In this post, we’re going to compare another two fish finder and chartplotter units which are similar in specs and price range. These are the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52cv (010-01813-02) and the Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 (410220-1). They both offer CHIRP dual-frequency sonar and down scanning sonar, and come with similar navigation features.
Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52cv – Short Description
This unit offers dual-frequency CHIRP 2D traditional broadband sonar and ClearVü sonar which also uses CHIRP. It’s capable of 50/77/200 kHz frequencies for 2D sonar and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü but comes with the CV20-TM transducer, which can operate in a range of only 77/200 kHz for 2D and 455/800 kHz for ClearVü. When using CHIRP mode with this transducer you will benefit from Mid Range CHIRP and High Range CHIRP for its 2D sonar, and a CHIRP modulation between 435-475 kHz and 800-840 kHz for ClearVü. In order to use Low CHIRP, you will need a CHIRP transducer capable of scanning in a range of 50 kHz.
The echoMAP CHIRP 52cv is equipped with a fast GPS internal GPS. It offers waypoints, tracks, and routes functions. As a reference chart base for navigation, it has the Worldwide Basemaps which cover oceans, major streams, rivers and small lakes, railroads, political boundaries, highways, and other information. Although they don’t offer the detail of premium charts, the information provided by them is not bad.
Along with the Worldwide base charts, this Garmin fish finder also has the Quickdraw Contours feature. This allows you to reveal the contours of the lake where you are fishing, by using the 2D sonar and GPS data.
The unit is keypad operated; it does not have a responsive display, like the Simrad GO5 XSE, for example. It has a 5″ display, WQVGA color with a pixel matrix of 480H x 480V, with LED backlight. It offers NMEA 0183 support… Read Full Review.
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 – Short Description
The HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 (410220-1) is a Humminbird fish finder and chartplotter released in 2017. It’s actually an improved version of the HELIX 5 DI GPS (409620-1). As its name suggests, it’s a CHIRP unit, while the older HELIX 5 DI GPS unit does not have CHIRP sonar technology.
This is one of the Humminbird fish finders which come with the XNT 9 DI T transom and temperature capable transducer. It has DualBeam Plus sonar and Down Imaging sonar technology and can use CHIRP for both these sonar types. The base operating frequencies are 200/455 kHz for DualBeam Plus, while for Down Imaging it can also use two frequencies, these being 455/800 kHz. The CHIRP frequency intervals used by this fish finder system are 175-225 kHz, 420-520 kHz, and 790-850 kHz.
When it comes to navigation and charts, the HELIX 410220-1 is equipped with an internal precision GPS. Initially, the unit’s charts were the basic Humminbird UniMap charts. But one of the latest software updates has upgraded the UniMap chart database to the Humminbird basemaps, which is considerably superior. The latest released units are already pre-loaded with the Humminbird Basemap database; the older units will require a software update that can easily be done.
This Humminbird unit also has the AutoChart Live feature which allows you to reveal and record the depth contours of the lake or body of water where you’re fishing… Read Full Review.
Operating frequencies. The Humminbird Down Imaging and Garmin ClearVü are pretty much the same. With the included transducers, they can use 455/800 kHz, and a CHIRP pulse modulation of 420-520 kHz and 790-850 kHz for Humminbird, and 435-475 kHz and 800-840 kHz for Garmin.
Their 2D sonar uses different frequency ranges, though. The Humminbird unit uses 200/455 kHz, while the Garmin unit uses 77/200 kHz. Due to this fact, the Garmin system offers better depth capabilities. However, the Humminbird unit offers sharper images.
Sonar beam coverage. The Humminbird XNT 9 DI T has narrow beams for its 2D sonar mode, of 16°/28°. However, for Down Imaging, the beams are fairly wide, of 75°/45°. The Garmin CV20-TM transducer uses 15°/45° beams for 2D and 53°/29° for ClearVü. So, as a small conclusion here, the Garmin system offers better overall coverage for its 2D sonar, while the Humminbird system has better overall coverage for Down Imaging.
Depth capability. Since the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52cv can scan at 77 kHz with the included transducer, its max. depth capabilities can reach 1,900 ft (579 m), while the Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 only offers a depth capability of 600 ft (183 m) for its 2D sonar. For ClearVü, the Garmin’s system depth capability is 750 ft (228 m), while the Humminbird unit offers a depth capability of 350 ft (106 m) for Down Imaging.
SwitchFire. This is a feature specific to Humminbird units with DualBeam Plus sonar. It’s actually a quick filter that allows you to quickly swap between a 2D image with all the sonar data on the display and a 2D image with a minimum of clutter which helps you focus on the bigger targets.
Charts. The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 52cv comes with Worldwide Basemaps, covering the United States, Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Central, and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania. Their coverage includes oceans, major streams, rivers, small lakes, political boundaries, railroads, highways, major interstates, principal cities and smaller cities.
The Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 comes with the Humminbird Basemaps which are basically U.S. charts. They cover more than 10,000 U.S. lakes, their detail including depth contours, nav-aids, and various POI. They also provide U.S. coastal coverage, but as a general idea, they’re not worldwide maps.
Chart compatibility. The HELIX unit can be upgraded with LakeMaster, LakeMaster PLUS, Navionics+, Navionics Platinum+ charts, and SmartStrike charts. The Garmin unit cannot use Navionics card chips, but its charts can also be upgraded to BlueChart g2 HD, BlueChart g2 Vision, LakeVü HD or LakeVü HD Ultra.
Quickdraw Contours vs AutoChart Live. These features serve a similar purpose. They allow you to map your lake, revealing its depth contours. They function basically the same. Therefore, the images below should speak better with regards to the differences between them.
Unit display. The Garmin unit features a square display layout, with a pixel resolution of 480H x 480V. On the other hand, the Humminbird unit has a pixel resolution of 800H x 480V. The diagonal is the same, 5″ for both units. However, due to the rectangular shape, the Humminbird unit offers a better view of side by side split-screen images.
Side by Side Comparison
[table id=158 /]
Price & Final Conclusions
These two fish finder and chartplotter systems offer a similar range of features. However, the Garmin unit offers better depth capabilities and worldwide charts, while the Humminbird unit offers better charts for the U.S. inland and coastal waters and a richer pixel matrix. Their price is also similar, ranging between $350 and $400 depending on the retailer.