Humminbird has recently released the Helix 7 series. The technology is a step up from the 5 series and provides anglers with brighter, clearer, faster and bigger images. The Helix 7 is appropriate for fresh or salt water use to depths ranging from 150 to 1,500 feet. The user-friendly, clearly marked buttons and ready out of the box format is designed to accommodate all anglers whether you have experience operating the devices or you are a complete novice to the concept.
Helix 7 Key Features
While the new Humminbirds have a lot in common with their Helix 5 predecessors, there are some differences. The Helix 7 SI GPS comes equipped with down-imaging, side-imaging and SwitchFire sonar technology. The larger seven-inch screen is ideal when using split-screen views of the water depths. A single card slot accepts your choice of optional AutoChart®, AutoChart Pro®, and Navionics® Gold/HotMaps cartography.
Bonded Glass Display
The Helix 7 features the larger display in 800×480 pixel resolution seen in 256 colors and equipped with LED backlighting. While the Helix 5 display had a plastic lens, the Helix 7 has a bonded glass cover, which enhances overall protection while providing a clearer image. The view is also not hampered by direct sunlight. The landscape design of the screen also enables anglers to take full advantage of split-screen images, which is a vast improvement compared to attempting to use the function on a limited square screen.
The Helix 7 has an easy, sturdy gimbal mounting bracket that is an improvement on the quick mount/quick disconnect feature that is available on previous series. The device is also easily installed in-dash if desired. The overall measurements of the unit are 10.54″w x 5.8″h x 3.68″d.
Equipped with double the board memory, the Helix 7 creates maps and refreshes the screen faster. This improvement ensures that maps continue displaying real time images while boats cruise through the water without having to deal with annoying screen lag. The sonar returns on the new series are also faster and more efficient than what is provided by the Helix 5 series, which also adds to the clarity and continuity of the image.
The innovative technology offers a 180 degree side-to-side aspect on what lies beneath the water’s surface. This type of imagery might be compared to what one might see if flying overhead in a plane. However, the images are presented in greater subsurface, three-dimensional, monochromatic detail. Through the use of the XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer, a thin sonar beam emitted at 455kHz sweeps outward 240 feet on either side of the boat and receives returning pings. As the boat moves forward, the sonar detects each spatial change. The image displayed is then a compilation of signals that offer a comprehensive view of the lake bottom. The technology also enables the user to magnify certain areas of the screen and mark specific GPS locations directly on the screen. The images reveal contour changes and fish location in such great detail that some compare the view to a live camera feed. The image produced is also not dependent on the clarity of the water.
Down-imaging technology provides a view of the underwater environment that might be compared to entering the water’s edge via scuba gear and taking in the sights below. The images are created via sonar waves emitted at 455kHz in thin slices. When the waves hit solid objects they return to the transducer at various times. The return signals then transform into a visible three-dimensional, monochromatic image in photographic clarity in real time. The images include solid terrain features, vegetation and the location of fish. Anglers also have the opportunity to visualize their fishing line and lures.
At either 83 or 200kHz, the sonar emits impulses that create a two-dimensional multi-colored display that includes water depth, temperature and turbulence read-outs. In clear mode, the signals are void of noise that often occurs in agitated or shallow water. The distortions are caused by particles or other water column clutter. Max mode provides a glimpse of thermoclines and water currents in addition to terrain features, fish representations and lure presentations.
The Helix 7 cannot be connected to other Humminbird units. Another drawback is the fact that Helix 7 doesn’t provide 800 kHz frequency for down-imaging and side-imaging. But overall, for the economical price, the device is well worth the money. Similarly equipped units from other manufacturers cost hundreds more. If you’re looking for a mid-range fishfinder and you don’t need networking, Humminbird Helix 7 SI GPS should be at the top of your list.
|Garmin echoMap 73sv||Humminbird Helix 7 SI GPS||Garmin Striker 7sv|
|Screen Size||7 in||7 in||7 in|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 800 pixels||480 x 800 pixels||480 x 800 pixels|
|Display Type||WVGA display||256Colors TFT display||WVGA color|
|Imaging||2D, Down Imaging, Side Imaging||2D, Down Imaging, Side Imaging||2D, Down Imaging, Side Imaging|
|Transducer Type||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor|
|Transmit Power||500 W (RMS) |
4,000 W (peak to peak)
|500 W (RMS)|
|Sonar Frequency||77/200 kHz|
50/200 kHz available with the 74sv model
|83/200 kHz 2D|
455 kHz Side Imaging and Down Imaging
|Traditional: 50/77/200 kHz|
CHIRP (mid and high)
DownVü: 260/455/800 kHz
SideVü: 260/455/800 kHz
|Maximum Depth|| 2,300 ft at 77 kHz freshwater|
1,100 ft at 77 kHz, saltwater
|1500 ft 2D|
100 ft Side Imaging
|2,300 ft freshwater|
1,100 ft saltwater
|GPS Antenna Type||Internal||Internal||Internal|
|Plot Trails||50,000 points; 50 saved tracks||50 w/20,000 points each||N/A|
|Preloaded Maps||LakeVu HD||Humminbird ContourXD||N/A|