The Humminbird 386ci Combo Portable is a powerful internal GPS and sonar system designed for serious fishing enthusiasts. The easy-to-read color display screen measures 3.5″ diagonally and its battery holds a 7-hour charge; the unit’s impressive storage capacity accomodates up to 50 routes and 2,500 waypoints. The 386ci is waterproof, backlit and comes in a convenient soft-sided carrying case. Humminbird also offers an optional in-dash mount that keeps the unit stable and secure inside the boat. Used alone, the unit provides precise GPS service on land and on the water. Anglers eager for even more functionality may combine their Humminbird 386ci Combo Portable with the 385 Combo Fishfinder.
At the heart of Humminbird’s 386ci Combo Portable is switchfire sonar technology, a powerful and highly customizable imaging technology which goes beyond simple greyscale shape rendering to deliver two types of full-color maps. Furthermore, anglers may easily adjust their sonar displays quickly and efficiently, based on their current location and weather conditions. With only a few button presses, users can add or subtract map details such as water depth, temperature and clarity. Many avid anglers avoid using sonar in shallow waters because the images are tainted by underwater plants and agitated mud or sand. With switchfire sonar, however, this is no longer a problem. In water less than 9 feet deep, users must simply activate the “rough waters” setting, which provides crystal-clear images in turbulent aquatic environments.
The 386ci Combo Portable also offers incredibly detailed imaging in water depths greater than 9 feet. Anglers who activate the most detailed setting, called “max mode,” will get a clear picture of underwater structures and cover, thermoclines, deep water currents. Many species of fish also appear when this setting is activated. There are many other innovative and useful features as well; these include sonar recording (for later playback and analysis), screen snapshot capability, optional splitscreen viewing and TrueEcho technology.
The Humminbird 386ci Combo Portable has become extremely popular, and frequently shows up on lists of recommended fishing tools. Internet users praise the unit’s optional 3-D chart rendering, its highly customizable display options and its user-friendly interface. Even anglers who are initially nervous about using such a sophisticated piece of technology reveal that it only took them a few moments to get comfortable manipulating the 386ci. Reviewers who were already accustomed to portable GPS and sonar systems have also praised the interface and the ease with which they can modify their display to account for changes in weather, temperature and other relevant factors. The strong backlighting and large, clear type have made the 386ci a favorite among farsighted fishermen and anglers who prefer not to wear their glasses while fishing for fear of losing them.
Several user reviews confirm that the Humminbird 386ci Combo Portable is indeed waterproof, as the manufacturer promises. One sheepishly revealed that his “butterfingers dumped the unit in the drink” almost immediately after taking it out of its case for the first time. The unit wasn’t damaged at all, nor did the angler have to dry it out before using it.
|Humminbird PiranhaMax 196ci||Humminbird 386ci|
|Screen Size||3.5 in / 89 mm||3.5 in / 89 mm|
|Screen Resolution||320 x 240 pixels||320 x 240 pixels|
|Display Type||256 colors||256 colors TFT|
|Transducer Type||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor|
|Transmit Power||200W RMS|
|Sonar Frequency||200/455 kHz||83/200 kHz|
|Maximum Depth||600 ft||1500 ft 2D|
|GPS Antenna||16 Channel Internal||Internal|
|Plot Trails||0||50 w/20,000 points each|
|Card Slot(s)||N/A||1 MicroSD|
|Map Compatibility||N/A||Navionics Gold/HotMaps|