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Five full days enjoying the X-Terra 30 & X-Terra 50 afield .... Part #1 ... "My initial impressions and personal thoughts about short-comings."
Posted by: Monte
Date: November 19, 2005 07:30AM
Good morning fellow hobbyists and detectorists! It's 3:38 AM as I start this "part" of my time afield with this pair of new Minelabs. I know I won't finish it in time (thus the "Part #1" post) because my oldest son & I are headed out shortly to travel to some different sites and a day of detecting together.

I am one of those who got an early-release X-Terra 50 and have posted many times about my favorable experiences with it. I can assure you that the X-Terra 50 impressed me from the moment I opened the box, and I continued to be pleased with the overall package Minelab created as I assembled it, did a little in-field time with it, and read the operator's manual. The X-Terra 50 very quickly became a model that I knew was going to 'fit' into my personal detector battery!

After a few weeks with it now, and having the opportunity to take it along on our vacation to Utah & Nevada earlier this month, has given me even more reason to look forward to the release of the 18.75 frequency coils as well as a smaller coil or two for my X-Terra 50.

I was initially going to offer up a post on my field testing and review of the X-Terra 30 and simply respond to any discussion about it. After my first three or four hours with my X-Terra 30, and doing some quick comparisons with it's bigger brother, I came to the realization that in all fairness I had to put in an ample amount of time to really find fault with the X-Terra 30. I knew it was just not going to impress me all that much because, quite frankly, I don't have a "turn-on-and-go" detector in my functional battery because I prefer to have more manual control.

Since I had the few weeks in with the X-Terra 50 I was well aware of the appealing physical design, the solid rod lock-up w/o wobble, the comfortable handgrip and excellent grip angle, the performance with the 9" concentric coil, and I had almost instant-reflex actions to quickly access and adjust the well laid out control panel.

In short, I figured it would be quite easy to grab the X-Terra 30, assemble it, go use it a little and be able to report on it, and then have to try and decide what I was going to do in the end with a "turn-on-and-go" detector that was basically a simplified X-Terra 50 that lacked some of the features I like about my '50.' Let me tell you, I was wrong .. wrong .. wrong! This wasn't going to be an easy field test to whip through and be honest.

By "be honest" I am not just referring to being honest with you, my fellow hobbyists, nor being honest with the folks at Minelab, either. No, what I am referring to here is being able to reach some conclusions about the X-Terra 30's true in-field performance and what it offers for the dollar compared with the competition, and in the end be honest with myself!

Often it is easy to take a little bit of pre-conceived notion, add a little nit-picking, a dash or two of ego or personal preference, put a few hours drain on the batteries and cook up some batch if ideas why we don't like, don't want, or don't need a particular make or model. This time, it wasn't easy to do. Matter of fact, it was an impossible mission!

So, realizing that I wanted to get serious with these two models I have devoted the past five days detecting when I could during daylight, and doing some bench-testing after dark.

There have been a couple of forums that have been quite busy since the first X-Terra release and I plan to post on both of them. I could offer up positive-only impressions but that would seem like some of those screened magazine 'field tests' and I prefer to be able to voice my opinions about a product's weaknesses as well as its strengths. So, while I ask you to forgive me bringing up one or two topics again, I have to because I am posting results of my field tests of a new product. Field tests that have included: visiting a variety of sites, hunting in varying ground conditions, comparing some competitive models, and .. my favorite .. including others in the field work because I value hand-on impressions of others in order to make sure there isn't something (good or bad) that I might overlook or just take for granted.

X-Terra "short-comings" as I see them, going from tip-to-tip:

Searchcoil: No problems. The standard 9" concentric coil proves very good depth and target separation for a coil of its size.

Searchcoil/Rod mounting: No major problems, but one annoyance for me is that the rubber grommet should be more 'rubbery' to provide a more snug fit. This would help retain coil position and eliminate coil 'flop.' Minor? Yes, but I do not care for loose, floppy coils.

Lower Rod/Middle Rod/Upper Rod: Finish is appealing and appears to be very durable. Rod colors are pleasingly 'different' from the norm these days. Alignment is excellent (I detest a detector that has a canted coil or housing, etc.), and the rod locks help keep everything snugged up quite well. Gripe? My only issue with the new rod design is that they do not provide ample adjustment for shorter people.

I stand about 5' 11

Re: thanks waiting for next partN/T
Posted by: ohio fred
Date: November 19, 2005 10:07AM

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