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Author Topic:   HUMMINBIRD HELIX 7
jimh posted 07-05-2015 09:36 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
As I mentioned previously, multi-function displays with a 7-inch diagonal screen size have become a market segment with many new products competing. HUMMINGBIRD has joined the fray with a new line of products they call their HELIX 7 models.

The HELIX 7 models--there are six variations--all have a 7-inch, 8-bit color, 1500-nit high-brightness, 800 x 480-pixel 16:9 widescreen display. The display is not a touchscreen, and a number of conventional buttons provide the user interface. In Humminbird's promotions they seem to be stressing the brightness and clarity of the display as a significant feature or advantage of the HELIX 7.

The HELIX 7 models have a significant lack of features than may be important for integration of the device into small boats:

--no NMEA-2000 network connection (but NMEA-0183 is provided)

--no AIS support

--no auto pilot support

--no RADAR support

--no external GPS receiver support

Also lacking in the HELIX 7 series is support for many digital chart formats that are available with other Humminbird devices.

The six model available in the HELIX 7 series are:

--HELIX 7 SI GPS

--HELIX 7 SI GPS KVD

--HELIX 7 DI GPS

--HELIX 7 SONAR GPS

--HELIX 7 DI

--HELIX 7 SONAR

I have not been able to sort out the essential differences between all these models, but they appear to mainly differ according to the type of SONAR provided. There are four categories for the SONAR:

--SwitchFire® SONAR

--Side Imaging® SONAR

--Down Imaging® SONAR

--DualBeam PLUS® SONAR

Exactly how all these different SONAR methods with their registered names work or a different from competitors is unknown to me; perhaps readers with more curiosity can study this problem and enlighten us.

The model with the KVD suffix is some sort of special version associated with a well-known professional angler (Kevin Van Dam) and bundles with the electronic device some fishing lures said to be particular useful. I am not sure I would make a decision on boat electronics based on the bundling with fishing lures used by a famous professional angler, but perhaps this is an attraction for some buyers.

Hummingbird SONAR and chart plotter devices seem to have their own strong following, particularly among fresh water anglers using smaller lakes. Hummingbird was a leader in introducing side scan SONAR. They have also acquired several chart publishers and continue to produce their own proprietary digital charts which are said to be particularly good for anglers due to the detail provided on the lake bottom depths and contours for lakes which might not be surveyed and charted in such detail by other publishers of digital charts.

For me, no-NMEA-2000 in a display device spells no-interest, and I am surprised by this omission from the entire HELIX 7 line. I don't know the MSRP or MAP prices, but I suspect that this series will compete on the basis of low price, considering all the common features it omits.

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