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My Initial Impressions Of The XP Deus II As Compared To The Equinox 800


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Top notch write up!  Thank you!  I also don’t I will like how the target ID display is constantly alternating with the program name.  Maybe xp will have an update to change that.  

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1 hour ago, Loren said:

Here are my thoughts on the Deus II in a long winded, rambling, stream of consciousness format. I will be comparing it to the Equinox 800.

 

Unboxing experience

Nothing special at all. It is clear essentially no effort has been put into this aspect of the experience and its value isn’t recognized. While not a big deal to me personally, the unboxing experience shouldn’t be ignored as it relates to content creators and selling detectors through those channels. (Trust me, I know nobody here cares about this, but ignoring this shows just how dated their overall marketing strategy is.)

The Equinox 800 unboxing experience was equally lackluster. Both get a D+. Both are well packaged, but that is about it.

 

Startup Experience 

I first started by taking out the contents that needed to be charged. The coil charging clip worked perfectly and I had no issues figuring out how to attach the clip. The headphones were equally easy to charge, but opening the cap covering the port took some effort and at first I was afraid I might be breaking something. 

I had a similar experience trying to remove the protective plastic insert on the shaft where the main unit mounts. It took significant effort to get it off, and when I did, it went shooting across the room. Mounting the main unit on the shaft wasn’t great. When mounted, the unit doesn’t feel particularly secure (it even kind of feels wobbly), but I will have to wait to see if it proves problematic in the field. The experience could be improved by adding a loud and distinctive click sound when inserted to provide audio feedback indicating it is secured. As of the moment, it just slides on and only occasionally produces a subtle click that is more on the haptic side of things and it isn’t immediately clear when it is fully inserted and secured. This could lead to confusion and an incomplete mounting resulting in a dropped unit (luckily it claims to be shockproof, though I haven’t personally tested that claim).

Inserting the XP charging connector into the main unit was rather cumbersome. The connector takes significant effort to screw in. It is not smooth at all and is very difficult to do by hand since it’s kind of small and slippery. The first few times I was afraid I was cross threading the connector, but turns out it’s just exceptionally stiff. I am guessing this could be related to maintaining a watertight seal for the bone conduction headphones, but it also gives a feeling that it is of slightly incorrect manufacturing tolerances and therefore of low quality. Either way it’s a pain to screw in. In my experience, the Equinox 800 connector is much easier to get on and off, even though it does sometimes attract magnetic sand. 

Updating the main detector unit and headphones was mostly easy and straightforward. It’s a bit awkward that the WS6 headphones require a separate USB cable just for the updates and the primary charging cable can’t be used, but that is mostly a non-issue (I am guessing they saved money by not making the primary charging cable also into a USB Hub for multiple data streams).

Turning the device on, everything was paired right out of the box. Having all components already paired and then power on simultaneously when just powering on the main unit is awesome. This is a massive advantage in terms of experience over the Equinox 800.

However, I did encounter a bug related to this behavior. When I took the main unit to a different room of my house and turned it off (out of range of the WS6), I came back to the WS6 headphones to find it was softlocked (Meaning the unit was functioning, but the volume setting had popped up and it was impossible to exit the volume setting and it was impossible to power off the device, leaving me permanently stuck on the volume adjustment setting.) It was only remedied by rebooting the main unit and then shutting it off within range so the WS6’s would turn off automatically as well. It should be noted that this occurred before I performed the updates and I haven’t since tried to recreate this bug.

Learning to navigate the menus was easy and within a few minutes I felt like I could perform any setting adjustment necessary. I think both the Equinox and the Deus II have a very well designed, and easy to learn user interface paradigm. I give the slight edge to the Equinox in this category, as I do have some gripes about the button assignments.

 

Ergonomic Experience

I will be comparing the fully loaded XP Deus II with the 11’’ coil to the Equinox 800 with the 11’’ coil and stock shaft. I have both the shafts adjusted to the same length (distance between grip and coil). The XP Deus II weighs in at 1,100 grams with the 11’’ coil, main unit, and velcro strap. The Equinox 800 weighs in at 1,370 grams (with a slight coating of mud, but nothing significant).

Just standing there with the detector in my hand holding the coil elevated slightly off the ground, I can’t immediately feel a huge difference in terms of weight or stress put upon my shoulder. Both feel comfortable to hold and the grip positions feel natural. 

Swinging each detector is where the ergonomic and weight differences really begin to show. Mid swing there is almost no difference between the detectors. But at the peak of each swing when it comes time to change direction, the Equinox 800 produces a noticeable and fatiguing torque upon my wrist, elbow and shoulder. At the peak of a swing with the Deus II, there is a tendency for the detector to want to roll to counter that torque, likely the result of the rifle frame geometry, which makes it dissipate the torque over a longer period of time. This feels much less fatiguing and stressful upon the body, but this longer dissipation also makes the swing feel like it takes slightly longer to change direction and is somewhat more wobbly when doing so. To me, this gives the impression that the swing is more responsive to forces on the Equinox 800 at the expense of comfort, while the Deus II is more comfortable at a very slight expense to coil control and precision. Personally, I feel the tradeoff is much more in favor of the Deus II, as the coil is still easy to control, despite feeling a bit less abrupt and responsive in it’s tendency to change directions.

I somewhat dislike how “twisty” the shaft is on the Deus II (or it’s inability to resist torsion), but there is definitely an ergonomic advantage to that behavior. A large portion of the twisty behavior seems to come from the lower plastic shaft that attaches to the coil. 

One area where this difference in swing behavior is especially noticeable is when performing short, fast wiggles over a target. The Equinox 800 is sturdy and precise on these wiggles at the expense of torque upon your body, whereas the Deus II feels like the nose angle wants to pitch around (the vertical line on the DoubleD configuration twists around). This is obviously the result of the frame geometry of the Deus II and it’s tendency to want to counter-roll when a torque is applied. I don’t know yet whether this will be an issue in the field, but to me the Equinox 800 wiggles better.

I haven’t had the chance to do a multi hour session yet (weather is bad here), but it would definitely seem the Deus II has the clear advantage in terms of ergonomics.

Random thoughts

I find it slightly easier to access the buttons on the Equinox 800. The main unit on the Deus II sits slightly forward of the grip, making it less comfortable for my thumb to access buttons ( everybody’s hands are different shapes and sizes so your experience may differ).

I dislike how the button to enter pinpoint mode on the Deus II isn’t the same button used to exit the pinpoint mode. 

The screen on the Equinox 800 is bigger and brighter and in general much easier to see than the Deus II. I feel like some of the display space on the Deus II is wasted / not optimized and I rather dislike how a portion of the screen changes what it displays every few seconds. Changing over and over is a bit distracting to me. I also really dislike how the display cycles between the target ID and the program name. In my opinion it significantly harms readability. I don’t really need a constant reminder of what program I am in.

I just feel the screen is constantly changing and keeps drawing my attention, when only a meaningful change in information should draw your attention. But I am the sort of person who can’t drive a car if there is crap hanging from the rear view mirror swinging around.

In my opinion the Equinox 800 primary display configuration is much better designed, while the Deus II is a bit of a mess. However, the Deus II does deliver more information in total, but does so on a much smaller, more crowded screen that has to cycle between what it displays. Equinox wins in the category of readability.

That being said, the Deus II does have the XY screen, which is probably where I will spend my time detecting anyway. Though I am already anticipating some inadequacies there as well, specifically as it relates to the zoom. Adjusting the zoom on the XY screen requires THREE whole button presses just to access the zoom. This is simply unacceptable. It should be one button press by disabling the ability to cycle programs while in XY (I mean, really 2 whole buttons dedicated to changing programs? I change programs frequently when doing testing so I can see it’s value there, but not usually while doing actual detecting. I think they would also be better used to change sensitivity). Or better yet, make a single button press enable / disable a normalization algorithm that autozooms the signal to fit the screen. That way with a single press you can cycle between seeing the amplitude / size of the target and seeing the overall quality of the target while losing depth / size data, which would make changing the zoom mostly unnecessary to begin with.

The button presses on the Equinox 800 feel better and give better feedback. I understand the Deus II's buttons are designed with that 20 meters worth of pressure in mind, but they lack both audio and haptic feedback. I have more confidence delivering rapid inputs on the Equinox 800 as a result of it's superior button press feedback.

Overall I am very excited for the ground to unfreeze so I can use it in the wild. I did some air testing to learn target IDs and fiddle around with features, but I will reserve my judgement on it's performance until I try it on some real targets.
 

Interesting thx,

sorry to be annoying but to summarize a little,  how would you grade both detectors after these 1st impressions , say :

Equinox 3/5  , Deus2 4/5  ?     or Equinox 4/5 and Deus2 4/5 ?    Or something different ?  thx

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1 hour ago, NCtoad said:

Top notch write up!  Thank you!  I also don’t I will like how the target ID display is constantly alternating with the program name.  Maybe xp will have an update to change that.  

Thanks! Yeah I guess the good news is that it's still early in the launch so XP will likely make some improvements in the near future.

 

24 minutes ago, palzynski said:

Interesting thx,

sorry to be annoying but to summarize a little,  how would you grade both detectors after these 1st impressions , say :

Equinox 3/5  , Deus2 4/5  ?     or Equinox 4/5 and Deus2 4/5 ?    Or something different ?  thx

I would give them both a 4/5 as of the moment, some strengths and weakness on both sides, but I haven't factored in performance just yet.

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56 minutes ago, Loren said:

I would give them both a 4/5 as of the moment, some strengths and weakness on both sides, but I haven't factored in performance just yet.

Then if both have the same technical grade, from your results the Equinox is at the moment a better deal than the D2 because it is much more affordable , 1000e vs 1600e over here in France ... Ok lets see your results in the field for the final assessment thx ...

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5 minutes ago, palzynski said:

Then if both have the same technical grade, from your results the Equinox is at the moment a better deal than the D2 because it is much more affordable , 1000e vs 1600e over here in France ... Ok lets see your results in the field for the final assessment thx ...

I think you are correct. People are saying the Deus II will kill the Equinox aren't considering the price. The Equinox 800 is still very well positioned in the market if you ask me and Minelab isn't under any pressure to rush an Equinox 1000 to market. 

I am excited to see the results in the field.

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17 hours ago, Loren said:

I think you are correct. People are saying the Deus II will kill the Equinox aren't considering the price. The Equinox 800 is still very well positioned in the market if you ask me and Minelab isn't under any pressure to rush an Equinox 1000 to market. 

I am excited to see the results in the field.

Actually it is not my opinion I was just trying to understand/summarize your D2 assessment vs the Equinox. I have no personal opinion at the moment because I dont have the D2. I just have others opinions at the moment.. which is a first start ... 🙂 

Up to now there have been in this forum more positive ( calabash , g. blackwell and a few others ) than negative things about the D2 vs the Equinox 

I will do my own tests as soon as I have my D2 "Lite"  ...

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3 hours ago, Loren said:

2 whole buttons dedicated to changing programs? I change programs frequently when doing testing so I can see it’s value there, but not usually while doing actual detecting.

I don't know the Deus 2 well enough so maybe my questions make no sense.  But I was thinking (and definitely hoping) that for modes 13-24 (those are the user defined and saved modes) that while in a detecting situation you could step from one mode to its next door neighbor with one press of a button.  Is that not the case?  If not, how many presses?  For my style of detecting, if I owned a Deus 2, I would set up those user modes and seldom use the canned stock 1-12 modes for actual detecting sessions.  At least for the Eqx, changes to settings of the 10 (8 for the 600 model) modes are saved when the detector is turned off, but not apparently the case for the Deus 2.  However, the D2's 12 user slots alleviate that need so in the long run I think I would prefer the Deus 2 method.  Just hoping changing between them is even easier than the Eqx where only one button push is required to enter the single (ugh) user custom (aka 'profile') slot, but a press that requires both hands, at least in my case.  Fortunately exiting the User Profile mode can be done with the standard mode button, so only one hand needed to return.  (For those not familiar with the Eqx 800, you can change modes by rotating through the 10 choices, but to get back to your original mode it requires a total of 10 presses of the [same] button for the full cycle.)

Slightly off-topic:  I've wondered how likely it is for a detector to be programmed such that users can change the interface (obviously with restrictions)!  For example, on the ML Eqx, allow the user to swap the frequency change button with the user profile button.  I'm pretty sure this kind of 'feature' would be doable, but it may take considerable development (presumably all in software) and is vulnerable to being non-idiot-proof.  Unfortunately the modern consumer (many of whom don't bother to ever read the manual let alone any warnings within) seem to be the "squeeky wheels that get the grease" at the expense of flexibility for the diligent.

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I have seen some reports of the wobbling controller mount on FB. The dealers are sending out new self tapping screws to people with excessive 'wobbles'. The first thing that came to mind was that people who hunt in heavy surf conditions may end up losing the controller unless you can tether it somehow. 

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Thanks for the report. I've read and looked at so many reports and videos at this point that I can't remember what's been covered by who or if it was covered at all. But you bring up some good points without even taking the Deus 2 out for a walk yet.

1st is the display which was a concern of mine with the first Deus. The display is too small and it looks like that is going to be an issue with the Deus 2 as well. I'm getting older and my eye sight isn't what it used to be so the bigger display of the Equinox has always been a plus.

2nd is the buttons. On the original Deus they were a real pain to access with gloves on and although the buttons have been redesigned on the Deus 2 it still sounds like there are issues with the ergonomics of pressing them.

The final thing for me is the price (which someone else brought up). $600 more for the Deus 2 which I do plan to get. Yea people have said there are certain upgraded you need to do on the Equinox and it puts it closer to the Deus 2 price. But guess what I haven't upgraded anything on my Equinox and it works just fine out of the box for what I use it for. IMO the Equinox is a pretty fair contender.

Now that assessment may change once I have one of my own to test. I have certain sites/conditions I plan to use the Deus 2 for. They are either highly mineralized, full of junk or both. So these sites will be the true test of performance for me. I think the separation in junk question has been answered. But the Deus 2 handling of mineralization is still a bit foggy IMO.

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