By calabash digger
I decided to go to my local dealer and buy them..... here is a look at all three...
By calabash digger
Testing all three on some deep targets...
So having used and test the Garrett Ace Apex for a bit now. I've come up with some things I do and don't like about the machine. If anyone is on the fence about buying one this might help you make up your mind.
I think Garrett is heading in the right direction with all the modern features they have included on the Apex. Here's what I really like about the Garrett Ace Apex.
1. Wireless headphones
2. Backlight display
3. Rechargeable battery
4. Easy to navigate menu
5. Easy to read display
6. Great sleek look
7. Light weight
8. Ground balance capabilities
9. Weatherproof design
10. Adjustable frequencies
What I don’t like and why, yea I know you can’t have everything you want with a $425 machine.
1. Lack of accessory coils-IMO the 6” x 11” Viper coil is too big for trashy sites and not big enough for clean sites.
2. Iron audio-IMO the iron audio on the Apex is pretty much worthless. It’s too loud even on 1 and the machine can’t reset fast enough and drowns out good signals close to iron when iron audio is used.
3. Notch discrimination-notching out 5 segments at a time is too many. With the Apex already struggling at depth and in iron, you need to be able to notch out one number at a time so you don’t lose targets in iron or make them even more jumpy when the target is deep.
4. Lack of adjustable tones-5 tones on this machine doesn’t work well, especially in iron trash. The iron tone and the very low conductor tones are too close in sound. Yea you can hear the difference but since this machine pulls down target ID so bad in iron, a 2 tone option or even a 3 tone would be much better so there is a distinct separation of the audio.
5. Lack of usable search modes-Really all you get with the Apex is set discrimination patterns, not search modes. When you change modes you simply notch out different segments you may not want to dig. Depth and separation remain the same, many other machines on the market both more and less expensive change the recovery and depth in relation to the mode you choose.
For those of you that have the Apex or even if you don't, I would be interested in what your thoughts are on the Apex.
TESTING THE GARRETT APEX
I have followed for the Apex exactly the same procedure already used for the other detectors that
I have tested in the past : a) static depth tests , b) field tests .
For info I live in the North of France, the soil is low to moderated mineralized there .
The iron trash varies from medium to very high. I have used the Apex inland only ( no beach detecting )
During this test, I will compare the Apex with the Vanquish and Deus/Orx that I know very well
and which are in the same price category ( Apex 600e ,Vanquish 540 pp 550e, XP Deus Lite/Orx 650e )..
The Deus/Orx are a reference over here. And the Vanquish is a very good machine .
So all what needed for a realistic comparison ..
1) First impressions :
The Apex is very well built , I like the thin control box which is much more compact
than the Vanquish control box. The lithium battery is a plus. The shaft has a little outdated
design I would have preferred a telescopic shaft like the Vanquish , but it is easy to mount and
The Apex weights 1,17kg without the coil cover , 1,23kg with the cc , so more than what indicated in
the manual ( 1,13kg ).
The Apex 6X 11 coil weights 400grams without the cc , it is a little heavy compared to the Vanquish V10 coil
which weights only 360grams. The Apex coil shape is a little unusual , long and narrow , almost rectangular ,
but this has the advantage to provide an important ground coverage par sweep compared to circular or even
The Apex is easy to use . The manual is short , only 25 pages this is a good thing.
The wireless headphones are very well build, they have no noticeable latency. and they worked well during the test.
I just noticed a few drops out but nothing dramatic
2) Static depth tests :
2 depth tests have been done , one using a big copper 10grams coin at 28cm ( 11 inches ) depth , the other
using a small 3grams bronze coin at 15cm ( 6 inches ) depth. See pics below.
I have always used the MF mode during this test.
As I expected the Apex does not hit the big 10grams copper coin at 11 inches , so the Apex does not go
as deep as for example a Vanquish plus the V12 coil. This is due to the small width (6inches ) of the Apex
coil and it is quite logical.
However the Apex hits the small 3 grams coin at 6inches , the same result as the Vanquish and Deus
so a good result.
I noticed at this moment that the Apex audio signals on targets ( coins for example ) are quite sharp.
Actually I found them too sharp , as if there was a little iron in all the coins that I was testing.
The Apex audio is a little unusual and I would have preferred softer signals actually ..
So conclusion of this part the depth tests are ok , the Apex audio is a little surprising with these
sharp signals on targets , but probably just a matter of a few hours detecting to get used to it ..
3) Field tests :
I have tested the Apex at 3 different locations, where I always go when testing new detectors :
- a plowed field which has been occupied by a camp hospital during the 1st WW.
So quite a lot of iron trash ,plus aluminium fragments , etc .. and interesting things like buttons,
buckles , etc ..
- a wood near a small town containing medieval artefacts among a very high density of iron trash
- others fields near a big town
Total detecting time : 8 hours
3.1) plowed field :
I went 3 times in this field with the Apex.
During the 1st outing everything went ok . Actually I do not like the Apex
audio ,I find it not enough accurate compared to the Vanquish/Deus and too sharp on targets as I said
above . And the Vanquish VDIs are much more accurate that the Apex VDIs ..
Then I started to have serious troubles with the Apex .. 😬
During the next outings done in this field there I have been constantly bothered by FALSE SIGNALS.
The Apex was randomly beeping while no target under the coil. There are power lines quite close to the field
but I have never had such pbs pb here with other detectors Equinox , Vanquish and Deus.
During the 3rd outing in this field I have even decided to leave the area after 15 minutes because it was impossible to detect due to the erratic signals.
3.2) wood :
The outing in this wood has been more positive.I had very few false signals there and the Apex did a good job
in this area infested by little ferrous. I even found a nice medieval buckle missed by the other detectors. I have appreciated
the 11X6 coil which has very good separation abilities . As I said I am not a fan of the Apex audio but it worked ... at least in this area. 🙂
btw it has rained during all the outing , so difficult conditions , and I had no pb with the high hygrometry , a good thing
3.3) other plowed fields :
During this outing we tried 2 fields
In the first field I had the same pb as above , false signals again .. There was a gsm antenna not far ,
perhaps this could explain the pb . But not justify it , because other detectors work very well here ..
It went better in the second field where I found 2 coins. My friend found 3 coins with his Deus .
So quite a good result for the Apex here..
One more thing I do not like with the Apex , the backlight activation. To activate it the menu button must be pressed 6 times,
then the + button 1 time ,. Total 7 times ... Same thing for desactivating it....
On the Vanquish 540 you just have to press one time the dedicated button it is far simpler ,
I usually just need the backlight a few seconds to check the VDI , so the Apex backlight is
almost unusable for me ... The Apex should have a dedicated backlight button ..
At the moment I have decided to stop the Apex tests because of this important 'false signal" issue .
This is not normal that the Apex cannot be used at places where other detectors work perfectly well. 😒
I have never experienced a pb like this actually. I do not know where it comes from, EMI or others ...
I have informed my dealer about this pb and he will contact Garrett.
I hope I will have news on this soon.. and a solution to fix that pb , so that I can restart the tests.
btw I have tried all the settings to get rid of the "false signals" issue , reducing the sensitivity ,
ground balancing , changing the channel , etc ... With no results up to now ... I think that the pb is more
related to the Apex electronics/software or coil design ... Future will tell