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Is your machine really the best? part 2

If you follow this wonderful hobby of metal detecting, or only express a distant interest in it, you will need to have been locked down on the Moon or Mars over the last couple of years not to have seen the recent explosion of affordable metal detectors that can hold their own with the big boys.

Minelab rocked the metal detecting scene a couple of years ago with the introduction of their new Equinox 600 and 800 range. This machine was much hyped and eagerly anticipated and it didn’t disappoint. It boasted the first ever true simultaneous multi frequency “Multi IQ” and with recent updates it has gone on to prove itself to be possibly one of the best machines on the market.

The launch of the Minelab Equinox wasn’t all perfect though, slow production post launch resulted in many people being placed on a lengthy pre order waiting list, and the new machine, although not as expensive as the Deus or CTX, is still too rich for most peoples’ wallets. It was also plagued by build quality issues that might have arisen from a rush into production. I must add however that most of those problems have now been ironed out by Minelab. This machine started a very exciting battle between many manufacturers that is still raging at the time of writing.

Minelab thrust themselves to the forefront once again before the dust had even settled on the Equinox launch party, this time they were offering high performance with affordable prices. They released the already hugely popular Vanquish range. This machine offers Multi IQ on all the models, and wireless headphones if you choose the Pro pack. Owners and users have quickly adopted it and it is proving to be a very capable machine, although its looks and colour are not to everyone’s taste.

Into the fray then came Nokta Makro with their new Simplex, the model without wireless headphones starts at a similar price to the entry level Vanquish range and that made people pay attention. The price and great build quality and stylish design has already won it a sizeable following and an admiring audience, but although it has manually selectable frequencies, it doesn’t run the same type of Multi frequency as the Minelab Vanquish, so for me that’s a turn off.

Just when we thought it was all too much, not wanting to be left behind, XP snuck in the back door with their new XP Orx. To all intents and purposes it is a Deus without the extras, but at a much more affordable price. It still retains its full wireless setup and its legendary light weight, and it is proving itself to be a very capable machine, just like its big brother.

So where were Garrett during all of this excitement? Well nowhere, they kept going with their dated ACE and AT range while everyone else was stealing the show. Until now!

Garrett hinted a short while back they were going to release an all new range, it was kept very quiet and we were all left wondering where in the price range it would fit, and what else could they possibly do that was new.

Garrett’s recent live launch date was planned some time ago and they could not have possibly foreseen what was looming in the future. Their launch date was set at a time when most countries were locked down due to Covid-19, but like a light at the end of a dismal tunnel they stayed true to their word and stuck to their original launch date. They achieved this by revealing it on a live media broadcast that thousands tuned into, including myself. This launch was something that many Garrett users were looking forward to, and even more so due to the fact that many people were enduring a lengthy lock down and were craving something exciting and new (clever move No.1 Garrett)

At first glance the new Garrett Apex looked great, and for me that’s important, we spend a lot of time and our hard-earned money on our detectors so aesthetics matter. (clever move No.2). Apart from just looking good it seems that Garrett have not only heard what their customers asked for, but they listened too. The single biggest change with the Apex is not just the multi selectable frequency but its ability to simultaneously run multi frequency, something that until now only Minelab have offered with their Equinox and Vanquish range. How good this machine will be at processing the signals on a multi setting only time will tell, but the facts look promising.

New sleek looks, light weight and new and improved functions all seem set to make this a detector one to watch, but for me the single and most impressive thing Garrett did with the launch of the Apex is timing!

They timed the release perfectly, they didn’t launch it into the frenzy that saw XP, Minelab and Nokta all competing to be noticed at the same time. There were social media videos making some extraordinary claims that one machine was so much better than the other as they all scrabbled to take the podium. Instead Garrett sat back and let the dust settle, they let the hype dissipate and let everyone simply get on with using their new machines (clever move No.3)

But then came the genius, more by good luck than planning I can only assume, they kept to their launch date knowing full well they were launching their new machine in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis. Other companies might have tried to rush the release date forward with the knowledge of an impending lock down, others may have waited until the crisis was over. But no, they went ahead as promised.

As a result, what they actually did was launch their first new machine in quite a few years to an audience that were all locked in their homes. They had a captive audience (pardon the pun) they had an audience who were clinging to their hobby each day via social media and an audience who craved something positive and new, what they had was marketing gold! (most clever move yet!) this could prove to make Garrett’s new Apex a best seller.

With so many new and interesting machines out there in the market just now, we are spoilt for choice. There is a machine to suit most tasks and most wallets, but which one is the best???

Simply put, it doesn’t matter which one is the best, you may think that your machine is without doubt the best, and it may even embroil you in heated discussions down the pub (if we were allowed to go to one, but that’s for another time). You may even be reading this feeling that I have done you a disservice for perhaps not mentioning your particular coveted brand of detector, or you may feel that I didn’t represent your favourite machine favourably. But the beauty of all this is, although some of the above is backed by facts most of the content is simply my opinion. Opinions are as we know something that we all have, many of them differ, but why I believe which is best doesn’t matter, it comes down to this.

If your detector, regardless of type or cost, brings you the pleasure that this hobby should, then you have chosen the right one. The best one is the one that makes you smile in wonderment when you unearth that long lost fragment of history after spending a day of frustration thinking “why do I never find the good stuff?” the right machine for you is the one that makes you hurry home from work to try and grab an hour or two in your favourite field before the sun goes down.

But with all that said, whatever machine you have or choose, you need to walk over the right spot and decide to dig the right signal.

Happy hunting


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