For the summer of 2015, Humminbird has launched a new line of fish finders: the HELIX 7 series. As terminology suggests, they all feature a 7-inch display, among other fish finding and navigation features. Evidently, one of the best models of the series is the SI model. Therefore, let’s see what the HELIX 7 SI GPS combo can do.
To begin with, the head unit features a 7-inch HD display, easy to read in direct sunlight or during night fishing, being LED backlit. The display is 256 TFT color, with a 480 x 800 pixel matrix. It comes with a gimbal, tilt/swivel mount, but there’s also the in-dash mounting option. The unit has NMEA 0183 port, but does not support NMEA 2000 connections. Also, it has a microSD card on the left side, for snapshots, recording sonar, and for superior maps.
In terms of sonar technologies, this unit has both Side Imaging and Down Imaging, and for standard sonar it uses DualBeam Plus. Like all fish finders from Humminbird, this HELIX model comes with the transducer that supports all the sonar technologies the unit is capable of. In other words, the box includes the XNT 9 SI 180 T, with transom mount. This transducer is capable of three frequencies: 83/200/455 kHz. Both the SI and DI use the 455 kHz frequency with different beams. Side Imaging uses two lateral beams of cca 84° each, covering 480 ft side-to-side (240 on each side). Down Imaging sonar is actually created from the side beams, the user being able to select from a narrow, medium and wide beam. Both SI and DI beams are fan-shaped, razor-thin. Needless to say, both of them offer photo-like clarity imaging. Side Imaging shows an above perspective of the bottom, and Down Imaging shows what’s under the boat.
Just as the HELIX 5 SI GPS, the standard sonar uses two conical beams, of 20° for 200 kHz, and 60° for 83 kHz. Since it’s DualBeam Plus sonar, you can opt to view the return of both beams simultaneously in split-screen, or even blended together. Also, via the SwitchFire function, you can quickly select between a view with maximum of returns, and a clear view, which focuses on fish arches.
The HELIX 7 SI GPS has several other sonar functions that you will find useful. One of them is sonar recording which allows you to scroll through the sonar feed, in order to review a spot you recently sailed over. In case you like ice fishing, the circular flasher function will surely help. And finally, selective FishID+ will help distinguishing between structure and fish, by displaying fish arches as fish icons.
The transducer supplied with this unit also has a temperature sensor built-in, which means the unit can track temperature. It does not have the graph function though.
For navigation, this Humminbird HELIX unit comes with the Precision GPS internal antenna, which uses WAAS for correction. It’s quite an accurate GPS system providing quick fixes within 2.5 m. Although the maps of this unit aren’t super, as it comes with the UniMap pack, it still provides you with the contiguous US coastline and inland lakes at 30 per pixel. The unit can work with Navionics Gold/Hotmaps, LakeMaster charts, or AutoChart. Last but not least, the Humminbird HELIX 7 SI GPS can store up to 2,500 waypoints and 45 tracks in its memory. It also has the trackplotting function being able to record your track and memorizing up to 50 tracks (20,000 points each).
All in all, this unit is pretty similar to the HELIX 5 SI GPS, only it has a bigger, brighter display, offering more screen space for split views. It’s a pretty inclusive unit, with superior sonar technologies, and a sharp GPS system. It comes for quite a decent price for a medium-sized unit, being worth each and every penny.