The Helix 5 DI line is made up of upgraded versions of the famous Helix 5. Each product in the series is built to increase the effectiveness of the Helix 5, and each one has been a major improvement over the original model.
In this article, I’ll write several Humminbird Helix 5 DI reviews at the same time. The differences between the different variants are very small, and I’ll detail those differences in sections that are dedicated to individual features.
Things To Consider
You shouldn’t just rush into the fish finder market. You want to understand the differences between fish finders, and you want to understand what each brand caters to. In this article, I’ll focus on the different characteristics of Humminbird fish finders. However, there are several other reviews on this site that cover other brands and models.
It’s A Mid-Range Option
The Helix 5 DI series isn’t comprised of budget-friendly models, and it isn’t comprised of high-end models. All of the options are fairly affordable, and you shouldn’t have to save up too much to buy one.
With that being said, none of the Helix 5 DI models come close to being as good as a high-end model. These aren’t built for die-hard fishermen. They’re built to give the average fisherman the tools needed to succeed. If you’re an elite fisherman, I recommend checking out the Simrad GO7 line of fish finders. Otherwise, these units should be sufficient for most fishermen.
They’re Built For Deep Water
These fish finders aren’t built to help you sweep the banks for spawning bass. They’re designed to help fishermen see what’s going on in the deeper parts of a lake. That’s why Humminbird focused on the down-imaging technology that is included with all Helix 5 DI models.
They do have CHIRP sonar systems, but CHIRP isn’t great for really shallow water, and the only other option you have with a Helix 5 DI system is down-imaging sonar. That is specifically designed for scanning deeper parts of a lake.
If you really like fishing for spawning fish or other shallow water targets, you’ll want to get something else.
It Has A lot Of Maps
All of the DI series fish finders are packed with maps of the most popular lakes and rivers in the United States. That won’t help you if you like to travel the globe for fishing tournaments or similar events, but it is a good thing if you like to take vacations and fish at the same time.
However, the map systems are why the Helix series costs so much. The Helix 5 series has great sonar technology, but the maps are mostly what raises the price of each unit. If you just like to fish at one lake, you really don’t need to worry about the maps.
Humminbird Helix 5 DI Reviews
The Helix 5 is one of my favorite fish finders. It’s basic enough for beginners, but it’s advanced enough for avid fishermen to love it. It’s not on the same level as fish finders like the Simrad GO7 or Raymarine, but it is more than enough for the average guy that just wants to catch big fish.
The Helix 5 offers plenty of maps, high-end sonar systems, and a decent display that most people can read. If you want to know more, keep reading the following sections. I’ll go over the different features that every Helix 5 DI model has, and I’ll give my opinions on them.
Features of the Humminbird Helix 5 DI
Here are the features that make the Helix 5 such a great option. I’ll be covering the features of the other models in this section. So, keep an eye out for my comments on the DI CHIRP models.
I might as well get this out of the way. The base model doesn’t have CHIRP technology incorporated into its design. It just has a down-imaging sonar. However, it has a high-quality down-imaging transducer that makes it an exceptional option if you like to fish in deeper lakes.
The other models have the same down-imaging systems, but they also have CHIRP sonar systems installed in them. The CHIRP sonar systems make the alternative models more adept at scanning the shallows. If you like to fish for a lot of different species, I recommend buying one of the CHIRP models.
Side-imaging sonar isn’t present in any of the DI models. If you want to use side-imaging sonar, you’ll have to buy the Helix 5 SI. Luckily, you probably won’t need side-imaging sonar unless you like to fish in very shallow bodies of water.
All of the Helix 5 DI models come with a high-quality base map, but the Helix 5 DI Nav also includes maps from Navionics. I personally think that the Nav variant is a little more useful, but most fishermen won’t need the Navionics maps. If you want to save a little money, and you don’t travel a lot, you should just get the base model, or you should get the Helix 5 DI CHIRP.
Maps aren’t very useful if you like to stick to the same lake. One or two fishing trips will make you familiar with the layout of your local lake, and you can just rely on your own personal knowledge to navigate in situations like that. These features only matter if you like to explore new fishing holes regularly.
All of the DI models have five-inch displays. That’s why they’re a part of the Helix 5 product line. So, you don’t have to take the display size into consideration when you choose between the different models.
I personally prefer a seven-inch screen or larger, but I’m as blind as a bat. If you have decent eyesight, the five-inch screen won’t bother you. The screen is larger than the average smartphone’s screen, and I’m willing to bet that you use a smartphone without any real issues.
All of the five-inch displays are WVGA. That’s an outdated format for most forms of technology, but it’s perfectly fine for a fish finder. You don’t need 4K resolution when you’re looking at sonar returns.
The WVGA technology does matter when you’re dealing with schools of fish that are swimming very closely together. Since WVGA screens don’t have very high resolutions, they can’t separate tons of fish very easily. It’s not a problem when you’re dealing with normal schools or larger fish, though.
All of the DI models have Auto-Chart Live software installed in them. If you’re too lazy to plot your own route, you’ll be happy to know that Auto-Chart Live automatically creates routes once you pick a starting position and a destination. Don’t feel bad if you are too lazy to plot a course by yourself. I am too, and I absolutely love this feature.
You should still keep an eye out when you’re traveling along a predetermined route, though. The GPS might not pick up hazards that weren’t around when your map was first created, and floating debris or other random hazards might be present. Do not try to use the Auto-Chart Live system as a full-proof navigation system.
The Helix 5 DI series has garnered a lot of respect from the majority of fishermen. It isn’t what a lot of professionals like to use, but it’s perfect for the average Joe.
Most avid fishermen praise the Helix 5 DI for its unwavering reliability and its map system. The map system is a little too basic if you’re the type of fisherman that travels around the world seeking record-breaking fish, but it’s more than enough for the average guy.
Its sonar systems have also garnered quite a bit of respect. CHIRP sonar and down-imaging sonar are the most useful forms of sonar, and most of the Helix 5 DI models have both.
Here are a few questions that other anglers often have about the Helix 5 DI.
Does this come with a mounting bracket?
Yes, the Helix 5 DI comes with a high-end mounting bracket that is easy to install.
Does this unit have down-imaging sonar?
Yes, it does. In fact, that’s why it’s called the Helix 5 DI. The DI stands for down-imaging.
Does it require multiple transducers?
The Helix 5 DI does not require multiple transducers. It comes with a transducer that works with all of the Helix 5’s sonar systems.
Does this come with local maps?
It does not come with maps for every location in the United States. You are expected to buy an SD card, and then you are expected to fill it with the maps that you require. That’s an extra step, but it’s a lot cheaper than buying a unit that comes with a lot of pre-loaded maps.
Does it come with a screen cover?
The Helix 5 DI does not come with a screen cover. You will have to buy one separately. However, that is not a drawback. Most fish finders require you to buy a screen cover separately. There are a lot of different online sellers that offer screen covers for the Helix 5 DI, and you can also buy one directly from Humminbird.
Does the Helix 5 DI come with side-imaging sonar?
Sadly, the Helix 5 DI does not include side-imaging sonar. It has CHIRP and down-imaging sonar, though. Luckily, side-imaging sonar isn’t very necessary. If you are the type of fisherman who needs side-imaging sonar, you should try the Helix 5 SI series.
Alternatives to the Humminbird Helix 5 DI
Here are a few alternatives if you don’t like the Helix 5 DI series.
#1 Hook 2 4X
The Hook 2 series is special to me, and I recommend it to anyone. This particular model is the Hook 2 4X. The 4X has a four-inch screen, and it has plenty of bonus features that will allow you to grow with it. If the Helix 5 DI series is too big or too complex for you, the Hook 2 4X is the perfect alternative. It’s also a lot more affordable.
You can find it at this link.
#2 HDS-7 Live
The HDS-7 Live is the perfect alternative if you’re a professional fisherman. It’s large, feature-packed, and reliable. It’s not cheap, though. It costs more than twice s much as the most expensive Helix 5 model, and you have to purchase a transducer separately. This isn’t an alternative that the average fisherman should buy. It’s specifically designed to appeal to professionals.
You can find it at this link.
#3 Garmin Striker 4
If you want a small and portable option, your best bet is the Garmin Striker 4. It has a 3.5-inch screen, the basic features that all fishermen need, and a basic mapping system. It’s not a fancy fish finder, but it’ll get the job done if you’re on a budget.
If you want to try it out for yourself, you can find it at this link.
The Helix 5 DI series is perfect for most fishermen. It’s not a beginner’s fish finder, but it’s not a high-end fish finder that forces you to skip meals for a month to afford it. It’s just a nice option that is fairly balanced.
It does come in four different variants, though. First, you have the basic Helix 5 DI. You can buy it at this link. If you want something that has CHIRP technology, you can click here. There are two bonus options, though. One includes an upgraded mapping system, and the other includes a protective case.