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Field Testing the Quest Q60 with Tom Dempster
Field Testing the Quest Q60 with Tom Dempster
As a result of being completely blown away by the Quest Q30’s all-round performance, I am sure you will understand why I was extremely excited to get my hands on the new Quest Q60.
Getting the chance to Field test the Quest Q60 was something that I had been looking forward to for some time, but while I waited for the postman to arrive with the next exciting new parcel, there was something worrying me, well maybe more of a niggle, but I was definitely a bit concerned!
As I opened the box containing the eagerly awaited Q60, the first thing that struck me is the build quality. The Quest Q range share a level of superior construction and quality that other manufacturers should be striving to achieve.
Form over function should not be a factor when deciding if a metal detector is for you, however like many other things, cars, carbon road bikes or even guitars. It must look right, regardless of how good it may be.
And for me, the Quest Q60 looks exactly right!
The controller is modern and sleek, but it has a rugged feel to it, that rugged feel is enhanced by the simple but effective protective rubber guard surrounding the controller.
The rubberised buttons fall easily to hand, the display offers the user a plethora of information but without being too busy or confusing. The left-hand side of the controller has two soft touch buttons, these allow you to adjust the volume or select the vibration mode should you wish to do so. The right-hand side has the same soft touch buttons, these buttons allow the user to select the wireless mode or turn on and adjust the screen backlight. On the front of the controller the six buttons are as you would expect. There are the up/down cursors, the central settings button with the pinpoint button directly beneath that, and on the right there two more buttons that allow you change various settings such as ground balance and select the sub menus.
The display is neat and clear, offering you all the information that you will need. Directly in centre is the target ID display reading 0-99, above that is the target ID arc. There are also signal strength, target depth and battery status displays and all this can be backlit with a soft orange glow (Quest like the colour orange if you hadn’t noticed)
The Q range of Quest metal detectors all share the same solid square 3-piece shaft, it is fitted with sturdy cam locks and the brilliant adjustable control box that I liked so much on the Q30. This simple but effective touch of mounting the control box on a sliding bracket allows the user to effortlessly move the controller fore and aft to ensure the perfect comfortable fit. The shaft feels solid and has no wobble at all, the cam locks have continued to work without fault even after a couple of months of use in all conditions. And finally, there is the Quest BeastX 13x9” coil.
On looks alone, not considering the larger coil, the Q60 and Q30 are identical, the big differences lie within the controller. Firstly, the Q60 is a multi-frequency machine allowing you to select between 5, 14 and 21 Khz. You can also select frequency shift; this allows you to adjust the frequency in smaller increments. This incremental shift assists you if you are experiencing interference such as EMI or perhaps another metal detector nearby.
The Q60 allows the user to choose between 2, 3 and 4 tones or Pitch, the pitch setting produces a linear tone that varies in pitch depending on target strength. Tone spacing, iron volume and discrimination can all be adjusted and changed to suit the user.
These extra options that allow you to go deeper into the settings are something that suits me. I like to able to tweak and adjust my machines to my liking, some may call it fiddling and it probably is. With most modern metal detectors the factory pre-set modes will be all that you need but having the option to set things just so is always a bonus.
There is no substitute for thoroughly testing a metal detector in the very environment that it is going to be used. In other reviews and videos, I have not hidden the fact that I do not like test beds or air testing. Air testing if you are not familiar with the term consist of placing the metal detector on a table for example, then waving an object such as a coin in front of the coil. The tester will then slowly move the object further away from the coil to the point at which it can no longer be detected, they will then use this distance as a gauge to measure the machines detecting depth.
If only it were that simple!
Air testing realistically has no place in accurately judging a machines performance. A metal detector’s ability to find those deep targets is affected by many factors such as soil conditions, depth, positioning, weather, iron and trash will all affect how deep your metal detector can search. The speed and angle of your swing or the halo effect of the object (when an object such as a coin ionizes the soil around it producing a stronger signal) will all affect performance.
An accurate gauge of depth in my mind, is consistency! The average depth at which your metal detector will consistently find targets is a far more realistic measure. Test beds do serve a limited purpose, but as I have just mentioned, they are not a fair representation. So, when I read a review or watch a video of someone unboxing their metal detector (I really cannot understand why people think we want to watch them unboxing their new machine) then carrying out an air test before taking it to their test bed in the back garden, I quickly lose interest. No one can form a real time opinion of a metal detector until they have used out in the wild over a period of weeks or months.
Out in the field the Q60’s impressive recovery speed really stands out, it is sharp, fast and precise leaving even the smallest of targets with no place to hide. The 21 Khz setting allows the Q60 to really pick out those tiny targets from the trash, giving you confidence that nothing is being missed. If you find yourself in a quiet dug out field, then this is when the Q60’s deep mode really comes to the forefront.
The deep mode is simply a factory pre-set, it slows down the recovery speed, drops the frequency and settles the Q60 down to really eek out that extra depth. Depth is not something that you have to worry about with the Q60, there are a few machines out there that I would consider to be true deep searching machines. If we were to play a game of Top Trumps, then we would all want the cards with a CTX3030 if we were comparing depth, or of course the amazing GPX5000. But there are a few other detectors out there that can consistently deliver in the depth department, the Minelab Equinox is most certainly one of them. The Quest Q60 is one of those trump cards that you want when looking for a deep searching machine, it is up there holding its own with those infamous deep searchers!
Can it be that this all-new metal detector has hit the ground running without any teething problems?
Well, no, not exactly!
I want to start this paragraph by clarifying that the Q60 is an all-new metal detector, so therefore a few problems are to be expected. Fortunately, they are more akin to minor observations rather than faults.
The very moment I picked up the Q60 I noticed that it had a nose heavy feeling, this off balance is caused by the larger and slightly heavier BeastX coil, but had I not spent so much time using the Q30 then it is possible that I wouldn’t have even noticed this. There are a few other points that if ironed out would really make the Q60 shine. To change detecting modes, the user must depress two buttons, this is not a showstopper but being able to use all functions one handed would be more desirable. I would also like to able to control the recovery speed, being able to slow down the recovery speed and maximise the machines depth or speed it up for those busy trashy sites would be a fitting option for this level of metal detector.
One problem that stood out for me and if I am honest did start to become quite irritating, was this.
The Q60 in certain conditions can start to become quite chattery, a combination of EMI, trashy fields and other factors can see the Q60 become a little unstable. This chatter is more notable when operating in the 21 Khz range, it can with some tweaking be calmed and controlled. I found that dropping from 21 Khz to 14 Khz reduced the chatter, however this is not ideal if you were hoping to utilise the higher frequency settings in busy ground for example. Switching to the deep mode with its slower recovery speed also calmed the chatter (another reason I would like the option of adjustable recovery speed) I did find though that with a bit of fiddling and tweaking that chatter can be controlled, so I am confident that something as simple as a software update will eradicate it all together.
I would also be delighted if Quest were to introduce a clock to the Q range of metal detectors, I know this may sound like a whimsical request, but we all know how an hour detecting can turn into 5, then before we know we are late for dinner once again!
One bonus that I was delighted to see included with the Q60 were the Quest Pro Wireless headphones, these headphones are one of my favourites on the market and it is only fitting that a machine of this class should be furnished with them. Not only do you receive the Quest Pro headphones but also included are the Quest waterproof headphones along with the WRX receiver. The WRX receiver will allow you plug in your own wired headphones and have the WRX form a wireless link to the Q60, ensuring that all options are covered.
So, back to the niggle, the big question!
Is the Quest Q60 worth investing the £699 when the hugely impressive Q30 retails at around £299?
The answer is subjective, if we buy the latest smart phone most of us will opt for the model with the largest memory capacity, or when buying a new car, we may go for the model with the larger sportier engine.
Will we always use all that extra memory or engine performance? No of course not, often we may never use it all, but knowing we have that extra performance there in the background gives us a feeling of satisfaction. Knowing that we have it there should we ever wish to use it is what makes the difference. Like all technology, often devices can become over complicated, they can become so sophisticated that we will never fully utilise their full capacity and metal detectors are no different. Of course, you can switch the Q60 on, select a factory detecting mode and never again change anything, and it will be simply fine. But when the day comes that you want to go that bit further and start to really ring out the performance, the Q60 will readily oblige!
WORKING METHOD* : VLF 5kHz, 14kHz, 21kHz Frequencies Selectable
AUDIO OUTPUT* : 15Level Speaker / Vibration / Wire, WireFree Headphones
SMARTPHONES COMPATIBILITY: Built-in Bluetooth Module
TELESCOPIC ROD :Fast Release Cam-lock 2 Sections Straight Rods Extendable
DESIGN: Sleek, Compact Structure with Low-Poly Diamond Sculpturing Design
PROTECTION: Entire Unit IP68 5Meters Waterproof. Mud-guard Control Box
HANDLE: Position Adjustable, Grenade Textured Surface
ARMREST : Flexible Armrest Cup with Kickstand and Pinpointer Attach Design
BATTERY : Built-in 4000mAh Li-Po Battery for 10~18Hrs Operating
RECHARGE PORT: Durable and Corrosion-Resist Magnetic USB System
DETECTION COIL*:13”X9” BEASTX Waterproof Super Sport Coil
LED DISPLAY: 2 Levels LED Back Lights For Low Light Condition
METAL ID: 99 Metal I.D. Level for Target Identification
PROGRAMS * : Park / Field / Beach / Gold / Cache 5 Detecting Programs
GROUND BALANCE: Automatic(pump) or manually (selecting)
TARGET ID*: 50 Segments Resolution Easy to Select and Mask
SETUPS*: Target ID Selection, Threshold, Tones, Tone Space, FeSen, Frequency
SALTWATER PERFORMANCE: For Mineralized Ground or in Saltwater
GAUGE: Depth Reader, Metal ID Indication, Battery Status etc.
WEIGHT: Lower to 2LB 8OZ/1.15KG (w/ BladeS Coil)
OPERATION TEMP RANGE: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
NON-OPERATION TEMP: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)A
The Quest Q60 is sharp, fast and boy does it punch deep, it has all the desirable aspects of the Q30 but includes all the extras and performance that you could ask for. The Q60 has made an impressive entrance to a marketplace that is adorned with high performance machines, but rest assured the Q60 will find a well-earned place among them.
I have thoroughly enjoyed using the Quest Q60 and I know that I will continue to do so.
When spring arrives, the crops are harvested and more fields become available, I cannot wait to see what else I will find with the Quest Q60.
To see the Quest Q60 and Q30 in action, please visit our Facebook group, or you can visit my YouTube channel for even more video reviews.