The HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 (410220-1) from Humminbird and the HOOK-5 BaseMap (000-12656-001) from Lowrance are two units with a similar range of fish finding and navigation features. However, since they’re from different manufacturers, there are several differences between them. In this post, we’ll try to cover all these differences.
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 – Short Description
The HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 (410220-1) unit is one of the newer HELIX models, released in 2017. There’s also a HELIX 5 DI GPS (409620-1) which was released in 2015. We’re addressing here the newer model, the 410220-1, which comes with the XNT 9 DI T transom and temperature capable transducer.
The HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2, as its name suggests, is a CHIRP capable Humminbird fish finder with GPS and other navigation features. It’s equipped with DualBeam Plus sonar and Down Imaging sonar technology and can use CHIRP for both these sonar types.
The unit is capable of using two frequencies for its 2D DualBeam Plus sonar, these being 200/455 kHz, 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.
In terms of navigation, this Humminbird unit was initially equipped with the Humminbird UniMap charts, but in the second part of 2017 Humminbird has upgraded all the HELIX units with the Humminbird BaseMap which is considerably superior to UniMap. In case you will get a unit that doesn’t have this chart upgrade, you should be able to upgrade it to Humminbird BaseMap for free.
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.
Lowrance HOOK-5 DownScan BaseMap – Short Description
Just as the Humminbird unit, the Lowrance HOOK-5 (000-12656-001) unit is a fish finder and chartplotter. It’s equipped with 2D broadband CHIRP sonar and DownScan Imaging, while for navigation it has the Lowrance BaseMap bundle and also an internal GPS receiver.
Since this is the Lowrance 000-12656-001, it comes with the HDI Skimmer transducer, which is capable of using 83/200 kHz for 2D sonar, and 455/800 kHz for DownScan. For 2D broadband CHIRP, it can use Mid Range CHIRP and High Range CHIRP. However, CHIRP technology doesn’t work for the unit’s DownScan imaging.
The HOOK-5 000-12656-001 only has the Lowrance BaseMap charts, which are fairly basic, not extremely accurate, especially for areas that drastically change from year to year. But, since the unit has a microSD card reader, its internal charts can always be upgrades either with Insight charts or Navionics charts. It can also use Insight Genesis charts.
Although the unit features a 5″ display, it has a square layout, with a pixel matrix of 480 x 480. But nonetheless, the display offers enough room to run up to three applications at the time and still provides excellent readings… Read Full Review.
2D sonar. Both units feature CHIRP 2D sonar. However, the Humminbird unit uses 200/455 kHz frequencies while the Lowrance unit uses 83/200 kHz. They both use CHIRP technology for their 2D sonar. Also, both units offer pretty similar 2D standard sonar features, such as A-Scope (RTS for Humminbird), Bottom Lock, Circular Flasher, Sonar Recording (it’s called TrackBack for the Lowrance Unit), Depth Alarm, etc.
Down Imaging vs DownScan. The new Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 can use CHIRP sonar of its Down Imaging, while the Lowrance unit only uses CHIRP for its 2D sonar, and not for DownScan. The imaging differences aren’t extreme, though. When it comes to frequencies, both units use 455/800 kHz for their down scanning sonar.
Transducers. Both units come with a transducer that can be used for 2D traditional sonar and down scanning sonar. Both integrate a temperature sensor, but when it comes to sonar beam angles, there are some differences. The Humminbird transducer, XNT 9 DI T, uses fairly narrow beams for 2D, 16° @ 455 kHz and 28° @ 200 kHz, while the HDI Skimmer supplied with the Lowrance fish finder unit uses a bit wider 2D beams, 20° @ 200 kHz / 60° @ 83 kHz. Things are the other way around for Down Imaging / DownScan. The beams of the Humminbird XNT 9 DI T transducer are 75° @ 455 kHz / 45° @ 800 kHz, while for the HDI skimmer they are 57° @ 455 kHz / 38° @ 800 kHz.
Depth Capability. The Lowrance fish finder system offers a slightly better depth capability than the Humminbird unit for the 2D sonar 1,000 ft vs 650 ft, while the Humminbird DI is slightly better than the Lowrance DownScan, with a depth capability of 350 ft vs 300 ft.
SwitchFire. This is a feature specific to Humminbird units with DualBeam Plus sonar. The HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 falls under this category and has it. The SwitchFire function is 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.
DownScan Overlay. This is a feature specific to Lowrance fish finders. It gives you the possibility to blend the 2D CHIRP sonar with the DownScan sonar for a better analysis of the underwater environment.
Charts. To put it simply, the new Humminbird BaseMap chart base, which replaced the UniMap for the HELIX units, is considered superior to the Lowrance BaseMap. The Humminbird BaseMap includes data from LakeMaster®, NOAA, and other trusted sources, providing a clear view of the underwater terrain and showing a wide array of points of interest. The new Basemap bundle covers more than 10,000 inland lakes showing contours, nav-aids, and POI. These charts also cover the entire U.S. coast using the NOAA charts as a primary source. The Lowrance basemaps are quite modest. They basically show the boundaries between water and land, and pretty much very little other information.
AutoChart Live. This feature is specific to the Humminbird units. It gives you the possibility to reveal and record the depth contours of your lake as you sail. The Lowrance unit doesn’t have a similar feature but does allow you to record sonar, and via the Insight Genesis online application, you can create custom maps by using the recorded sonar data, in order to benefit from a better awareness on the water.
Display. The Humminbird unit features an 800H x 480V pixel matrix while the Lowrance unit has a square display, 480H x 480V. Each one has its pluses and minuses. For example, for the Humminbird unit, a 2-split image offers more information on the left and right, while for the Lowrance unit you’ll get a better view on a 2-split screen up / down since both have a 5″ diagonal display.
Waypoints, trails, and routes. The Humminbird unit offers the possibility to record up to 2,750 waypoints, 47 routes, and 50 trails (20,000 points per trail). The Lowrance unit allows you to record up to 3,000 waypoints, 100 routes and 100 trails (10,000 pts. per track).
Side by Side Comparison
[table id=155 /]
When it comes to sonar, both units offer similar fish finding capabilities. They both come with excellent transducers. However, when it comes to charts, the new Humminbird charts are quite superior. Plus, the Humminbird unit also has the AutoChart feature. The price range is similar for the two units. Depending on the retailer, it may vary between $350 and $400 or so.