size of the display. The internal GPS seems to be slightly improved and it provides more accurate position readings compared to the older models. In addition to chart-plotting, the unit comes preloaded with UniMap cartography and a micro SD slot for additional map software or for the option of saving waypoints. The UniMap provides 3D charts for inland lakes, rivers and the contiguous U.S. coastline. Charts are displayed in detailed, color topography. The unit itself has storage capacity for up to 2,500 waypoints or 45 specific routes. The Helix 5 GPS is also compatible with AutoChart, AutoChart Pro, HotMap, LakeMaster and Navionics Gold.
Helix 5 requires 10 to 20 volts DC. The unit turns this juice into an average of 500 watts of sonar power with peak-to-peak output of 4,000 watts. The 2D sonar penetrates as far as 1,500 feet down by sending out a 200 kHz sonar wave in a 20 degree cone shape. Using this narrow beam, the width of the image will be just one-third the depth being reached. For example, an image showing the terrain at a 24 feet depth will only cover eight feet. The unit also allows 2D sonar with an 83 kHz beam that encompasses 60 degrees. This mode permits an image that’s as wide as it is deep. The trade-off is that it creates a lower-resolution view. It’s possible to run both frequencies simultaneously for better results. Additionally, the Quadrabeam Plus feature offers a full 90-degree area of coverage. Helix 5 also provides down imaging and side imaging high frequency sonar. Using side image, it provides a side-to-side, 180-degree perspective of the sub-aquatic terrain up to 480 feet in width on either side of the boat at the maximum depth of 100 feet. This is accomplished with dual sonar pulses operating at 455 kHz.
The adjustable SwitchFire Sonar comes with Clear and Max Modes. Use Clear when searching for bait, school and game fish. Clear mode produces clearer images while filtering weaker signals, debris and silt disturbances. Max mode works for seeing bait and game fish, zoo plank populations, natural and man-made structures and thermoclines. Using this feature, anglers also have the chance to view jig action onscreen. Switchfire also provides color-coding to show which objects are closest to the boat. For instance, near-by items would appear orange while distant items would be colored blue. This feature has the option of changing the color scheme to fit different situations like nighttime or overcast days.
The Helix 5 overall measures 7.55″W x 6.64″H x 3.3″D. The transducer has the standard 200/83/455 kHz frequencies. Head unit mounting options include in-dash or gimbal mount. User-friendly buttons on the face of the unit provide up/down, right/left viewing, zoom-in and zoom-out functions, goto, mark, menu and exit options. The unit comes with a power cord, the mounting bracket, a transom mount transducer and the owner’s manual.
|Lowrance Elite-5 HDI||Garmin echoMap 50dv||Humminbird Helix 5 SI GPS|
|Screen Size||5 in||5 in||5 in|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 480 pixels||640 x 480 pixels||800 x 480 pixels|
|Display Type||256 Color TFT||Color VGA||256 Color TFT|
|Imaging||2D and Down Imaging||2D and Down Imaging||2D, Down Imaging and Side Imaging|
|Transducer Type||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor|
|Transmit Power||250W RMS, 30,000W Peak to Peak||500W RMS|
|500W RMS, 4000W Peak to Peak|
|Sonar Frequency||(50/200 kHz or 83/200 kHz) 2D|
455/800 kHz Down Scan
|50/77/200 kHz, DownVu||200/83 kHz 2D|
455 kHz Down Imaging and Side Imaging
|Maximum Depth||1000 ft/2500 ft 2D|
300 ft Down Scan
|2,300 ft @ 77 kHz freshwater|
1,100 ft @ 77 kHz saltwater
|1500 ft 2D|
100 ft Side Imaging
|GPS Antenna Type||Internal||Internal||Internal|