Humminbird Helix Series

Humminbird’s New Helix Series

Since I work at a major outdoors retailer I have had the opportunity to put my hands on a couple of the new Helix series units from Hummingbird®. The only two units we have on display are the Helix 5 and the Helix 7 units. But from Humminbird’s own website I was able to obtain the specifications from the rest of their Helix units. They are also producing a Helix 9, a Helix 10 and a Helix 12 that will be available in 2016.


Humminbird’s Helix 5

I’ll start off with the Helix 5 SI/GPS unit which is priced at $499.99. This unit has all four options that Humminbird offers in the unit. It has GPS with an internal antenna, sonar which Humminbird calls Switchfire, Down Image and Side Image options. The screen size diagonally is 5” with 800 horizontal by 480 vertical pixels. The color display is TFT (see below for description of TFT color) with 256 colors. The units puts out 500 watts of power plenty enough for most shallow freshwater applications. The transducer included it not Humminbird’s HD or high definition transducers the one included is their XNT 9 SI 180T model. This would make a great low priced entry level side image unit for anyone looking to purchase their first down image and side image unit.


Humminbird’s Helix 7

The next unit that is in the Helix line is Humminbird’s Helix 7 SI/GPS unit which is priced at $699.99. Not too huge of a price jump but for what they offer in this units I’d probably say about $100.00 too high. The reason I say this is that the only big difference in the Helix 5 and the Helix 7 units is the 7” diagonal screen. The Color of the display is still 256 TFT colors and the pixel count is the same as the Helix 5 which should have a better picture than the Helix 7 since they both have the same number of pixels but with the Helix 7 they are spread out larger across the screen at 800 horizontal by 480 vertical pixels. The unit puts out 500 watts of power same as the Helix 5, and has the same transducer the XNT 9 SI 180T model.


Humminbird’s Helix 9

The next Helix model is the Helix 9 SI/GPS model introduced this year as well. The price jumps $300 this time to $999.99 still too high for the same features as the Helix 5 and Helix 7 models in that it too has 800 horizontal by 480 vertical pixels on the 9” diagonal screen. The color is increased to 65,000 TFT instead of the 256 as the two prior models. The power output jumps to 1000 watts but still uses the same model transducer the XNT 9 SI 180T. This unit will be available around the middle of November 2015.


Humminbird’s Helix 10

Now we’re getting into the two upper models in the Helix line the Helix 10 and the Helix 12. First the Helix 10 model specs., The screen size is 10” diagonally with a pixel count jumping up the 1024 horizontal by 600 vertical which should give you a clearer scrre in both the Down Image and the side Image views. The color is still TFT by again 65,000 colors. The power output is 1000 watts and the Helix 10 now includes Humminbird’s High Definition transducer the XHS9 HDSI 180T model. The price jumps up $500 from the Helix 9 model at $1499.99. The price is not too bad for a Down Image Side Image unit with a 10” screen. The Helix 10 should be available around the end of November 2015.


Humminbird’s Helix 12

Finally I’ll discuss Humminbird’s Helix 12 the top of the line unit in the Helix series. The price tag jumps big time on this unit $600 from the Helix 10 unit to $2299.99 and should be available by the middle of February 2016. The biggest difference in the Helix 12 from the Helix 10 is the pixel count jumps up to 1280 horizontal by 800 vertical which should give the user a very clear Down and side Image view on this unit. The color remains the same as the Helix 10 in that both have 65,000 colors and use the TFT screens. Both units have the same High Definition XHS9 HDSI 180T transducer and both have 1000 watts of power. These units are network capable and have double side by side SD card slots. The Helix 12 should be available in February of 2016 as well.

Link to description of Color TFT

The Differences between 256 Colors, 16-Bit Colors
Two hundred fifty-six colors, 16-bit colors are terms that describe “color depth,” the number of colors displayed on your computer screen. Early monochrome screens displayed white, green, or amber text on a black background. Computers with those screens use a single bit per pixel to represent color. Since a bit has two possible states (1 or 0), each pixel can be in one of two states, on or off. If the pixel is “on,” that means it is glowing, which shows up as white (or green or amber, depending on the screen).
256 colors
It wasn’t long before people wanted more color on their screens. The next step  were screens that could display 16 different colors. This requires four bits per pixel. Four bits can represent 16 possible states because 2 to the 4th power is 16. But with only 16 colors, you still don’t get a very realistic color effect.
The next step up was 8 bits per pixel, which allows 256 colors. That’s about the level of color you see in business graphics. When you get to 256 colors (8-bit color), you can start making cartoons and graphics that look like drawings. Icons, for the most part, use either 16 or 256 colors.
16-bit color
The 256-color scheme is pretty good for simple graphics but not for photo reproduction. As graphic displays on the computer got more sophisticated, people wanted to see photos on their computers and on the Web, so they added even more bits per pixel. With 16 bits per pixel (16-bit color) you get 2 to the 16th power worth of color combinations — 65,000 color combinations. That’s sometimes called a high-color display, and it’s good enough for most graphics. Most games use 16-bit color.