Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI Review
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The Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is the next high-end consumer-grade model of fish finder to come from the Humminbird company which specializes in fish finding and chart plotting equipment–though the company has slowly begun expanding within the past couple years into new departments of outdoor products.
Regardless, Humminbird still understands where it gets its bread and butter and makes it a point to provide some of the best fishing navigation and imaging hardware on the market. Keep in mind, this is not necessarily what you would consider true “professional-grade” due to its somewhat smaller size, but it still features most of the top-tier features that are included in all of Humminbird’s new Mega” lineup of fish finders.
It is also worth noting that though the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is technically a consumer-grade fish finder, it is definitely a model that can compete with the best of the best from any manufacturer within its same grade. That said, the best does not come cheap, and though it may not carry the same multiple thousands of dollars price tag that a professional-grade fish finder might, it is still well over $1000.
There is no getting around the fact that the biggest feature of the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is the new Mega imaging system. For being a consumer-grade model, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is truly impressive as this new imaging system provides a clarity of detail that was once reserved almost exclusively for much larger vessels fishing the largest game in deep sea and ocean waters.
Considering that you do not have to contend with those conditions, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI offers more than enough clarity to allow you to see exactly what and where everything is. In fact, the Mega imaging system is aptly named as it is the first consumer-grade fish finder that offers megahertz level imaging providing such detail as the ability to apply this system to both the side and down transducer signals.
It should be noted that the increase in frequency may provide additional clarity and detail, but it also has a much shorter distance for which it is effective. Thankfully, the Mega imaging system is simply part of the CHIRP sonar transducer that the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI uses which also include the full spectrum of traditional frequencies to provide a complete and extended image profile of the surrounding area or potential depths.
Of course, while the inclusion of the Mega imaging system is great, it does not necessarily help those who need solid imaging for distances beyond 125’. Thankfully, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is not content to merely possess the best imaging for objects that are relatively close to your position and also include both the digital CHIRP sonar as well as the dual spectrum CHIRP sonar with the option of expanding that even further with the low airmar CHIRP sonar–though it should be noted that the last form of CHIRP imaging will increase the cost of the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI but is pretty much necessary if you intend to use it while out on deeper lakes or further from the coast.
The range of primary sonar frequencies–including the CHIRP arpeggios–runs from 50 kHz all the way up to 1.2 MHz. For the optional depth-sonar frequency range, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI can achieve a maximum depth of 3500’ with a maximum depth of only 1200’ from the standard transducer–though that is generally more than enough for most freshwater fishing.
Still, the actually transducers are only half of the story when it comes to imaging as it does not matter how exquisite of detail the sonar can receive if the display is not capable of keeping up. Thankfully, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI provides an excellent display that is 9” diagonally and offers an 800×400 SSD resolution. The LCD display features a glass-bonded panel that provides 1500 nits of illumination which is over 5000 lumens.
Considering that the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is definitively a consumer-grade fish finder, high-end though it may be, it was made with the idea of expansion in mind. Basically, if you can think of a major piece of software, hardware, or protocol, then there is a better than not chance that it will work with the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI. To be clear, not only will the vast majority of major accessory products function with the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI, they do so near seamlessly.
For instance, if you get to the point where you either own a larger vessel or simply want to expand your fishing equipment setup, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is compatible with an ethernet connection, allowing it to serve as merely part of a much larger system. In this instance, it can still offer some of the best short range imaging available while being able to accommodate equipment specifically for different settings.
An excellent example of this would be the inclusion of NMEA 2000 hardware to make sure that you can maintain regular communication with your peers and those on land. Of course, if you are also on the cutting edge of motors, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI also supports coordination with the Minn Kota trolling motor, allowing you to control the boat remotely from the comfort of a remote control. On top of that, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI also includes connectivity with any AIS hardware you may have aboard–in case the remote piloting or even the autopilot compatibility features take you off course.
One of the best, but arguably most obvious forms of compatibility is the inclusion of Bluetooth with the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI, so you can effortlessly connect your various smart devices to the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI. Aside from the fact that this provides you with alternative options when controlling the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI’s features, it also allows you to connect numerous other apps to the fish finder as well.
This actually goes hand in hand with many of the when Humminbird saw the writing on the wall and made the transition to a mobile platform. For instance, both LakeMaster and AutoChart Live are available and compatible giving you unparalleled power in terms of personal cartography. Not only that, but the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI also comes with an internal GPS capable of storing up to 2,750 waypoints and 45 routes.
In the end, whether or not the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is worth the higher cost will depend on exactly what you want out of your fish finder. If you want a fish finder that can render some of the clearest and most detailed images a consumer-grade product ever has, then you may want to bite the bullet and pony up for a Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI. Of course, some of the more traditional purists will likely be content with older, less capable models, but with so many options and the ability to expand its functioning, the Humminbird Helix 9 CHIRP Mega SI is easily in a class on its own.
|Lowrance Hook2-9 TripleShot||Garmin EchoMap Plus 93sv||Humminbird Helix 9 Mega SI|
|Screen Size||9 in||9 in||9 in|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 800 pixels||480 x 800 pixels||480 x 800 pixels|
|Display Type||16-bit color TFT||WVGA||16-bit color TFT|
|Imaging||2D, DownScan, StructureScan, Downscan Overlay||2D, Down Imaging, Side Imaging||2D, Down Imaging, Side Imaging|
|Transducer Type||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount/Trolling Motor||Transom Mount|
|Transmit Power||Max 500W RMS||500W RMS|
4,000W peak to peak
|Sonar Frequency||83/200 kHz + 455/800 kHz|| |
CHIRP (low, mid, high)
Traditional: 50/77/83/200 kHz
ClearVü: 260/455/800 kHz
SideVü: 260/455/800 kHz
|50/83/200/455/800 kHz & 1.2 MHz|
|GPS Antenna Type||10kHz Internal high-sensitivity WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS||Internal||Internal|
|Default Maps||3000 US lake maps |
US coastal maps