Humminbird 959ci HD Combo
The Humminbird 959ci HD Combo actually puts a lot of focus on navigational capabilities than sonar. In other words, it’s quite an advanced marine GPS, with a wide array of navigation oriented features, but nonetheless, it also offers a basic, dual frequency sonar.
Along with the included features, this unit is also capable of various useful upgrades, such as advanced Navionics maps, autopilot via i-Pilot link, AIS and others.
- Screen: 8″ diagonal, 480V x 800H pixel resolution, color TFT with a 65,000 colors capacity and LED backlight
- Sonar: DualBeam Plus with SwitchFire
- Depth Capability: 1500 feet (457 m)
- Frequency and Coverage: 200 kHz / 20° and 83 kHz / 60°
- Transducer: Transom XNT 9 20 T
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10-20 VDC
- GPS: Internal, Precision, Speed
- Maps: ContourXD
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45, 2750, 50 (20,000 points each)
Apart from the core specifications of this GPS & fish finder combo mentioned above, there actually quite many aspects to be mentioned. First of all, head unit of the fish finder not only that offers a lot of display surface, it’s also IP67 waterproof, meaning that it’s dust tight and supports freshwater immersions up to 1 meter / 30 minutes. Needless to say, since it’s an HD display, you will benefit from high quality, bright color imaging, on a pretty wide 8-inch display.
The box includes a gimbal mounting system for this unit, but you can opt for an in-dash mounting system, in case you want a more compact navigational dashboard on your boat. The unit has a 5-port ethernet input, so you can share data between other Humminbird units. It also features a dual SD card slot, which is actually great, as you can have one SD card for superior maps, and a blank SD card to record sonar, or backup your routes and waypoints.
When it comes to navigation, this unit has a lot to offer. It features a 50-channels, 10Hz internal GPS antenna, with WAAS, which provides a quick lock and highly accurate positioning, with a 2.5 meters margin. For charts, it has the Humminbird ContourXD packs, an enhanced professional mapping pack, covering more than 3000 U.S. lakes. This mapping pack offers superior detail to Humminbird UniMap, present in the HELIX and 600 series.
A great navigational feature to have is the 3D view or the “Bird’s Eye View”. This gives you an above, 3D perspective of your boat, in relation to the land contour, for a much better understanding of your position. You can also shift the view via the control cursor, in order to oversee your current area.
The Humminbird 959ci HD Combo also offers the possibility to mark waypoints on your map, create routes between your waypoints, and of course record your course via the tracks option. The unit’s memory can store up to 2750 waypoints, 45 routes with up to 50 waypoints each, and 50 tracks with up to 20000 track points each. These features are great for fishing, as you can save your best fishing spots, spots to check later, or create routes between fishing spots, to diversify your fishing trip. All your routes, waypoints and trails can be saved on a blank SD card, so you can share them with your friends, or upload them into your PC to attach them to their sonar photos, or overlay on superior maps.
Fish Finding Features
To begin with, the 959ci HD Combo comes with the 200/83 kHz transducer. It’s actually the same, XNT 9 20 T transom transducer that comes most of the fish finders from Humminbird which don’t include SI or DI. This transducer has a built-in temperature probe which renders the unit capable to display water temperature. Along with that, the unit also has the Temperature Graph function, which allows you to monitor the water temperature variation. This can be an invaluable feature for fishing, as for certain species of fish even 1°C temperature variation can result in different feeding habits.
The unit offers DualBeam Plus sonar, which means you can view both sonar beam returns simultaneously, either in split screen or blended in the same image. The SwitchFire function offers two sonar modes, clear and maximum. It actually gives you the possibility to quickly switch from a sonar view with maximum returns on screen to a clear view that focuses on fish arches, and vice-versa.
The unit has Selective FishID+ and an ice flasher mode. The fishID function may be more intuitive for most anglers, as it displays fish icons instead of fish arches. This also gives you an idea about the size of a fish, as the fish symbols are divided into three categories. The flasher function offers a more basic fish finder view, a circular view without arches. Some anglers may prefer this type of sonar view to the regular one, especially for ice or stationary fishing. It’s actually not bad for jig tracking, or to have a better idea about the distance between the fish and your lure.
Sonar recording is also one of the very useful features of this unit. Of course, it requires an empty SD card for to save the recording, as the unit’s memory is not capable of storing it. This feature gives you the possibility to scroll back through the recorded sonar returns if you want to review certain spots. Also, you can export the recorded sonar into your PC, via an SD card reader, to store, or to attach to map locations etc.
The wide array of upgrade possibilities of the Humminbird 959ci HD Combo, is one of the aspects that tell it apart from the lower series models. In terms of sonar, this unit can support XtremeDepth 50 kHz transducers, which can increase its power output to 1000 Watts (RMS), and its depth capability to 3000 ft (914 m). It’s also QuadraBeam Plus capable if paired with a quad beam transducer, for better coverage. This unit is also 360 Imaging and SI imaging compatible, via ethernet.
When it comes to navigational options, this unit can support Navionics Platinum+ and Gold/HotMaps, LakeMaster or Humminbird Mapping. Therefore, if you’re not satisfied with the built-in ContourXD, the finest options in terms of charts are available.
The 959ci HD Combo is AIS compatible and i-Pilot Link compatible. AIS or Automatic Identification System, is an automatic tracking system that provides information regarding nearby vessels. i-Pilot Link is an integrated GPS trolling system, available for Minn Kota Terrova and PowerDrive V2 motors, a system that puts your Humminbird unit in connection with the motor so that you can set up a course, and benefit from the autopilot function, while you can focus on fishing.
RADAR HD is an available option for this unit, via a radar module. This offers quite an amount of navigational functions, great to have during bad weather, busy channels, or simply for superior situational awareness. You can easily locate ships with the radar function, but you can also locate buoys or even birds, thus being able to anticipate where the fish are biting.
The internal software of this unit is upgradable, via the HumminbirdPC software. It’s actually indicated to keep your unit up to date since Humminbird releases periodical, free updates for their units’ software. The updates can include map modifications, feature improvements etc.
Last but not least, the unit is NMEA2000 capable, which means the networking possibilities of this unit aren’t limited only to the ethernet functions. Via this networking system, you can integrate your fish finder and GPS much better, within the boats navigational system.
What’s Best About This Unit
- Wide HD screen, which offers high quality, crystal-clear images, whether you’re observing your sonar, GPS or both in split screen.
- Ethernet and NMEA2000 capable, which allow superior networking possibilities.
- DualBeam Plus sonar with SwitchFire, offering the possibility to view both sonar beams blended or in split screen.
- XtremeDepth sonar ready, and QuadraBeam Sonar ready.
- Temperature graph and sonar recording.
- Supports Side Imaging and 360 Imaging, via ethernet.
- Precision GPS/WAAS, which supplies quick and accurate positioning.
- A wide array of upgrading navigational options, including AIS, RADAR HD, and i-Pilot Link, Navionics and LakeMaster charts.
- Two SD card slots.
Although the built-in ContourXD mapping pack is fairly decent, some users may not be fully satisfied with it. Thus, they might find themselves forced to pay extra for a Navionics maps card, or other maps.
It’s an advanced unit and may take some time to master completely.
The Humminbird 959ci HD Combo is an excellent navigation tool, which also provides dual frequency sonar. It offers a wide array of navigational features, and it can also support several superior navigation and sonar technologies, such as HD RADAR, i-Pilot Link or 360 Imaging. It’s a great choice if you want a quality, highly performant fish finder, but your budget is limited and those fancy features just might have to wait a bit.