Humminbird HELIX 7 GPS
If you’re looking for a GPS / fish finder combo unit with a wider screen, you’ve got to have a look at the new models within the HELIX 7 series, released this year by Humminbird. They all have a 7-inch display and offer an HD, crisp view. And the good news is, several of these units are priced under $500. One of them is the HELIX 7 409820-1 model.
Details and Specifications
- Screen: 7″ diagonal, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, 256 color TFT, with 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: UniMap
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45, 2500, 50 (20,000 points each)
Control unit features
Maybe the most important aspect regarding the head unit of the HELIX 7 GPS, is its 7″ diagonal display, with a 16:9 resolution and 800H x 480V pixel matrix. Just as in the HELIX 7 SI GPS, and pretty much as in the other HELIX 7 unit, the screen is glass bonded, which reduces glare, offering maximum visibility even in full sun. Although this unit has LED backlight as well, the brightness of the display is higher than in other previous Humminbird models, which also considerably ads to the readability of the on-screen data.
Just like the other HELIX 7 units, this combo incorporates extra RAM, enabling all sonar and mapping information to load and refresh faster. The unit comes with the gimbal, tilt-and-swivel mount, but there’s also an in-dash mount option. The in-dash is not included though.
The unit’s water rating is IPX7, which means it can resist incidental water exposure, or even immersion in fresh water, up to 1 m, and 30 minutes. It’s important to mention though that most units, Humminbird or not, with this water rating are not extremely resistant to saltwater. Even incidental exposure to saltwater can damage their connectors. Therefore, it’s for the best to keep your unit dry.
This combo also features one microSD card slot for recorded sonar, combos or charts updated. Its internal software is also upgradable, and upgrades come free, typically a few times every year.
Last but not least, the HELIX 7 GPS combo features an NMEA 0183 port, which increases its connectivity options. However, does not feature Ethernet, like the 959ci HD DI Combo, or other 900, 1100 or superior units.
The unit incorporates, as its name suggests, the Humminbird Precision GPS which is quite accurate and fast, providing 95% of the times a location within 4.5 meters from your current position. It also uses WAAS, EGNOS, and MSAS in order to polish the accuracy of its results. The GPS system features an internal antenna and is also capable of tracking your boat’s speed.
The HELIX 7 GPS 409820-1 model also has the capability of storing up to 2,500 waypoints and 45 routes, each route being able to contain 50 waypoints. It also has a tracks function, offering a detailed position history, consisting of a breadcrumb of trail points. You can record or clear the current track at any time. And the control unit has the capacity to store up to 50 tracks, 20,000 points each.
When it comes to maps, this unit does not include an extremely advanced pack, unfortunately. It comes with the Humminbird UniMap base pack. This basic type of charts covers the contiguous U.S. coastline, inland lakes, and rivers at 30 meters per pixel resolution. Charts can be viewed in 2D mode, 3D mode (or the Bird’s Eye View).
Also in terms of navigation, the unit features several other functions, such as Drift Alarm, Man Overboard navigation, and others.
The sonar incorporated within this unit is pretty basic, featuring only 2D sonar with SwitchFire. In case you would like to opt for a Humminbird unit with Down Imaging or Side Imagin, with similar specs to this one, HELIX 7 DI GPS or HELIX 7 SI GPS are units to put on your list.
Anyway, regarding the sonar of the HELIX 7 GPS, it can operate at 83/200 kHz. It uses two conical beams, one at an angle of 60°, with the 83 kHz frequency for a wider coverage, and the other of 20° for more focused results, for the 200 kHz frequency. Since the sonar software of the unit is DualBeam Plus, the sonar returns of both beams can be viewed individually or side-by-side in split-screen.
This unit does not feature CHIRP sonar technology, but it still has a depth capability of 1,500′ (457 m), offering a target separation of 2.5″. Evidently, the box includes the apposite transducer. It’s actually an XNT 9 20 T transducer model, which comes with a transom mount, and 20′ (6 m) of cable. The transducer has a built-in temperature sensor, enabling the control unit to also offer water temperature readings. The temperature graph function is not supported by this unit though.
Several other sonar or sonar-related functions to be mentioned here are SwitchFire, the Ice Flasher, FishID+, and Sonar Recording.
The SwitchFire function is actually a quick filtering mode which allows you quickly cut out all the clutter and noise, focusing on major targets or structure, and their details; or, choose Max Mode for the maximum sonar information on screen, for better jig tracking, of more fish arches. The FishID+ function attributes fish icons and their current depth to fish arches, or at least sonar returns that are interpreted as fish. The Ice Flasher offers the abstract, circular sonar view, which most anglers use in ice fishing.
Finally, Sonar Recording offers you the chance to record the sonar log, to review it later, or to scroll back through the sonar feed, in order to review a certain spot. This feature can save you quite some trouble; for example, if you’ve missed a spot, you won’t have to turn the boat around to scan that particular spot once more. Sonar Recording requires a data microSD card to be inserted into the unit. All the recorded sonar feed cannot be saved within the control unit’s memory.
The HELIX 7 GPS does not support Side Imaging or Down Imaging, and better sonar you basically cannot have on it. However, there still is room for some upgrades. First of all, as we’ve mentioned above, the unit’s internal software is upgradable, and the software upgrades are free. Second of all, the charts can be upgraded, the unit being compatible with Navionics Gold and HotMaps, HotMaps Premium and Humminbird LakeMaster charts.
Although this is a pretty decent sonar / GPS combo, there still are several minuses about it which shouldn’t be left out. To begin with, the unit does not offer an NMEA 2000 port, which should be expected from a relatively new unit. The control head only has a microSD card slot, therefore if you want to record sonar and also use a superior charts chip, you will have to interchange cards. The unit does not support AIS. And lastly, it does not support transducers for deepwater use.
The HELIX 7 GPS is a unit without too many fancy sonar features and does not include advanced charts. However, it does supply a medium sized, extra sharp display, an excellent 2D sonar and a quick, and highly accurate GPS. Therefore, if you’re looking for a combo unit and you’re on a budget, or you don’t want to pay extra for SI or DI sonar, this might be the best choice for you.