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Humminbird is known for making some of the best fish finders on the market. Even when buying one of their lower priced units, you still get a high level of performance and quality. One of such examples is the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4, which is the most affordable fish finder from this brand. For the price, you get great sonar features, but no navigation capability. In the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 review below, we’ll look at all its features in more detail.
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Features
Display and Control Unit
The compact size of this fish finder makes it a perfect choice for kayaks, canoes and small boats. It features a 4.3-inch display, which is big enough for easy reading of all the images and small enough for easy installation on a kayak and other portable use.
However, there’s one downside to the small size of the display. It doesn’t support split-screen viewing, so it can show only one panel at a time.
One of the upgrades from older PiranhaMAX models is also the addition of color and higher resolution. It features a 272 x 480 pixel matrix and 256 color count.
The unit’s readability is also considerably increased by the integrated LED backlighting. This makes it easy to read the images no matter whether it’s sunny, foggy or dark at night.
The fish finder is also easy to use. It has simple keypad control that allows quick and easy navigation through its menus and settings.
Lastly, this display is also built for durability. With all the internal components sealed tight, it’s waterproof and will not get damaged in the rain or when splashed with water.
The Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 comes with a Dual Beam transducer. It supports frequencies 200kHz and 455kHz, which produces two conical beams with one being wider and the other narrower. When transmitting at 200kHz frequency, it creates a 28 degree wide conical beam. At 455kHz frequency, it creates a 16 degree conical beam.
When using these two conical beams, you are the water in two different ways. The wider beam scans with more coverage, so you get a bigger picture of what’s underwater. The narrow beam scans deeper with more detailed returns.
Since this fish finder doesn’t have Dual Beam Plus, but offers only Dual Beam sonar, it can transmit only one frequency at a time. It can’t use both beams simultaneously.
As for the device’s scanning depth capability, it’s up to 320 feet when using the 455kHz frequency and up to 600 feet at 600kHz. Keep in mind also that this is its depth capability in freshwater. In saltwater, it will be less. However, for the price and size of this fish finder, 600 feet scanning reach is very impressive.
One of the advantages of this unit is also that you can tweak how you want the sonar returns to display. For example, you can zoom into parts of the sonar to get a clearer reading of the underwater.
You can also adjust the contrast, which would give weaker returns brighter pixels and stronger returns darker pixels. By increasing the contrast, you can create a more obvious distinction in detail, making it easier to identify fish and structure.
Another way to change how sonar returns are displayed is by switching to the Fish ID+ mode. It will replace fish arches with fish icons, which would make it easier to separate fish from structure and bottom. This function can be especially useful for those that are not familiar yet with how to read raw sonar data.
One more sonar feature that this fish finder offers is the WhiteLine function, which highlights the strongest returns in white. It creates a clearly defined line of the bottom and it shows in white other targets, such as a tightly packed group of fish, that might have signal strength similar to that of the bottom.
This feature can be useful for visually separating fish targets that are positioned on or close to the bottom. It can also be used for determining target strength of an individual fish or school of fish.
One more sonar feature that is worth mentioning is the alarm function. There are three different alarms that you can set. One is for fish detection, the second one is for when you reach a certain depth and the third one is for low battery. When setting the fish alarm, you can also choose the fish size requirement for the alarm to activate. You can choose between small, medium and big fish.
Unfortunately, the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 does not offer any navigation features. It’s designed solely for sonar performance. However, considering the unit’s price, it’s not surprising that the function is not included.
Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Pros and Cons
Overall, if you’re looking for a fish finder with simple, yet effective sonar performance, the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a great option. It offers traditional 2D sonar, 600 feet depth capability and lots of useful sonar features that will make your fishing an easier and more fun experience. However, if you’re looking for a fish finder chartplotter that will also have more advanced sonar capability and greater depth reach, then one of the more expensive Humminbird units might be a better choice for you. In this case, we would recommend checking out Humminbird Helix 5 or Helix 7.