Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP G2/G2N Review

The original HELIX 7 was a very popular fish finder series from Humminbird. They were some of the first affordable 7 inch fish finders with side imaging, and had a bright, high end glass bonded display.  It’s typical for most companies to refresh a series every 2-3 years, and the G2/G2N versions are now here.

These new units have the same 800×480 pixel display, same transducers, with a bunch of new fishing capabilities packed into the hardware and software. This HELIX 7 G2/G2N review will outline what exactly is new and different with the new series, and how to choose the right model for the kind of fishing you like to do.

HELIX 7 G2/G2N Series Overview

Model: Sonar: Networking: 360 Compatible:
HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N CHIRP 2D, DI, SI YES YES
HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2 CHIRP 2D, DI, SI NO NO
HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2N CHIRP 2D, DI YES YES
HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 CHIRP 2D, DI NO NO
HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G2N CHIRP 2D YES YES
HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G2 CHIRP 2D NO NO

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Specifications

  • Display: 7 Inch glass bonded (800×480 pixels), 16 bit Color TFT
  • Sonar: 83/200kHz
  • Down Imaging: 455/800kHz on DI Models, 455 kHz only on SI models.
  • Side Imaging: 455kHz (The HDSI transducer upgrade will provide stronger 455kHz signals)
  • Networking: Ethernet capable on G2N models
  • 360 Compatible: G2N models
  • Live Mapping: AutoChart Live/Hardness Mapping/Vegetation Mapping
  • Memory: Micro SD Card Slot for Storage or Mapping Cards
  • Compatible Maps: Lakemaster, Navionics, Hotmaps

What’s NEW with the G2 and G2N?

While most of the features and technical specifications have remained the same, there are some important and exciting new features you should know about.

  • CHIRP Sonar & Imaging – All but the very basic Sonar only model have received an upgrade to CHIRP Sonar and CHIRP Imaging. All this means to you is that instead of pinging the sonar at a fixed frequency, the unit can emit and receive across a small band of frequencies. This helps to produce better imaging clarity and better target separation on sonar.
  • Ethernet Networking (G2N) – Any model with  the “G2N” designation now have an ethernet connection on the back of the unit. You need to buy dongle cables AS EC QDE for each unit you want to connect, and a 5 port ethernet switch AS ETH 5PXG for networking more than two units.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity – You can sync your phone to Bluetooth enable HELIX 7 units to see text notifications, so you don’t have to check your pocket every time. You can control your HELIX 7 hands-free using the optional remote. Limited Time – Get a free Bluetooth remote with purchase from 1/1/2017 through 4/30/2017 using this redemption form.
  • AutoChart Live – AutoChart Live lets you self map uncharted waters. As you drive your boat, the depth lines are drawn onto your screen, showing you important depth changes and structure that could be good fishing spots. There is storage on the unit for 8 hours of recordings, and much more when you use a AutoChart Zero Lines card.
  • AutoChart Bottom Hardness – New this year for all HELIX 7 G2/G2N (and Gen 1 with software update), including HELIX 7 is bottom hardness mapping. Using the AutoChart menus, you can turn on the bottom hardness layer and see exactly how the hardness relates to the depth lines. Fish are drawn to hard bottoms and bottom transitions, and this tool can reveal the crucial details.
  • AutoChart Vegetation Mapping – Like the Bottom Hardness, there is now a Vegetation layer you can display. After running AC Live across your favorite areas, you can turn this layer on and see all the edges, inside/outside turns, holes, and fingers in the grass beds.
AC Live Info

AutoChart Live

ACL BottomHardness

Bottom Hardness

ACL Vegetation

Vegetation Mapping

  • SmartStrikeHELIX 7 G2 an G2N models equipped with GPS are now compatible with SmartStrike mapping cards. These cards are just like the regular regional LakeMaster mapping cards, except they have the additional SmartStrike data. With the card and the unit, it can highlight your map with possible fishing areas based on what you input into the menus.
  • LakeMaster PLUS – This is another type of mapping cards now compatible with HELIX 7 G2/G2N units (as well as older HELIX 7 with the latest software). These cards display satellite imagery and aerial photos of the land surrounding the bodies of water.
  • 360 Capable (G2N) – Since each G2N model is now Ethernet capable, these models can now display the exclusive 360 Imaging. Bow 360 allows you to see up to 150 feet all around you at all times. You can track schools of bait and fish as well as pinpoint cast to specific targets around you.
  • New Keypad Functions – With the latest software release, the HELIX 7 and up have some new keypad functionality that is very convenient. A) The + and – keys now adjust sonar and imaging sensitivity on the fly. B) The check mark key will now change the sonar/imaging frequency on the fly as well. This is far easier than drilling through the menus. C) The waypoint key has a short and long press function. Long press will save a waypoint with a snapshot, and short press will save just the waypoint.

Related: Top Fish Finders for the Money

Which HELIX 7 is Best?

If you want down and side imaging, plus networking, then without a doubt you will want to go with the HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N – the best model in the series. It is great for adding to a network of units on your boat. If you wanted to invest in a Bow 360 Imaging unit, this is the lowest cost unit that is 360 capable.

IMPORTANT: If you buy the HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N or the HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2, you should consider upgrading the transducer. These units are packaged with the “Compact SI” transducer (XNT 9 SI 180 T). For a small fee, you can exchange it for the HDSI transducer (XHS 9 HDSI 180 T) and get better imaging results.

For kayak fishing, the HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 or HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G2 are good options because they have GPS mapping and CHIRP sonar. 7 inch units can be a little big for a kayak, but rarely is there regret when getting a bigger screen.

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