The HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 is one of the most affordable fish finder and chartplotter combos from Humminbird for 2017. It doesn’t include any fancy sonar features such as Side Imaging or Down Imaging, but as its name suggests, it does have CHIRP sonar technology.
Like all other Humminbird fish finders, this particular model comes with a transducer. The out-of-box transducer is the XNT 9 20 T, which is also temperature capable. This transducer is capable of 83/200 kHz, however, the unit is also 50 kHz capable, and can use a 50/200 kHz transducer for deep water fishing. With the supplied transducer, the system can reach depths of 1,500 ft, while with a 50 kHz capable transducer, it can scan depths up to 2,500 ft.
This unit has DualBeam Plus sonar, which means it can use both its 83 kHz and 200 kHz beams simultaneously, and you can view both returns in split screen. Also, since it uses CHIRP technology, it can modulate the sonar pulse over a range of frequencies between 75-95 kHz, and 175-225 kHz. The CHIRP modulation offers clearer images, with less clutter, with targets more focused and with a better separation in-between them.
This unit offers several sonar related functions, including Selective Fish ID+, sonar recording, fish alarms, bottom lock, RTS, flasher mode for ice fishing etc.
In terms of navigation, the unit is equipped with a highly fast and accurate internal GPS module. As support for navigation, it has the Humminbird UniMap charts, which cover the contiguous U.S. coastline, inland lakes and rivers at 30 m / pixel. Its charts can however be upgraded, the unit being compatible with Navionics Gold and Platinum+, LakeMaster, LakeMaster Plus, as well as SmartStrike.
One of the best innovations for this unit, which actually tells it apart from the older HELIX 5 GPS, is its AutoChart Live capability. This function is only usable if the unit has a LakeMaster of Navionics card chip which is not included. It’s a function that uses the 2D sonar information in order to reveal the depth contours of a body of water. Therefore, you can scan and map your local lake, in order to use the newest depth contours. Evidently, the unit can also use a Zero Lines card chip, designed specifically for AC Live.
This unit features a 5-inch display, 16-bit color, with a pixel resolution of 800×480. It’s also IPX7 waterproof and has LED backlight, for better reading possibilities even in direct sunlight. It’s equipped with a microSD card reader with one card slot. It does not have an Ethernet port, but does however have a NMEA 0813 output.
In all, it’s a unit great for fresh and saltwater, offering excellent navigation capabilities. And since it’s priced for less than $300, has CHIRP sonar, GPS, and comes with a transducer, it’s definitely a system with an excellent price and value ratio.