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Humminbird Helix 5 Review

​​Humminbird Helix 5 Review

If you’re a keen angler, a fish finder can help you find the best areas for catching fish.

The Helix 5 has recently been released and features a brand new landscape screen that really catches the eye.

It’s backlit, so you can easily see the screen under virtually any kind of lighting conditions. Given that there are several models of Helix 5 from which to choose, what should you buy?

​In this ​Humminbird Helix 5 Review we will take a look at all three models and point out the major differences and what type of features each provides.

​​Humminbird Helix 5 Reviews


​A GPS system is essential to a good fish finder, and this model provides a slightly improved version of the original.

This translates to better accuracy in positioning, which is always going to be helpful to any angler.

A GPS system is essential to a good fish finder, and this model provides a slightly improved version of the original. This translates to better accuracy in positioning, which is always going to be helpful to any angler.

A great display is truly essential on any fish finder, and this is where the Helix 5 models in general really shine. Their landscape orientation, backlit screens, and vivid colors make it easy to see what’s happening. As for the SI GPD model, it retains easy to read information such as water depth and temperature. It is quite large though and takes up a fair bit of the screen real estate.

In terms of software, you get the excellent UniMap, which is already loaded on the Helix 5 devices. This provides access to 3D maps of all of the major rivers, lakes, and coastlines around the country.

If you want to save your way-points, you get up to 2,500 of them, but you’ll need to push a micro-SD card into the provided slot. Given the low price of micro-SD cards, this is not a big deal. If you really want, you can also use a micro-SD card for loading other mapping software onto the Helix 5, though UniMap should do for most purposes.

The Helix 5 is one sophisticated device, and a mere 20 volts of DC power ensures that it can generate a powerful 500 watts of sonar. This will go down to a depth of at least 1,500 feet in 2D mode. If you want a super wide image, you can power it up at the cost of overall resolution. Fortunately, this Helix model allows you to run both modes at the same time for the best and most accurate results.

There are also two really useful sonar modes: Max and Clear. The Clear mode is great for when you want to find slower moving targets, such as schooling fish. The image in this mode is clear and it does a good job of filtering out all of the excess signals, such as silt.

If you want to find game fish, faster moving fish, or even geological features and objects, Max mode is the one to use. What’s very useful in this mode is the color coding of objects that allows you to see how close they are to the boat.


​If your needs don’t include 3D sonar and you want to save a bit of money, the Helix 5 DI GPS is a good option.

It may not have the 3D sonar mode of the SI model, but this is more than made up for by the quality of the landscape oriented screen.

If your needs don’t include 3D sonar and you want to save a bit of money, the Helix 5 DI GPS is a good option. It may not have the 3D sonar mode of the SI model, but this is more than made up for by the quality of the landscape oriented screen.

If you can live with the fact that the included sonar is only two dimensional, the screen will really bring the images to life.

This has the same screen as all the other Helix 5 models, and the landscape orientation makes it easy to handle and read. Moreover, the images themselves are of good resolution and have back lighting that makes them very easy to read and interpret either day or night.

The DI – or Down Imaging – feature is very powerful. It may not do side imaging, but it shows up geological features and fish from narrow to wide coverage. This feature also makes it an excellent choice for kayaking.

This model may not have the UniMap software included, but it is compatible with AutoChart. This means that you can map with sonar and then save them as a file compatible with LakeMaster software. Included GPS makes this a breeze.


​This model from Humminbird is the Helix 5 model with an included internal GPS. If you’re not in need of Down Imaging or Side Imaging, then this is well worth a look if your budget stretches to it.

This model from Humminbird is the Helix 5 model with an included internal GPS. If you’re not in need of Down Imaging or Side Imaging, then this is well worth a look if your budget stretches to it.

​For your money, you get the Helix 5 screen in landscape orientation that is orders of magnitude above many other models from other manufacturers.

This high quality, and high resolution screen makes every image pop with color and detail. It’s also backlit, just as with the other models. Making it great for viewing at any time of day or night.

The internal GPS system is what really sets this Helix 5 model apart from the competition. It is well calibrated and is also very accurate. It can show your location to within 2.5 meters. This means that you can plot a course, set up to 50 way-points per route, and go to your favorite fishing spots quickly and without fuss.

This unit lacks DI and SI, but if you don’t need to pay the extra money for the more complex models, this Helix 5 has all of the basics you’ll ever need.

Unfortunately it does not have CHIRP like the other two units. So what is CHIRP sonar exactly ?

CHIRP send a range of frequencies in a continuous burst allowing it to get much better image clarity and separation of objects.

It also has an included SD card for when you need to save map and way-point data. This unit will also save your history as a trail of breadcrumbs should you ever need to track your navigation easily.

If you want to save sonar data, you’ll need to have inserted a blank SD card. This is a bit of a limitation, but SD cards are inexpensive enough that it should not matter too much to most users. Also bear in mind that even if you invest in a transducer for DI or SO, this particular model won’t be able to display that information.


There’s a whole lot to like about the Helix 5 series from, Humminbird.

The TFT screens with 256 color capability are fantastic for seeing all of the details and for getting accurate readings.

Finally, the three models above represent great offering in their niche. Just be sure to carefully review your needs as there are some differences in terms of feature offerings.