Two years in development, Humminbird’s new ONIX and ION models offer anglers something different in marine electronics. The two models are the most-powerful Humminbird has ever offered, and were introduced at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.
Both units showcase Humminbird’s new Cross Touch technology that offers both touchscreen and keypad operation. Multi Gesture Control lets you select and adjust every feature with just one or two fingers. You can build a home screen page that allows you to access your favorite features with just a touch, and you can bring up that home screen simply by swiping two fingers downward on the display.
Saving a waypoint is as easy as touching the spot you want to save on a chart or sonar screen and holding your finger in place for a moment. Cross Touch is even designed to minimize false touches from splashing water.
Everyone with a smart phone knows that touchscreen controls are easy, convenient and intuitive, but there are times on a boat when keypad controls can be better. While pounding along through rough water in the rain, for instance, it can be difficult to apply the correct pressure and motion on exactly the right part of the screen with fingers.
The “Cross” in Cross Touch comes from the fact that the touchscreen controls are backed up by a full keypad ready to perform all functions manually.
Everything you can do with touchscreen controls can also be accomplished via the keypad.
So ONIX or ION — which is right for you? If you are a freshwater angler or an inshore saltwater fisherman looking for an all-in-one combo unit with an 8- or 10-inch screen that fits on (or in) your console, the ONIX was designed with you in mind.
It can be used with its built-in GPS antenna or with an optional external antenna if you need to mount the unit where it can’t get a clear view of the horizon.
ONIX models can use Humminbird AutoChart that lets you make your own maps, C-MAP 4D High Resolution Bathymetry, Navionics Gold/HotMaps, Navionics Platinum Plus and Humminbird LakeMaster digital GPS charts. Humminbird calls this TriFuel Cartography because it includes mapping from three sources: Navionics, C-MAP and Humminbird.
Both ONIX and ION models have dual SD card slots for map and chart cards.
Standard ONIX equipment includes down-looking DualBeam Plus sonar with SwitchFire filtering that lets you see only what you need to see on a cleaned-up screen or allows you to see virtually everything in a raw view.
ONIX SI models add HD Side and Down Imaging for picture-like views of the water under and on both sides of the boat. Both models have sonar with Digital Signal Processing.
ONIX models are compatible with other equipment including the Minn Kota i-Pilot Link that lets you control a Minn Kota i-Pilot trolling motor right from the ONIX screen; Humminbird’s 360 Imaging system that shows you the underwater world all the way around your boat with the clarity of its Side Imaging technology; low-, medium- and high-frequency CHIRP sonar for more detail at different (especially deeper) depths; Humminbird radar; Humminbird’s autopilot; and even the company’s AIS module thht helps you see and be seen when you get near commercial shipping areas.
ONIX also has connections for NMEA 0183 and 2000 networks.
ONIX Models come with either 8.4-inch or 10.4-inch color touchscreens ready to display detail in 1024 by 768 pixel resolution.
If you have a larger boat and would rather take a networked component approach to the installation of your electronics, the new Humminbird ION rates a close look.
The ION multifunction display is designed to be the centerpiece for an expandable network of devices over a broad range of technologies.
As with ONIX, ION displays use the Cross Touch system combining touchscreen and keypad control, and offer the same XGA detail. But the units come with 10.4-inch or 12.1-inch screens. You can put a display at your boat’s main helm, one up on the flying bridge, one in the cabin and even one at the stern’s open fishing area, and then control everything from any of those locations.
The ION, like the ONIX, can use all of Humminbird’s Side, Down and 360 Imaging systems as well as conventional DualBeam down-looking sonar and Humminbird’s new multi-range CHIRP sonar.
Humminbird CHIRP provides high-, medium- and low-frequency ranges so you can adjust the unit for the job at hand. High-range (130 to 210 kHz) can reach down to 3,300 feet, and reveal baitfish and game fish commonly found at shallower depths with a precise, high-frequency beam. Medium-range (85 to 135 kHz) can reach as deep as 6,500 feet and find larger game fish like tuna and swordfish. Low-range (28 to 65 kHz) can reach down to 10,000 feet to track the bottom.
Humminbird’s TriFuel cartography, including access to Navionics, C-MAP and Humminbird charts, is standard equipment — and world base maps from all three chartmakers come built-in. The Humminbird mapping might be a bit light on saltwater information, but Humminbird’s AutoChart accessory will let you make your own saltwater maps of favorite areas.
ION models can use Humminbird radar scanners, autopilots and AIS modules, and can interface with NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 networks.
If you’ve decided to take the networked component approach with a smaller boat, ION can use the Minn Kota i-Pilot link to control a Minn Kota i-Pilot trolling motor. You can even “stay connected” within limits using ION’s built-in wireless Internet browser. It works at the dock on its own and if you add Humminbird’s accessory antenna it will work up to two miles offshore.
A quick visit to a NOAA website can give you a look at local, regional and national weather, and quite possibly save the day. Call up the virtual keyboard to compose emails (or to name waypoints).
ONIX and ION units are scheduled to reach dealers’ shelves in February, and will be priced competitively. Suggested retail prices are as follows: ONIX8ci Combo with 8.4-inch screen is $1,999.99; ONIX8ci SI with the same screen plus Side And Down Imaging built in is $2,699.99; ONIX10ci with 10.4-inch screen is $2,499.99; ONIX10ci SI with same screen plus Side and Down Imaging is $3,199.99; ION 10 with 10.4-inch screen is $2,499.99 and the ION 12 with 12.1-inch screen is $2,999.99.