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Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: sgoss66
Date: October 05, 2017 05:45AM
Here are some thoughts I've been pondering, for what it's worth, regarding the new Minelab Equinox (and have posted on a couple of other forums). I have made a few statements in this regard, in other posts on this forum, as well, but I wanted to elaborate. This is going to be LONG-WINDED, but please bear with me, as I have been thinking about this a lot. My hope is that it may stimulate discussion, and hopefully help a little, with respect to anyone pondering the possible purchase of an Equinox...

I am NOT saying this is true, but just laying out a possibility...

Consider the machines that have come out in the last decade, from companies like XP, Makro, Nokta, AKA, not to mention even the AT Pro/Gold/Max, Fisher F19/G2+, etc.  With all of these machines, today, being available for a fraction of the cost of a CTX -- while at the same time offering VERY respectable performance (in some cases BETTER, in some applications, than the CTX), I think it is at least possible that Minelab found themselves in a "pickle."

To elaborate; Minelab has almost CERTAINLY lost "market share" in the "hobby detector" category.  Just the Deus alone is extremely popular, and extremely capable.  And I think Minelab has perhaps been forced, by the realities of competition/capitalism, to have to stop and analyze the economic realities of the situation.

So, what do you do, if you are Minelab, and your flagship "hobby" machine, albeit a VERY GOOD one performance-wise, is way heavy, it has had some reliability issues, and -- frankly, it has been challenged in terms of performance by a number of lower-priced competitors who have really gained a foothold in the market since the CTX's release?  What do you decide, in a closed-door meeting, if you are Minelab?

If it were me and I am the head of Minelab, here's what I do in response, if I want to re-gain market share, and reputation:

1.  I go ergonomic/lightweight.  No brainer.  EVERYONE does that better than I do.

2.  I also go waterproof and wireless.  Again, no brainer.

3.  I take my world-class team of engineers, look at what we do BEST (produce top-of-the-line performing machines), and I improve upon that, with a machine that out-performs all of my competitors in the hobby market.

4.  I do all of this at a price that is at, or below, the price point where my competitors are currently pricing their units.


If I can do all of these things, I KNOW I have a winner, and will be dropping a literal "atom bomb" into the fray...a game-changer.

NOW, this seems like a great plan in order to make a very strong statement as an, if not THE, industry leader in hobby detectors.  But, what problems exist with this plan?  Well, in addition to the enormous engineering challenge of actually taking that "next step" in performance that will surpass the competition, AND doing at a price that is better than the competition, a BIG problem is that I am ALSO, in essence, competing with MYSELF.  In other words, if I am successful with the above 4-step plan, I have done two things (WHILE surpassing the competition) -- ONE, I have likely surpassed MY OWN FLAGSHIP MACHINE in terms of performance, and TWO, I am pricing this unit FAR BELOW the price of my own flagship.  UH, OH...

So, WHY would Minelab do this?  Again, it seems to me that they almost HAVE to produce a machine that at LEAST gives the CTX a "run for its money," because so many of the competitors are really pushing the envelope there.  For the Equinox NOT to "surpass" the CTX in performance would mean, most likely, ALSO NOT surpassing the competition with enough performance to make people choose Minelab, over the competition.  And, then Minelab almost HAS to sell this new machine at a VERY competitive price point -- probably equal to, if not lower than, the competitors, in order to grab back market share "stolen," to some degree, by the competition.

BUT-- that leaves the marketing team in a tough spot.  How do we HYPE this machine, and create enough excitement to get people to try the unit, but at the same time not make it BLATANTLY OBVIOUS that this machine may out-perform all of our OWN units?  The answer, to me, would be to try and "straddle the fence," so to speak; to market it as "WAY better than the competition, and, also, better than our other machines IN SOME WAYS," but at the same time saying "but our other machines still offer other advantages."  They almost HAVE to do that; IF the Multi-IQ technology, in the Equinox package, actually WERE going to be your best performer (and again, I think the competition is almost REQUIRING that it MUST be), you can't simply SAY "this will obsolete our entire line of other machines."  Seriously -- what would they do with all the E-Tracs, CTXs, Safaris, etc. that are still out there, already produced and in need of being sold?  So, they'd almost HAVE to suggest that this machine falls "below" -- in at least some ways -- their higher-priced units.  Again, that tightrope...talk it up SO MUCH, compared to the competition, that you sell a ton of them and steal back market share, but at the same time talk it down JUST ENOUGH that you don't utterly massacre the sales of your higher-priced units you still have to sell...

Now, I am not saying this IS the truth, but I am suggesting that it is quite possible, from my view.  I don't think the competition -- who is producing in many cases machines that are nearly as good as (and better, in some applications than) the CTX, at a much lower price -- can be ignored, to the extent that Minelab could risk putting out an inferior machine at a higher price.  To sell the Equinox and take market share from the competition, I think the Equinox will have to be a superior performer, at a superior price.  I think this is a largely true statement, and I'd presume that Minelab KNOWS this.

So, while I do not EXPECT the Equinox to out-perform the CTX or E-Trac, I would not be, after thinking deeply about it, surprised AT ALL at this point if it actually does (even while Minelab almost HAS TO say that it "won't do as well as our flagship.")  They have to walk a real tightrope here, in my view.  Talk up the Equinox LIKE CRAZY, in terms of its performance, so as to get people buying it instead of a Deus, or Impact, or Racer2, or AT Max, BUT don't talk it up SO much that people stop buying your CTXs and E-Tracs...

Again, don't know if I am correct with all of this, but I am thinking I am not too far off, and the early videos we have seen showing glimpses of the Equinox prototype's performance so far, seem to lend support to this hypothesis...

Steve



Minelab Explorer SE Pro, Fisher F19
Garrett ProPointer AT
Lesche 38D "King of Spades"

Norman, OK



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/2017 05:50AM by sgoss66.

Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: IDXMonster
Date: October 05, 2017 07:43AM
Really well said Steve. It's a task to put all that into words but you did it! It very well may be a "surgical strike" on the market. They don't want the collateral damage of their upper end machines getting maimed, but at the same they're trying to knock out a bunch of other competition. I'll buy the whole theory,it's reasonable enough for me!

Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: Beyonder
Date: October 05, 2017 09:23AM
IMO, Minelab has a ton of tech they are sitting on just waiting for the competition to catch up. It is NO coincidence that the EQ is fast like the Deus, has multi freq like the impact, and is water proof wireless like the AT Pro. It is the competition that is forcing the market to grow.

Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: brother steve
Date: October 05, 2017 09:43AM
Well ,I believe Garrett did the same thing with the AT PRO and there 2500 GTI. I know , I had a GTI. It sucks when you have a loss like that. I don't think the GTI ever recovered.

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Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: Jason in Enid
Date: October 05, 2017 09:50AM
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Beyonder
IMO, Minelab has a ton of tech they are sitting on just waiting for the competition to catch up. It is NO coincidence that the EQ is fast like the Deus, has multi freq like the impact, and is water proof wireless like the AT Pro. It is the competition that is forcing the market to grow.

most companies that are doing real R&D are sitting on technology. Some times the tech advance has to wait for other areas to catch up for it to be feasible. Take for instance the digital camera (just saw a story on this recently) was developed in the 1970s but the miniturization of components hadnt reached a point to make it feasible to market it. Other times, companies wait until there is market saturation to release something new. Why release DVD players when millions of people are still waiting to buy a VCR. You know that one the DVD tech came out there was something else sitting on the shelf waiting its time. BUT (and this is the big BUT) those are "everyone" items. You can put a digital camera in almost every hand and VCR in every home. hundreds of millions in sales every year. Metal detecting is a niche, and a very small niche market. Sitting on new tech very long could end up costing you sales if someone else drops it on the consumer first. People want the "original" not the second fiddle company thats playing catch-up.

Look at minelab. Its a great company doing a LOT of R&D but us hobbyists are a tiny percentage of their market. They make bank selling mine detectors to governments, and gold detectors to miners. They really dont care if we are unhappy waiting for the next shoe to drop in hobby-tech. If they are sitting on the fabled "gold from aluminum" detector Theyll happily wait until they think the time is right to release it, but I dont personally believe they sit on advancements like that very long, at least not after its been tested and perfected.

Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: Charles (Upstate NY)
Date: October 05, 2017 11:14AM
Well you do have to get a return on your investment from the current technology before rolling out next gen, these companies are in business to make a profit.

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Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: mtwolf2270
Date: October 05, 2017 11:15AM
Great job I agree on your theory and I am an original CTX pre-order guy. I have ran that machine hard for 5 years now in a wide range of settings and soils. It is IMO the best out there now but it certainly as we all know has its weakness and limits. However, I offer this to your theory the CTX while awesome is 5 year old tech in electronics that's ages. This is obvious when cheaper machines like AT Pro and Deus etc. can give the CTX a run for its money and in certain situations out perform it. The CTX is hampered with a slow recovery time and that is a huge weakness. Fast-forward to an age where cell phones have quad core processors and maybe just maybe the CTX is on its way off the throne. Also Minelab typically does not repackage tech and call it improved. The CTX was a leap from Etrac as was the Etrac from SE PRO etc. So, I believe this will in fact be a game changer and see it possible eclipsing the CTX. I also see in our market the days of 2k machines has come and gone. With the cost of tech declining how do you keep asking those prices especially when cheap machine come really close. I am so sure of this I pre-ordered nox 800 on day one and I may likely sell the CTX I am that sold on what I have already seen.

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Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: sgoss66
Date: October 05, 2017 12:00PM
mtwolf, you sound like you are on pretty much the same page as I am. I sure hope we are right.

Steve



Minelab Explorer SE Pro, Fisher F19
Garrett ProPointer AT
Lesche 38D "King of Spades"

Norman, OK

Well written article. I like the aspect of lighter weight. One cannot find a target unless the coil is passed over it!!!N/T
Posted by: bulletman
Date: October 05, 2017 01:38PM

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Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: mtwolf2270
Date: October 05, 2017 02:09PM
Quote
sgoss66
mtwolf, you sound like you are on pretty much the same page as I am. I sure hope we are right.

Steve

Yes I too hope we are correct!

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Questions-----the battery.
Posted by: Greg (E.Tn)
Date: October 05, 2017 04:10PM
If I understand correctly, the battery is internal, cannot be removed by the user, and will hold a charge for maximum eight hours, which basically means recharge it after every use.

How many charges can the Equinox battery take before it goes bad? Is that even an issue?

With my Excal, I have two battery pods--a rechargeable one, and one that contains AA batteries. Don't know about the CTX.

Anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

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Re: Questions-----the battery.
Posted by: Jason in Enid
Date: October 05, 2017 04:18PM
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Greg (E.Tn)
If I understand correctly, the battery is internal, cannot be removed by the user, and will hold a charge for maximum eight hours, which basically means recharge it after every use.

How many charges can the Equinox battery take before it goes bad? Is that even an issue?

With my Excal, I have two battery pods--a rechargeable one, and one that contains AA batteries. Don't know about the CTX.

Anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

CTX has a rechargable pack and a AA pack. the rechargable pack is fairly insane in holding a charge. I haven't tested in a long time ago but I did when I first got it (years ago) and I think it was about 30 hours on a charge. I was hunting 5+ hours a day and I could hunt about all week before recharging, but I wasnt using backlight, GPS tracking, etc that would increase the power usage. I do like the ability to swap batteries when needed on my xcal but as long as I can get a full days hunting in a charge, with the option of adding a power pack on the go, I'm happy to have one less water entry point. Oh, and I have found a charged battery will still have almost a full charge after sitting for several months.

I hope these come with wall and car chargers like the CTX!

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Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: sgoss66
Date: October 05, 2017 04:55PM
Greg -- I have heard 10-12 hours, and like Jason said, you can use a portable charger (mounted under the arm cuff, maybe), and keep detecting WHILE charging the battery...so that helps.

As for changing the battery, not sure, but I have to believe if they go bad, there will be an easy way to get them replaced...

Steve



Minelab Explorer SE Pro, Fisher F19
Garrett ProPointer AT
Lesche 38D "King of Spades"

Norman, OK

Re: Some musings about HOW GOOD the Equinox might be...
Posted by: tometusns
Date: October 05, 2017 06:47PM
Thanks Steve, I enjoy reading your posts. As you know the weight was my problem with my etrac. It's in younger hands now and the extra coils are gone. I'm #2 on the preorder list at my local minelab dealer. Now I just wait and watch more videos as they become available.

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Thank you Jason.N/T
Posted by: Greg (E.Tn)
Date: October 05, 2017 06:48PM

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