Humminbird Helix 7 Review: Is It Worth the Money? [2019]

When it was time for me to upgrade to a new fish finder, I was surprised at how many selections there were to choose from. Since Humminbird is one of the biggest names in the game, I decided to narrow my search, focusing only on their products. That’s when I decided to compose this Humminbird Helix 7 review.

Things To Consider Before Investing in a Humminbird Helix 7

The first thing you should know about a Humminbird Helix 7? This is not a budget option. The fish finders in the Helix 7 series are high-end models, featuring state of the art technology and plenty of bonus features. If you’re a casual hobbyist looking for a basic fish finder at a bargain price, this might not be the best choice for you.

Serious anglers, on the other hand, should find plenty to appreciate about the Helix 7 series. For one thing, the screen measures seven inches across, making it easy to read in all weather conditions. It also features split-screen technology, giving you a bird’s-eye view of your position and details about the underwater environment all at the same time. Since it’s a large fish finder by any standards, it should be considered only if your boat is big enough to accommodate its size.

If you’re still unsure about what features to look for when shopping for a fish finder, here’s a list of some basic terms to get you started.

  • Screen resolution—this number refers to the number of pixels that can occupy the screen at one time. The higher the number, the clearer and more detailed the picture will be. For fish finders, a minimum of 240H x 160V is recommended.
  • Water resistance—Fish finders are typically rated on either the JIS or IPX scale of 1 to 8, with 1 being barely resistant to water and 8 being fully waterproof. If a rating is available, you’ll want a fish finder to rate a 6 at the very least.
  • Mounting system—There are several different ways to mount a fish finder onto your watercraft. Transom mounting is highly popular, and usually requires some additional hardware. Check to see if the model has everything you need before making your purchase final.
  • Transducer—This is the business end of your fish finder, the part responsible for sending out sound waves and processes information about the surroundings. The results of the transducer’s findings are what you see on your screen.
  • Down-imaging and side-imagingThese terms refer to the angle at which you’ll be viewing the underwater environment. Down-imaging gives you a view of the area directly below your boat, with details about structure as well as the lake bottom. Side-imaging provides more detail about the precise location of the fish, and is more useful in shallow water.

Humminbird Helix 7 SI Review: The Basics

As mentioned above, this model features a seven-inch screen (hence the “7” in the name), with two display modes that can be viewed simultaneously. The transducer, power cable, mounting hardware, and mounting bracket are all included in the purchase. The Helix 7 SI weighs just under 5 pounds and offers dual-spectrum CHIRP technology and SwitchFire sonar (see the Features & Benefits section for a definition of SwitchFire).

Pros:

  • Sophisticated technology
  • GPS technology
  • Side-imaging option
  • Large screen offers excellent visibility, even in bright conditions

Cons:

  • Customer service department is not always helpful when there’s a problem
  • High price point
  • Side-imaging readouts can be difficult to decipher when water is deep

Humminbird Helix 7 Review: Features & Benefits

Now that I’ve filled you in on the general Humminbird Helix 7 SI review, it’s time to go over the finer details. Here’s a primer on the features and benefits that make this model stand out from the rest.

Screen Resolution

The Helix 7 offers a screen resolution of 800H x 480V, giving the color images a brightness and focus that can be lacking in lesser models. This is just one of the features that puts this unit in a higher pricing bracket than some of the competition. If sharp, clear images are your top priority, then this could be the right model for you.

Water Resistance

The units in the Helix 7 series carry an IPX rating of 7. This means that they can be submerged in up to three feet of water for as long as 30 minutes. Many fish finders carry this rating, which is generally considered more than sufficient for most types of watercraft.

Transducer

The “SI” in the Helix 7 SI model stands for “side imaging,” meaning that the transducer is capable of side-imaging as well as a down-imaging. Both of these options have a range of 125 feet.

Make sure you’re buying the correct product if a side view ranks high on your hit parade. Humminbird has a tendency to name its products in a confusingly similar way, so read the specifications carefully before making a purchase.

Sonar

The Helix 7’s SwitchFire sonar features two settings: a wide beam for covering large swaths of the underwater environment, and a narrow-beam option that provides a more detailed picture of a smaller area. The ability to switch rapidly back and forth between these two modes is what sets this sonar function apart.

Depth Readout

The Helix 7 SI can read depths of up to 150 feet for both side- and down-imaging. When the DualBeam Plus feature is engaged, the readout capability increases to 1,500 feet. Note that not every model in the series offers the same capabilities. Also, be aware that the depth readout becomes less accurate at speeds above 5 mph.

Mounting System

All mounting hardware, complete with gimbal mounting bracket, is included when you buy a Helix 7. In my experience, this hardware tends to be of lesser quality than the fish finder itself. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple fix, assuming you can get customer service to respond in a timely fashion.

Be aware that the mounting hardware is not equipped for a trolling motor mount. If you prefer this type of mounting system, you’ll have to purchase it separately.

GPS Function

The Helix 7 series is equipped with GPS technology as a navigational aid. You can use this function to store information about your favorite fishing spots, making it easier to find your way back to them later on. Some of the more advanced models also feature a map card, offering details on over 21,000 North American lakes.

Setup

As the mounting hardware is included, the physical aspects of the setup are fairly straightforward. The control panel on the SI unit is also very user-friendly, with an interface that’s easy to understand. While beginners might become confused at all the different features, this unit is designed mainly for anglers who’ve had some experience with fish finders in the past.

Performance

In my experience, all of the functions on the Helix 7 SI perform as advertised, with minor exceptions. Not only does it excel in its primary function, which is to find the nearby fish and display their location, it checks off a number of other boxes as well. The GPS and mapping systems are accurate, the depth and temperature readouts are reliable, and the mounting hardware is compatible with every system except for the trolling motor mount. The depth readouts become more temperamental at high speeds and in deeper water, but that’s true of most fish finders. All things considered, the Helix 7 series provides decent value for the money.

On the Road with the Humminbird Helix 7

Although I’ve had good luck with this unit so far, I was curious as to whether my own experience was representative. Were other customers just as satisfied by the Helix 7’s performance?

To find out, I searched the internet and came up with several positive reviews. Most consumers were pleased with the advanced technology.

 Some noted that it could be complicated for beginners, but that it’s worth the extra time involved in figuring it out. Despite the large screen size, other users claimed that the unit wasn’t too bulky to be mounted on a kayak. Above all else, the high screen resolution was praised by a number of people, even those who had slight issues with the interface.

Alternatives to the Humminbird Helix 7

Let’s say you’ve read all of the above information and decided that you’re not ready to commit to the Helix 7 series. Fear not—there are many other options on the market, and one of them is bound to meet your criteria. Here are just a few examples.

Lowrance Hook2 7

Like the Helix 7, this offering from Lowrance features a 7-inch screen with a “SplitShot” transducer for dual viewing capability. The GPS system includes the same Navionics+ Map Card, with information on over 20,000 lakes across the US and Canada. It’s important to mention that the Lowrance is a little bit more cumbersome and difficult to mount, especially if you’re a novice.

How They Compare

  • Screen Resolution—Helix
  • Water Resistance—Tie
  • Transducer—Hook2
  • Sonar—Helix
  • Depth Readout—Helix
  • Mounting System—Hook2
  • GPS Function—Tie
  • Setup—Helix
  • Performance—Tie

The offering from Lowrance is a viable alternative. Feel free to check it out, especially if you’re looking for a large screen.

Garmin Striker 4

Garmin’s flagship fish finder is a handy, portable unit with a 3.5-inch color screen and sophisticated GPS system. It features a waypoint map that makes navigation a snap, and a keypad that’s especially user-friendly.

How They Compare

  • Screen Resolution—Helix
  • Water Resistance—Tie
  • Transducer—Helix
  • Sonar—Tie
  • Depth Readout—Helix
  • Mounting System—Helix
  • GPS Function—Striker 4
  • Setup—Striker 4
  • Performance—Helix

If you’re looking for a budget option that’s simple to use, take a closer look at the Garmin Striker 4.

Lucky Portable Fish Finder

As you might have guessed from the name, this is a handheld unit that’s suitable for dock and ice fishing. It’s set at an affordable price point, but the screen resolution isn’t the best you’ll find, and it lacks the bells and whistles of the more advanced models.

How They Compare

  • Screen Resolution—Helix
  • Water Resistance—Helix
  • Transducer—Helix
  • Sonar—Helix
  • Depth Readout—Lucky
  • Mounting System—N/A
  • GPS Function—N/A
  • Setup—Lucky
  • Performance—Helix

This model can’t compare to the Helix 7 series in terms of high-tech wizardry. Still, if you’re in the market for a versatile and affordable unit that can be used anywhere, check out the Lucky Portable Fish Finder.

In Conclusion

The Helix 7 SI represents a significant upgrade from your basic fish finder. The product itself is constructed of high-quality materials, its color images are top-notch, and the readouts it provides are accurate. Even better, the GPS technology means you can spend less time trying to find your way back to the sweet spots, and more time enjoying them. If you’ve come to the end of this Humminbird Helix 7 review and decided you’re ready to take the plunge, click here to take a closer look at what the product has to offer.

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