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Humminbird HELIX 10 Sonar GPS

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HELIX 10 Sonar GPS
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The HELIX 10 Sonar GPS is definitely a Humminbird fish finder and GPS combo unit made for saltwater, but of course, it can serve perfectly for fishing in bodies of fresh water. Even though it doesn’t have CHIRP sonar, with a deep water transducer it can reach depths of up to 3,000 ft. Apart from its sonar, it’s also a pretty versatile navigation unit, offering a wide array of features and functions for this matter.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Display: 10.1″ diagonal, 65,000 color TFT, 1024H x 600V pixel resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, glass bonded, with backlight
  • Wireless control
  • 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
  • Maps: ContourXD (built-in), AutoChart Live
  • Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45; 2,750; 50 (20,000 points each)

Sonar and transducer

Like most fish finders offered by Humminbird, the HELIX 10 Sonar GPS model comes with a transducer. The transducer included is the XNT 9 20 T model, and includes a transom mount. It also integrates a temperature sensor, while the unit, of course, can indicate water temperature. In fact, the unit also offers a temperature graph function, which is great to have in case you’re looking for water currents, drops, or places which a specific temperature level. The transducer has 20 ft (6 m) of cable.

This transducer uses two conical beams of 20° for 200 kHz, and 60° for 83 kHz. Evidently, it’s best to use the 200 kHz beam if you want more detail, and the 83 kHz beam if you want more coverage. It’s capable of depths up to 1,500 ft. However, since the unit is capable of 50/83/200 kHz frequencies, you can also use a 50/200 kHz transducer for deep water fishing. With a transducer of this sort, you should be able to scan depths of up to 3,000 ft.

This HELIX 10 unit does not have Side Imaging or Down Imaging, nor is capable of using these types of sonar. But in case you will be fishing in deep, blue water, these won’t help much anyway. It does, however, feature DualBeam Plus sonar, which gives you the possibility to view both beams simultaneously or even blended together. The coverage area should be equal to the current depth.

The usual fish finding functions present in most Humminbird units are also offered by this one. It has Real Time Sonar, Selective Fish ID+, SwitchFire, Fish Alarm, Bottom Lock, Split-Zoom, Sonar Recording and several others. In case you don’t know what they do, here’s a short presentation of each one of them.

Real Time Sonar (RTS) is a vertical flasher view which appears on the right side of the

Selective FishID+ View

Selective FishID+ View

sonar view. It indicates the information caught by the last sonar echo. Selective Fish ID+ is a function that uses Advanced Signal Processing to interpret sonar returns, and assigns fish symbols to the targets interpreted as fish. It’s nice to use when there’s a lot of vegetation or structure.

Fish Alarm is actually a function available only when using the Fish ID+ function. It gives you the possibility to setup your unit to notify you when it detects a fish of a certain size.

SwitchFire is a quick filter function. It allows you to select between a Clear Mode and Max Mode. In Clear Mode it eliminates all the clutter, keeping on screen only the strongest targets, thus it gives you an idea of the size of a fish. In Max Mode, if puts on screen all the information caught by the transducer beam(s), giving you the possibility to distinguish more targets, and have a better view of your jig.

As its name suggests, Bottom Lock is a function that will keep the sonar view close to the bottom, regardless of depth, and/or depth contour. It’s great to use if you’re looking for bottom feeders. Split-Zoom gives you the possibility to magnify one of the sonar views on screen, and make comparisons between sonar returns.

Last but not least, Sonar Recording is great to have in case you want to review a certain location. It allows you to scroll back through the sonar feed, to see a spot you’ve already scanned. This way you won’t have to turn the boat around to re-scan a specific area. Similar to the Sonar Recording, there’s also a Screen Snapshot function. It’s also a vital function for AutoChart Live.

Navigation functions

Without a doubt, one of the most useful features for navigation and fishing that this HELIX 10 unit offers, is AutoChart Live. This feature allows you to map the water as you go, determining contours. It’s simply perfect for blue water, and for lakes that aren’t covered or aren’t mapped thoroughly by your current charts. The unit has a memory that can hold up to 8 hours of recording time. All maps made with AutoChart Live are compatible with i-Pilot Link, thus you can follow your newly created depth contours on autopilot if you use a Minn Kota motor. Also, maps made with AutoChart can be overlayed with Navionics or LakeMaster charts, for new details and for maximum awareness.

As the name of the unit suggests, it features the Humminbird precision GPS, offering accurate position fixes in a span of 2.5 m. It uses the ContourXD charts as base maps, which cover more than 3,000 U.S. lakes, indicating depth contours and various points of interest.

Humminbird ContourXD charts

Chart Combo View – ContourXD

The HELIX 10 Sonar GPS can store 2,750 waypoints within its internal memory, and up to 45 routes (50 waypoints per route). It can also record tracks, being able to hold up to 50 trails (20,000 points per trail). Trails can be converted to routes though, and you also get the possibility to add waypoints to them if necessary.

Control unit features and functions

To begin with, this unit offers quite a widescreen, with a diagonal of 10.1″ and a pixel resolution of 1024 x 600, with a lot of detail in one picture. It’s simply great for using multiple views in split screen. The display is backlit and glass bonded, for maximum readability in direct sunlight, eliminating the glare effect. The unit is IPX7 waterproof, which means you can use it with no problem during rain, or during windy days when splashes are inevitable.

This HELIX 10 model features a faster processor than the previous 1100 series units, up to 25% faster actually. It also excels in connectivity, offering Ethernet, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 ports. On top of that, it features a dual SD card reader, allowing you to use two SD cards simultaneously. For example, you can use a LakeMaster chip and a blank card for recording sonar, without the need to swap cards.

The box also includes a unit cover and the gimbal type mount.

Upgrade Possibilities

Not only the Humminbird HELIX 10 Sonar GPS comes with a wide array of features and functions, it also leaves a lot of room for improvement. First of all, the internal software is upgradable, and all upgrades come free.

In case you’re not satisfied with the ContourXD charts, you can always upgrade with a LakeMaster or Navionics chip, or you can use a ZeroLine SD card, which has a database of over 2,000,000 lakes at zero line contour, ready to be mapped, also extending the record time by a lot.

Of course, the unit can use i-Pilot Link, to communicate with MinnKota motors, obtaining automatic boat control. And with an AutoChart or LakeMaster map, you can follow a certain depth contour on autopilot, a great feature for trolling. The unit is also HD Radar ready, and AIS compatible.

As we’ve mentioned above, this unit can be paired with a more powerful, 50/200 kHz transducer, for deepwater use. It can also use 360 Imaging.

An in-dash mounting kit option is available.

Last but not least, this unit features wireless control. It’s compatible with the AS RC1 Bluetooth remote offered by Humminbird. This remote gives you the possibility to mark waypoints, adjust sonar or map zoom, create i-Pilot Link spot-locks and of course, control other functions without touching the unit. The remote features 7 buttons, each one with long and short press functions. Overall, this wireless control feature offers you much more flexibility when on the water, eliminating the need to change your position on the boat, every time you need to make adjustments on your unit.

The Pros

  • DualBeam Plus sonar with SwitchFire;
  • Powerful transducer (XNT 9 20 T), temperature capable and with transom mount, included;
  • 3,000 ft depth capability (1,500 ft with the included transducer);
  • Multiple sonar functions available, such as RTS, Bottom Lock, Fish ID+ etc;
  • Sonar recording and screen snapshot;
  • Precision GPS with a wide array of channels;
  • ContourXD charts as base for the GPS;
  • Trackplotting, routes and waypoints functions;
  • AutoChart Live;
  • Wide 10.1″ display, with 16:9 format, and backlight;
  • IPX7 waterproof;
  • Glass bonded screen, glare-proof;
  • NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 ports;
  • Wireless control;
  • Upgradable internal software;
  • Ethernet connection;
  • Dual microSD card reader;
  • Gimbal mount and unit cover included;
  • HD Radar, i-Pilot Link and AIS capable;
  • 360 Imaging capable;
  • Fairly easy to install.
  • Better price than the previous 1159ci HD Combo, for a superior unit.

The Cons

  • High-tech unit, may not be easy to master by all users.

Final Verdict

The Humminbird HELIX 10 Sonar GPS is a great unit for both freshwater and blue water. It offers an impressive array of features and functions, including wireless control, AutoChart Live, high-precision GPS, the powerful DualBeam Plus sonar, and many more.The transducer is included, so you won’t have to purchase one separately unless you really want a more powerful one. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t have Side Imaging and Down Imaging, it’s a pretty complete unit. It’s basically the HELIX 10 SI GPS, but without the SI and DI. And the best part about it is that it comes with a really acceptable price, cheaper than the previous similar units, but evidently more inclusive.


  1. is the echomap 52 able to use a navionics chip/micro sd card? your map is awful. if not, what would you recomend for so west fl.

    • Garmin units aren’t currently compatible with Navionics charts.

      For SW Florida, you should opt for a LakeVü HD Ultra chip if you’re fishing in-land, or for a BlueChart g2 Vision chip if you’re fishing off-shore.

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