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White's Spectra V3i

   (1 review)

Steve Herschbach
  • Price: $1349 Freq: Multi Weight: 4.2 lbs Waterproof?: No Current?: Yes

The White's V3i metal detector was introduced in 2009 and is still in production. The V3i is a VLF metal detector aimed primarily at coin, jewelry, relic detecting, saltwater beach detecting, and gold prospecting. The White's V3i is a multifrequency detector that can also run at one of several single frequencies: 2.5, 7.5, and 22.5 kHz.

The V3i was originally released as the White's Spectra Vision or simply White's Vision. Due to a name conflict with another company the name was changed to White's Spectra V3. The original Vision and V3 models both had software updates issued. The updates were consolidated into the final White's Spectra V3i model which is still being manufactured today. All previous models can be updated to the latest V3i software by returning the detector to White's Electronics. Details here.

"THE SPECTRA® V3i IS WHITE’S PREMIER METAL DETECTOR. We’ve included all our treasure hunting features and your investment is backed by a comprehensive 2-year warranty. The beautiful, full-color HD display clearly explains the depth and metal type of detected objects. And, if you’re
just starting out, the V3i has 9 preset programs, for turn-on-and-go versatility that fits the terrain and target... whether it’s coins, jewelry, relics of the past, or gold nuggets. Expert users will appreciate the V3i’s dozens of optional settings. You’ll experience unparalleled depth and sensitivity, even in previously-hunted areas!"
Source: White's 2018 catalog

whites-v3i-metal-detector.jpg
White's V3i metal detector

whites-v3i-control-panel-display.jpg
White's V3i control panel

  • HD COLOR DISPLAY with adjustable backlight SPECTRASOUND® wireless custom-built headphones (optional)
  • TARGET ID via 3x3 Target ID system - Search, Analyze and Pinpoint
  • VDI NUMBERS for most accurate target ID
  • DEPTH READING
  • 10 TURN-ON-AND-GO! HUNTING PROGRAMS: >> Coin >> Coin and Jewelry >> Salt Beach >> Relic >> Prospecting >> Deep Silver >> High Trash >> Hi-Pro >> Mixed Mode Pro >> Meteorite
  • MULTI-FREQUENCY DETECTION: 2.5 kHz, 7.5 kHz, 22.5 kHz
  • 10” WATERPROOF DD Search Coil
  • NIMH RECHARGEABLE Battery System
  • LIVE “DASHBOARD” control adjustments as you hunt
  • PRECISION ANALYSIS SCREENS showing data for all 3 frequencies:
  • PROSPECTING SCAN
  • POLAR PLOT Vector Screen
  • SPECTRAGRAPH® Target Signature
  • SOIL TYPE SELECT
  • LANGUAGES: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Turkish
  • Owner Registration Software pre-installed

Official White's V3i Product Page

White's V3i Owner's Manual

White's V3i Advanced User Guide

White's V3i - Steve's Review

Forum Threads Tagged "whites v3i"

White's Metal Detector Forum

 

Edited by Steve Herschbach



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☠ Cipher

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

I honestly feel that this Is the most underrated machine in its class. It is hard to write about this machine with any brevity because there's so much that needs to be touched on. What were intended to be its strengths actually became its drawbacks in the mainstream of detecting. I believe the intent was to create a kind of ultimate do it all machine that would outclass anything on the market in terms of target information and user access to customizing operating parameters. To me, it accomplished that. But that is not your average metal detector consumer's preference or how the average joe is accustomed to detecting as we saw with the success of competitors with machines that work in a more automated or simplified fashion. Most guys would rather just get on about the business of detecting. I say all that to say this...if you're not committed to learning each feature that makes a (multifrequency) metal detector tick, and if you're not willing to invest significant time on the academic aspects of this machine, it's not for you and you will not get the most out of it. You'll jump into a rabbit hole or quicksand to be quickly overwhelmed with each change. When it comes to the more technical aspects of the hobby this machine is a lesson in humility. From the beginning I decided I would try where others have failed and that is in resisting the temptation to blame the machine rather than my own ignorance of complex interactions and lack of patience or discipline. Resisting the temptation to settle for the easier, automatic, good enough of other platforms.

To me it was important to put that out there because I often see user shortcomings being projected onto what is almost a blank slate with a powerful set of tools. In the world of general detecting (relics, coins, jewelry) in most conditions this machine is what you make of it and will parrot your technical skill, knowledge level or lack thereof back at you in its performance, whereas other machines are more forgiving and supplement more for that. Don't get me wrong, there's a persuasive argument to be made to reject the V3i for not being user friendly and not doing more on its own. I continue to believe that it provides an edge in conditions ranging from mild to moderate, that there is especially no better machine on isolated targets in those conditions if you want to use a machine like this for what it was intended, and that is finding valuable targets while digging the lowest ratio of trash to treasure to get to such targets. No machine has more data points and tells to learn from. There are features on this machine that can be used in ways probably never intended, to gather information on target composition and the presence of an adjacent target that tone and VDI are not able to capture alone. In this last season particularly I had a paradigm shift about how approaching this machine with the dogma of traditional methods of detecting can limit you.

In any case,  in terms of its ability,  

The Pros: it is well balanced across the spectrum of metals. It can hit anything from deep silver down to fine gold thanks to its true simultaneous, broad 3-frequency approach to multifrequency with single frequency options. No other machine to this day that I'm aware of shows you in color how each of its frequencies are actually reacting to a target and in so many ways. I've found more jewelry with it than I know what to do with. Contrary to some opinions, it can be a deep machine. The ability is there, but does seem limited by stock or in house coils to a bit above average. Detech coils, particularly the ultimate 13 turns it into a depth monster even out of proportion of what you'd expect a 13" coil to do for it. That coil brings it into F75 LTD depth territory albeit with a bit larger coil, but with far more target information and disc ability. The wireless headphones are a plus and bring added features to the platform as well, like mixed stereo for disc in one ear and all metal in the other. This machine is durable. The membrane buttons on the machines I have, some of them near 10 years old are still responsive and springy for lack of a better word. Pinpoint trigger has never failed and LCD shows no signs of going anything soon. The V3i is no exception to Whites legendary durability. For now, my summary is this. This machine is the very best I have used in the specific set of conditions I described. But you must earn it. If you're not willing to invest time in academics and experimentation you will be better off with a machine that makes more decisions for you. Stock programs on this machine will perform at an average baseline level with above average target information. The strength of this machine is to be able to dial in the parameters with more latitude than has ever been given to users. It operates on a philosophy of trusting you with all the fine tuning normally left to blanket algorithms hoping that a bit of knowledge combined with human senses will know better what adjustments to make to give it an edge. You have the ability to create or even copy a virtually unlimited number of programs because of the storage space available. Even the VDI system can be altered and tailored by the user. Do not be put off by the age of the platform. This machine was ahead of its time and still has what it needs to be a top shelf metal detector. Metal detectors are not very hardware intense to start with compared to phones, tablets and computers. I would argue most advances have come in the form of software and programming, and integrating more compact, energy efficient circuitry. 

The cons: it is heavy by today's standards. It is not waterproof. That is a shame because of its potential in freshwater lakes and rivers. It is not the fastest machine on the block even when recovery is maxed out, but being a hub of target information and analysis, you wouldn't expect it to be. That is not its greatest strength. This is one issue that can be overcome in time as you acquire small coils, and learn to integrate alternate methods of adjacent target interrogation that take advantage of a visual on frequency reaction in manipulating the pinpoint trigger, and even some temporal analysis in some configurations. 

The ground balance system on this machine is the biggest disappointment and limits what this machine could've been in more circumstances. Getting a good ground balance on this machine in rapidly changing terrains can be challenging. Autotrac does not keep up as well as you'd like, so you must locktrac with offsets, which works, but is not optimal on a machine that is all about optimization. In other words it will do well enough on a salt beach, but that's not where it shines. It is important to make a point about this though. I have 2 V3s and 1 V3i that I compare and contrast and run experiments on. I've been able to confirm prior reports that the V3 is able to ground balance and track harsher and rapidly changing conditions better than the V3i. Software changes when the V3 became the V3i shined a light on its ground balance system in such conditions. It was reported that Whites reduced tracking parameter in order to get a better target ID. So there are some advantages to owning a V3 and not upgrading it. Including the ability to communicate wirelessly with other V3 users to exchange programs and settings on the spot. But there are some things you give up when it comes to target analysis. It's a trade off. 

As an aside, In 2018 these machines have some untapped potential and capability as well as yet to be discovered hidden menus that would be interesting to access and explore, maybe even more tracking access. Although this platform has its weaknesses and limitations, I'm giving it 5 stars because there is nothing like it on the market that can satisfy the geeks and egg heads of the hobby to experiment and push boundaries like this one can. There is a reason even guys like Steve H, who would likely describe themselves as more of a prospector, keep coming back to it. It is hard to get the general potential of this machine out of your head once you've had it and have the level of information that tells you there ought to be some pretty wicked combos that could be assembled if provided enough time. There's still a lot of room for user development and contributions. 

V3i is both an instructor and a powerful tool in all things metal detecting if you have time to dedicate to it. It is unbeatable as an inland relic, jewelry, coin, and cache machine. Even the things it's not the best at it can do competently. Combine it with a machine like an Equinox whose strengths and weaknesses are like a lock and key, and you'll have the deadliest duo around. In presenting the V3i as I have I'm not necessarily saying that it is the "best" at more things than any other machine. Just that there are fundamental things it can do best in the hands of a learned user. I'm an arsenal detectorist and appreciate all our technology. But I feel comfortable saying because of its complexity many of the best detectorists in the world have not realized it's potential and it's rightful place among the very best general application machines. As a result it has suffered a lack of the level of professional user development that other major platforms have gotten. Whites may have been wrong about how many people would be interested in a machine like the V3i, but they weren't wrong about what it could do if they were. 

(I have somehow managed to end up with different font sizes. I wrote this up on my iPhone and not sure how to correct that with its limited tools, but I will correct this {I'm too OCD to accept it} and continue to edit for the sake of brevity and being as concise as possible on my MacBook where I'm more familiar)

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