Imagine this scene. I’ve just bought a brand-new fish finder. My mates are scoffing at me because I paid a lot of money for it. I tell them confidently that I’ll be the one laughing when I get back with a boatload of fish. We even make a friendly wager.
Fast forward to four hours later and I’m the picture of frustration. I was squinting in the bright sun at my precious fish finder and I could barely make out the data it was showing me. The screen was, as it turns out, too tiny for my middle-aged eyes. I couldn’t catch, much less find, any fish.
It was bad enough having to eat crow, but it killed me having to pay out those bets. What was worse, though, was having to admit to myself that I’d bought an expensive gadget I couldn’t use.
That’s what prompted me to write this Humminbird Helix 10 SI review. There are a lot of reviews out there. Most of them sing the praises of the product that they’re reviewing. That’s how I got hooked in the first place.
I decided to change things up a bit. For this Humminbird Helix 10 review, I’m going to tell it like it is. I’ll lay out the good, the bad, and the ugly, so you can decide if this is a model you want to invest in.
Things to Consider Before Buying
It’s basic human nature; we want to buy the most advanced gadgets because we’re worried that we’re missing out on something. When it comes to a fish finder, though, it’s important not to get too carried away.
There are lots of additional features that you can opt for, but what you really need is something that will help you find the fish. You want to be able to go out there and to have a better than average chance of catching something.
Any reasonable fish finder should be able to point you in the right direction. What you need is something that is reliable, and that will give clear images that you can easily interpret. It’s nice to have GPS as well, but all the rest is just gravy.
That’s why the Helix 10 is not for everyone. It’s a great piece of equipment, but it might well prove to be more machine than the average hobbyist needs. If you’ve got your favorite fishing spot, and stick to it because you always get results, you don’t need really need all the flash.
If, on the other hand, you’re a competitive fisherman honing your craft, the Helix 10 could be a good investment for you.
My Humminbird Helix 10 Review
The Humminbird Helix 10 promises outstanding 360-degree imaging within 300 feet of your boat. The company promises accurate and reliable, high-definition imaging with a fully-integrative GPS mapping system.
One of the main differences between this and other models, though, is that it can be controlled wirelessly. You can link it up to your smartphone, so you don’t have to get up and move over to the console every time you want to add a waypoint or read data.
You’re getting a lot of tech here, so it comes in at the mid to upper price range. That makes it unsuitable for those on a tight budget and those who are casual fishers.
This model has been designed for the keen fisherman who likes to head out on the water every chance they get and who has a little cash to spare.
- You get a full picture of what’s going on under and around your boat
- The images are outstanding
- Radar helps to keep you safe from hazards on the water
- The screen is nice and big
- Wireless control makes it more useful on the move
- The price
- You can’t use the chart and zoom at the same time, so it’s not good for trolling
- It’s overkill for the casual fisher who goes out occasionally
Features and Benefits
Fish finders with down imaging only are useful if you’re fishing at greater depths. If you’re in a lake, or shallower waters, though, it’s more useful to be able to see a wider swath of the water. The 360-degree imaging makes this a lot simpler.
You won’t be able to go down as far, but you’ll get to everything within 300 feet of your boat. So, if the fish are swimming toward the rear of the boat, you’ll be able to track them and plan your strategy. If they suddenly change direction, you’ll be able to see that as well.
What sets the Helix 10 apart is that it’s capable of emitting signals at higher-than-standard frequencies. This allows you to pick up details that many other models miss. You’ll be able to pick out small rocks lying on the bottom, and each individual fish.
You’ll see all the action on the 10-inch color display in high def. You’ll be able to see whether that blip on the radar is really a fish or not.
See this in action for yourself.
Being out on the water safely means being able to react in time to hazards, and this is made simpler by the HD radar. You’ll get a warning of hazards up to 24 miles away.
This model also includes Switchfire Technology that enables you to adjust the picture according to the weather conditions. The Clear Mode picks up less detail but is better when the water is choppy or shallow.
The Max Mode showcases all the features of this model. You can switch between the two with a click of a button.
This feature is ideal for those who want to get fishing as fast as possible. This feature will take all the data and analyze it for you to give you the best fishing spots. It will take things like the weather, the seasons, data about the lake into account.
The wireless capabilities of this model mean that you can access data on your smartphone when you’re on the far side of the boat. This feature is useful when the fish are biting at the back of the boat, and your Humminbird is mounted at the front.
What’s also useful is that you can sync your phone so text messages can be read on your fish finder.
What I Liked
Overall, there is a lot to like here. The image quality is excellent, the radar helps you safely navigate when visibility is low, and you get a broad overview of the water all around your boat.
Using and installing this model is simple enough. You may have to read an instruction section or two here and there, but most of it’s pretty intuitive.
The images are relayed in high def. If conditions are right, you’ll even be able to pick out the leaves on the vegetation below. The screen size is a big plus because it means not having to strain to see what’s going on.
I do have to mention that the navigational abilities of this unit are also pretty good. The unit does come with Humminbird’s base maps, and you can easily expand this collection if you want to. You’re also able to create your own custom charts.
What I Didn’t Like
That’s the good, now let’s look at the bad. I think the main issue here is going to be the price. The Helix 10 is more than a simple fish finder, and the price does reflect that. Considering what you’re getting, it’s not badly priced, but you’ll still have to have a fair amount of spare cash lying around.
If you’re on a strict budget, I’d recommend looking at some of Humminbird’s more pared down models. You could try convincing Santa that you’ve been a good all year, but that’s probably not going to make much difference.
Aside from that, if you want to go trolling, you’ll get frustrated because you can’t zoom and use the charts at the same time. To be fair, though, this is a problem that I’ve found with a lot of different models.
So, Humminbird, if you’re reading this, please see if you can come up with a solution.
Overall, this is a good fish finder that has everything that the most avid fisherman could want. Thanks to its navigational capabilities, it’s useful for more than just fishing. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of using it.
The SmartStrike feature is useful if you want to focus more on fishing than analyzing data. If you feel like that’s cheating a little, you don’t have to use it.
Now, getting down to brass tacks, the images produced are outstanding and amongst the best I’ve come across. The size of the screen makes it even easier to read and interpret data. Overall, this is a useful piece of equipment that will be handy if you’re out on the water a lot.
Is it worth the price that you pay? That’s something that you’ll need to figure out for yourself. From the perspective of the features that you’re getting, it’s not badly priced at all. If you’re going to get a lot of use out of it, it makes sense to pay the extra for the quality you’re getting.
If you’re only out on the water occasionally, or you always stick the same one or two spots, then it’s probably not worth it for you.
Another thing to consider is what kind of fishing you’re most likely to do. I’ve already explained that this is not the best option if you like trolling.
On the plus side, Humminbird is known for its innovative products and quality construction. The company offers great customer support and different options.
On the negative side, this model’s range might be considered limited if you like deep sea fishing. The maximum depth of 300 feet might be a bit limited if you’re aiming to hook a marlin off the coast.
You can extend the range by changing out the transducer, but this is going to add to the overall cost.
What it boils down to for me is how much use you’re going to get out of it. If you’re only going to take it out to play a few times a year, then look for something a little less expensive. If you’re going to use it a lot, it should last a few years so it will be worthwhile.
Navigating on the water, particularly when conditions are less than ideal can be problematic. You also have no control over what other people do in the water. If you’ve got some reckless idiot bearing down on you, an early warning of the danger is a plus.
This model’s radar helps you identify hazards from 24 miles away. That’s more than ample time to steer around it. You’ll also be able to get back to shore safely if bad weather creeps up on you or if you’ve been night fishing.
Naturally, though, it’s the fish finding capabilities that you’re probably more interested in here. If you want to see what’s going on in the water, this is one of the better models out there.
If this model isn’t quite what you’re looking for, we’ve got more fish finder reviews.