Humminbird Fish Finder HELIX 9 SI GPS Review



December 2015 marks the launch of the HELIX 9 series by Humminbird, which actually replaces the 900 series. Evidently, one of the most complete unit of this new series is the HELIX 9 SI GPS. As it’s name suggests, it’s a unit that has Side Imaging, Down Imaging, GPS, and comes with the preloaded ContourXD maps.

In terms of sonar, the HELIX 9 SI GPS is pretty similar to the HELIX 7 SI GPS model. It comes with the XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer, which supports both SI and DI types of sonar that the unit is capable of. This transducer can only operate at 83/200/455 kHz though, being capable of scanning depths up to 150 ft (45 m) in SI and DI, and up to 1500 ft (457 m) in 2D.

In terms of coverage, this unit offers a 60° beam for the 83 kHz frequency, and 20° for the 200 kHz frequency. These beams are cone-shaped, and functional only with the 2D sonar. Side Imaging uses two cca 85° fan-shaped, thin beams on each side, offering a coverage of 240 ft (73 m) for each beam, a total of 480 ft (146 m) of coverage from side to side. This unit also has Down Imaging, which uses a thin, fan-shaped beam, similar to the side beams, but this one scans directly under the boat. Both SI and DI offer crystal clear imaging, close to the clarity of a photo, great to use for determining the shape of structure.

The transducer comes with a temperature sensor and a transom mount. It’s not usable for trolling, but you can have it replaced for free, via Humminbird transducer change program.

This unit has several other functions to be mentioned, when it come to sonar. First of all, it supports sonar recording, and you can also save snapshots if you want on a microSD card. It has SwitchFire, like all the other units with DualBeam Plus 2D sonar. Selective Fish ID+, Mark Structure, Split Zoom and many others are available. Also, it can support 360 Imaging, and can operate at 50 kHz for higher depths, of at 800 kHz for DI, but you’ll need a transducer that works with these frequencies as well. The one that comes with the unit, is not 50 kHz, nor 800 kHz capable.

For navigation, the HELIX 9 SI GPS offers the same Precision GPS as the other smaller units. However, it comes with the preloaded ControurXD maps, which offer more detail than the UniMap on the HELIX 5 and HELIX 7 units. It’s Navionics Platinum, Plus, Gold/HotMaps capable, though. It also can save up to 2,750 waypoints, 50 tracks (20,000 points each track) and 45 routes.

When it comes to the control unit’s features and functions, as its name suggests, it offers a 9″ display. Its pixel resolution is 800×480 and the screen superbright, with a 65,000 color spectrum, LED backlit and easy to read in bright light, even with polarized sunglasses. It has Ethernet, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 connectivity. It can support AIS, i-Pilot Link and HD Radar, and features 2 microSD card slots.

Last but not least, one of the neat functions that the HELIX 9 SI GPS combo offers, is the wireless remote control, which allows you to control various functions on the unit from just about anywhere on your boat, such as mark waypoints, change sonar views, freeze frame etc.