The Helix 5 is one of the most popular fish finders on the market. Now, there’s an upgraded version that is called the Helix 5 SI GPS G2. For the purposes of this review, I’ll simply call it the Helix 5 G2.
This upgraded version solves several of the problems that the Helix 5 suffered from, and it has a few bonus features that make it easier to use.
If you’re searching for a new fish finder to mount on your bass boat, you have to check out my Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 review. I’ll cover all of the features that make it such an amazing fish finder, and I’ll give you a few tips that might make it easier for you to pick a model that covers all of your needs.
Things to Consider
Here are a few things that you should think about before choosing this Helix 5 model.
The Helix 5 G2 isn’t some basic model that just helps you fish. It’s completely upgraded, and all of its different features are designed to help you maximize your efficiency while fishing.
If you’re looking for an all-around tool that isn’t complex, you should look elsewhere. This is a tool that promises to give elite fishermen the edge they need to capture trophy-sized fish.
It Doesn’t Cater To One Style Of Fishing
The Helix 5 G2 doesn’t cater to any specific type of fisherman. It’s designed to be useful for elite fishermen, but it isn’t designed for deep water, shallow water, or anything else specifically. It can handle just about any task you throw at it with ease.
However, its generalized nature means that it won’t perform as well in specific situations as a model that is designed for very specific fishing situations.
It’s Not Massive
If you’re as blind as a bat, you might want to pick something like the Hook 9. The Helix 5 G2 has a five-inch screen. I don’t think that it’s too small to read, but some anglers might want a bigger screen. If you’re not comfortable looking at something the size of a large smartphone, it won’t be the right unit for you. However, most people won’t have any problems with it.
The Helix 5 G2: Presentation
The Helix 5 G2 is a fish finder that has a lot to offer to more advanced fishermen. It’s built to excel in most situations, and it has more than enough tools inside of it to keep up with the most elite fish finders. However, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as a high-end model does.
It’s built to offer the maximum amount of performance without emptying your wallet, and that’s what most other anglers have loved about it.
Features of the Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2
In this section, I’ll tell you about all of the features that make the Helix 5 G2 such an amazing fish finder.
Three Types Of Sonar
The Helix 5 G2 has three different forms of sonar. First, CHIRP-enhanced versions of down-imaging and side-imaging software are included. For the most part, they’re the same as normal down-imaging and side-imaging systems. However, they use consistent pulses of different sonar frequencies to increase the accuracy of their returns.
Is also has DualBeam Plus sonar that sort of combines the effects of down-imaging and side-imaging sonar systems. First, the DualBeam Plus system blasts a sonar wave directly to the bottom of the water. That sonar wave reveals anything beneath your boat, but it doesn’t scan the sides of your boat, and it’s useless in shallow water.
Then, the DualBeam Plus system sends out a complex blast of sonar waves that cover the sides of your boat. That may sound like side-imaging sonar, but it’s not. Instead of covering a predetermined range, the DualBeam system scans a 60-degree arc that is equivalent to the depth of the water you’re in. In simpler terms, if you’re in 50-feet of water, and you activate the DualBeam Plus system, you’ll get 50-feet of side-imaging range. If you’re in 30-feet of water, you’ll get 30-feet of range.
That does produce one downside, though. If you’re in really shallow water, you may only get a few feet of range. You’ll notice the dramatic effect that, that has on your fishing abilities when you try to fish along the banks.
5-Inch Color Display
A five-inch display is included with the Helix 5 G2. That’s not the largest display, but it’s a lot easier to see than the 3.5 and four-inch screens that dominate this price range.
If it matters to you, the screen is a WVGA. All forms of VGA screens are mostly outdated in this day and age, but when you’re talking about fish finders, you really don’t need a high-end screen. Sonar returns don’t tend to be high-definition.
However, you should consider the lower screen quality if you have trouble telling fish targets apart when you use sonar. The target separation system on the Helix 5 G2 is pretty impressive, but when you combine the medium-sized display and outdated screen technology, it can be difficult for some users to separate small targets.
The Helix 5 G2 has a special feature that isn’t present in most other fish finders. It has a Switch-Fire system that allows you to switch between the different sonar systems with the press of a button. This isn’t a major feature, but it saves you time, and that allows you to spend more time trying to catch fish. I personally love this feature despite it being a relatively minor addition to the G2’s repertoire.
I will note that the Switch-Fire system helps a lot when you’re trying to double-check your scans. It’s a lot easier to push the Switch-Fire button than it is to flip through menus.
Micro SD Compatibility
The Helix 5 G2 doesn’t have an advanced mapping system, but it does have an SD slot that allows you to add third-party maps to its repertoire of features.
I’m actually kind of impressed by this feature. Yes, it means that you don’t get a dedicated mapping system with the basic package, but that’s not necessary for every person. The SD slot feature allows fishermen who like to travel around to download maps that are useful to them, but other fishermen don’t have to pay a higher price due to the inclusion of pre-loaded maps.
The SD feature also allows you to save your map markers when you create them. So, you can use them when you return to fish at the same lake.
Finally, while the SD slot is a positive addition, you should consider the fact that map packs aren’t cheap. You might find some third-party map packs that won’t break your bank account, but a lot of the high-quality maps cost more than $100. If you really love to travel the globe to fish for exotic species, you might be better off with a system that has a lot of maps built-in.
Warranties aren’t common in the fish finder industry. Even if companies do offer them, they’re usually too short for the company to brag about them in their product descriptions. That’s not the case with the G2. The G2 has a three-year warranty, and it’s such a well-built sonar unit that you most likely won’t need the warranty until years after it has expired.
The warranty covers manufacturer defects and natural wear and tear. So, don’t think that you can smack it with a baseball ball and still get a replacement unit. The warranty is there to protect you against defects.
The Helix 5 G2 has been praised since it was first introduced to the market. It has everything that the base model has, but every feature is upgraded.
The upgraded Helix 5 has been touted as one of the industry’s best fish finders, and it’s been praised for its reliability. There are very few fishermen that have complained about the G2’s performance.
The DualBeam Plus system is another feature that other anglers love. It’s not a common feature, but it makes the Helix 5 G2 a lot more versatile than it would be if it just had down-imaging and side-imaging sonar.
Finally, it has proven itself to be a useful tool for fishing in deeper waters, but it can also scan the shallows with relative ease.
Alternatives to the Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2
#1 Hook2 5-Inch
If the Helix 5 G2 doesn’t have the features you want, you might want to take a look at the five-inch version of the Hook2. The Hook2 is one of my favorite fish finders, and it’s one of the best models that you can buy. It’s also very similar to the G2. It has a five-inch screen, advanced sonar systems, and it’s covered by a warranty. However, it also has a built-in map system. So, you don’t have to worry about searching the internet for maps of your favorite lakes.
The lack of DualBeam Plus does make this unit a little less versatile, though. I love the entire Hook2 series, but DualBeam Plus is definitely something that Lowrance needs to try to replicate.
If you want to buy a Hook2, you can click this link.
#2 HDS-9 Live
If you want a really advanced sonar unit, you have to look at the HDS-9 Live. The HDS-9 has Active Sonar software, WiFi connectivity, GPS, and thousands of pre-loaded maps. Its transducer is pretty impressive to. It generates the most realistic sonar returns I’ve ever seen.
However, it’s an incredibly high-end fish finder. It’s more expensive than most other fish finders on the market, and it’s just not accessible to a lot of beginners. This is one that I only recommend to professionals and avid fishermen who have really deep pockets.
If you want something that is a bit more advanced than the Helix 5 G2, you’ll want to click here to buy the HDS-9.
#3 Garmin Striker 4
If you’re looking for something that is cheaper than the G2, you might want to look at the Striker 4. The Striker 4 has all of the features that you really need to have, but it doesn’t include a lot of features that would just increase its price. It’s not as good as the G2, but it is good enough for beginners and fishermen that are on a budget.
You can expect to get a smaller screen, less advanced sonar options, and a lower quality map system. Considering its cheap price, those are really bad things. All of its features are still quite good.
If you want to try it out for yourself, you can click here.
The Helix 5 G2 isn’t the best fish finder on the market, but it’s the best fish finder in its class. You would have to pay several hundred dollars more to get the same experience from another fish finder.
Its DualBeam Plus sonar system isn’t found on most other fish finders, and it’s one of the best sonar systems available. It also saves you money by not including a huge map system, but it has an SD slot that allows you to add maps if you need them. It also has all of the features that you’ve probably come to expect from a Humminbird product. Those characteristics are more than enough to warrant its price, and there are other features that add to its usefulness.
If you liked my Helix 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 review, you should click this link to try it out for yourself.