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Humminbird Helix 9 Review

Last Updated: 23.09.23

Main advantage

Seeing the price tag that comes with this fish finder, it is natural to expect superior performance in every way. The Helix 9 comes equipped with cutting edge technologies that help you see the underwater world like never before. MEGA Side Imaging+ and MEGA Down Imaging+ work together to provide you with amazingly crisp images of the water bodies you want to explore in your search for fish to catch.

The performance is truly outstanding, as you can explore up distances of up to 200 feet to both sides, as well as up to 200 feet down from your boat. Another thing you will be pleased to learn is that the sonar frequency is triple the value of the traditional frequency of 455 kHz, which results in the superior results mentioned above.

When you use a fish finder to identify the schools of fish moving under your boat, the images you can observe may not always be clear. It is quite easy to mistake algae and other things for fish, and that is why cheap models might not be able to point you to the area mostly inhabited by fish with high accuracy.

The Helix 9 offers tremendous precision, and, because of the clarity of the image provided, you will see the fish moving in the water, and you won’t be easily misled. The Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar is capable of identifying fish schools while making it comfortable for you to tell them apart from the bottom of the water body and other structures.

Another thing that makes the excellent performance of this fish finder stand out is the ability to see the underwater world in two modes. One is called Wide Mode, and its central role is to provide the maximum coverage while sacrificing some of the details. The other is called the Narrow Mode, which focuses on providing you with the maximum amount of details in a small area.

The sonar also comes equipped with a plethora of features that increase its performance and also justifies the high price range. While you may feel daunted when you see how much this fish finder costs, at the same time, you may be well aware of the fact that such performance would not be achieved without investing a lot in imaging technologies, and overall high-quality components. In brief, performance-wise, this fish finder can’t be beaten.


Main disadvantage

You would expect a fish finder this expensive to come equipped with all the needed accessories, and even something on top of that. The package does include several essential extras, such as the necessary mounting hardware, a power cable, a gimbal mounting bracket, and a unit cover.

Still, you can’t help but notice that the transducer doesn’t come with a trolling motor mount, and that can be considered an overlook on the manufacturer’s part. You won’t have all the mounting possibilities readily available, and this aspect takes some from the overall value of the product.

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Main features explained


The power of CHIRP imaging

While we talked earlier about the high performance of this model, it is the right moment to talk a little in-depth about the CHIRP feature. This particular imaging technology was created as an addition to military GPS units, and that tells a bit about how its performance was thought from the get-go. Later on, it was employed on high-end fish finders, like this one.

The main upside of this technology is that it delivers excellent image clarity, something of significant importance for anglers who need to see if they can identify schools of fish without mistaking them for other things underwater. The technology uses bouncing waves to bombard an area, and these waves have various strengths, which helps with identifying more clearly the things moving underwater.

Other imaging technologies can only use one type of pulse, hence the somewhat muddy image they provide on the display of the fish finder. With CHIRP, you get the absolute best readings a unit of this type can provide. Finding fish schools has never been easier, and it is commendable that the Helix 9 comes equipped with it.

Earlier, we mentioned that CHIRP was used mainly for military GPS units, and it is a good thing that this fish finder also has GPS functionality. That makes it easier for you to find your way around, and you won’t have to worry about getting lost when you explore areas you’ve never been to. You will like the fact that the GPS feature can also tell you how fast you travel.


Other excellent navigation features

Any angler knows how important navigation features are for a unit that combines the power of GPS with superior imaging. While they are well intended for their purpose, which is to describe the water world and that around you in a way you can easily understand, they cannot replace other cool navigation features such as charts and maps.

This fish finder comes equipped with the Humminbird Basemap. An incredibly useful source of charts, this platform will prove of great use to you. All the charts offered by the platform are based on NOAA information and covers inland and offshore locations for the bodies of water you want to explore with the help of such a great navigation unit.

You will be even more impressed when you’ll hear the numbers. This platform contains no fewer than 10,000 lakes in the US, and, along with the depth contours, the unit also provides information on the location of various docks, marinas, buoys, hazards, roads, hotels, and camping grounds. As you can see, your fish finder is capable of more than just identifying fish schools for you.

Should you decide to upgrade your unit, it is possible to access chart bases from other manufacturers. For instance, your Helix 9 can work just as fine with SmartStrike, LakeMaster, or Navionics, without a glitch.

Another exciting feature is the AutoChart Live. With its help, you can track the depth contours of the water body and have them presented in the shape of an overlay map. There is even a possibility to create your own maps.


Exceptional clarity with the SwitchFire feature

Since the sonar installed on this unit offers such tremendous advantages, it is a good idea to take a look at one feature that makes it so great. All the Helix fish finders now have CHIRP, and one extra feature for it is the DualBeam SwitchFire. Besides the cool name, you should also know that this feature is responsible for making it easy for you to switch from a broad look to a narrow look so that you can examine essential details.

It is safe to say that even the superior CHIRP performance anyone knows about wouldn’t be so outstanding without the SwitchFire. The company making this fish finder created its own Time Variable Gain feature and named it like this. You don’t have to worry about images becoming blurry and impossible to read. This feature will bring crisp details where there were none.

Not only you will be able to see if the things swimming in the water are fish, but you will also be able to tell if they are big enough to catch. Since many fishing locations have strict regulations about the fish size that you can catch and take home with you, this is one excellent feature to have.

The feature changes the frequency from the broad look, which uses 83 kHz, to the clearer one, that uses 200 kHz. By alternating between them, you can quickly identify the best spots to cast your line so that you can maximize your chances of catching something.


The superior control display

One thing you will love about this unit, besides the excellent sonar and navigation features, is the control display. This model comes equipped with a 9-inch TFT display in 16-bit colors that uses a resolution of 1024×600. There is no better display you can get on a fish finder, and you will be able to check the readings in perfect image quality.

For readability, this model comes with LED backlighting, which serves when there’s not enough light, and even when there’s too much. You’ll appreciate the 85-degree angle viewing clarity, and overall, you will know that you’re holding a high-quality item. In case you happen to splash some water on the screen, that won’t be an issue, as the IPX7 waterproof rating is a guarantee that it won’t get damaged.

You should know that the Helix 9 doesn’t have a touchscreen, but it does come with an easy to use keypad control. Going through all the menus, selecting apps, and various features can be done only with the keypad, but you will get the hang of it quite quickly, so that’s not a bother.

Many people love how intuitive the interface is. Also, since it is Bluetooth compatible, you can hook your phone with your fish finder and take advantage of the notifications that will be transmitted directly to you. At the same time, you’ll be able to keep your phone in your pocket, away from water, and the possible damage that may occur.


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