Any experienced detectorist can review a detector out of the box. Go over features, feel, and maybe do an air test and go over their impressions on a couple of hunts. Regardless of skill level, I don’t believe it is possible for a detectorist to fairly evaluate a new machine until they have put a lot of hours on it, worn the “new” off of it and gained a real feel for the machine.
I just completed my first 100 hours on the XP Deus.
WHY I PURCHASED A DEUS
As a Middle Tennessee Civil War relic hunter and coinshooter, I am extremely satisfied with my MineLab e-Trac and Fisher F75. So if it is not broken, why would I fix it? Fact is, though, is that I have thousands of hours on each of these machines. I’m hard on them and both of these have a lot of wear. Though they have each been troopers, they could probably use professional cleaning and servicing, and maybe a few replacement parts. I realized that I needed to start taking a look at some of the newer machines with the future in mind.
The XP Deus obviously caught my eye because of its wireless design. I was impressed that a manufacturer had redesigned and built a machine from the ground up using some of the latest technology. Obviously I questioned whether it was a novelty, and I questioned how it might perform against my “relic monster” machines that eat up and spit out iron and trash, and consistently net me bullets and coins at well over a foot deep.
I purchased a Deus with controller, backphones and the smaller, 9 inch coil to get started. I also obtained a hard case, a third-party pair of full-sized wireless headphones, rubber rain cover, and both a car charger and an emergency charger that holds a AA battery. One of my concerns was that the headphones, coil and controller each have their own built-in battery and that I would run into a situation where I had power issues and was unable to simply change out a battery.
HOW I GOT STARTED WITH THE DEUS
The Deus sat in its fancy hard case for about six weeks before I took it out and hunted with it. Frankly, I was unwilling to potentially sacrifice finds by opting for a machine I was unfamiliar with over my proven, trusty ones.
I finally worked it in my test garden with some recommended settings. I was impressed with the speed and light-weight, but still didn’t think I could wield it as well as my other machines without a lot of work. But that’s before I took it out in the woods.
Middle Tennessee has a lot of rocky hills, many wooded, where the soldiers loved to hang out on for their strategic value, and long distance vantage points. Because of the rock, most finds on these hills are going to be less than six inches. So I figured that was a great way to start with the Deus, and finally, late one afternoon, I forced myself to load it up and hit a nearby hill that I had permission to hunt. And I had a blast.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT
NO BATTERIES TO BUY: My concerns about the lithium batteries have been unfounded thus far. I charge them before each use with a simple triple cable that I could plug into the USB charger in my truck if I needed to. I hunted 8 hours straight with it without running low on power. Yes they are lithium.
DEAD QUIET: I’m known to run all my machines with jacked up sensitivity and low or no discrimination. So they are noisy. The Deus is almost always dead silent when not near a target. So quiet that occasionally I move my digger near it to make sure it is turned on. And I quickly realized why this unexpected “feature” was awesome. Almost anything I hear is a target. Imagine that. Perhaps there is a threshold or other setting I could use to remedy this, but fat chance. I love it. If I hear ANYTHING, I pause and investigate. This sounds crazy, but I’ve dug some killer targets that I didn’t even pass my coil over initially. The target was just near the coil – near enough to produce faint feedback that caused me to take the coil and find the target.
SPEED AND RESPONSIVENESS: I swing my e-Trac and F75 fairly slow. In all fairness, I’m typically looking for deep targets with them, or trying to pick good things out of heavy trash and iron. The Deus, however allows me to swing like a madman without missing targets at six inches or less, like I’m clearing brush or conducting a symphony with it. And that means I can cover more ground with it. And if you are hunting hills or woods with a bunch of shotgun shells but relatively few other targets, covering more ground makes all the difference in the world.
WEIGHT AND NIMBLENESS: First time I handled a Deus that belonged to a fellow club member, I thought it felt like a toy. It is ridiculously light, and I could take the control box off to make it even lighter. This also allows me to swing it faster for longer period of times, and cover more ground without arm fatigue. And I won’t need a machine. This machine is great for anyone that would struggle with a heavier machine. Especially with the small coil, I can also maneuver it in brush, around the base of trees and into other tight spots more easily than my other machines, even with a small coil on them.
WIRELESS HEADPHONES: If you’ve hunted in the brush, then you know what its like to get your headphone cable caught in brush and your headphones ripped off your head. I love wireless headphones in the woods!
COLLAPSIBLE DESIGN: The Deus’s shaft collapses through the handle and the coil folds back to make the whole thing small enough to fit in a backpack. I can throw my Lesche mini Sampson digger in the backpack with it and hike through the woods with it, for example. This is crazy.
WHAT I’VE FOUND WITH THE DEUS
Nothing will help you get used to a new machine like finding good stuff with it. I’ve found a lot of Civil War bullets with it in my first 100 hours, but I’ve also found a few monsters, including:
My mind went flipmode on the Deus when I found a pair of Confederate Infantry buttons with it on my second or third short hunt with it. Would I have found them with one of my other machines? Possibly. But being able to cover so much ground in the woods with it made a lot of difference. These buttons were quite a hike away from where I started, and in heavy brush, and dark was approaching quickly. I honestly probably would not have made it that far with one of my other machines.
Late yesterday, during my 100th hour with the Deus, I dug my first Civil War bleeder, a surgical tool also called a fleem. Same story here. Targets were sparse in the large wooded area I had hunted, and I might not have covered enough ground to have dug it with another machine. Being shallow didn’t matter if I never ran my coil over it!
WHAT I DON’T LIKE AND/OR NEED TO WORK ON
Iron and Falsing: I admittedly run the Deus with low discrimination and jacked up sensitivity. I hunt mostly by sound and number ranges and don’t care about accurate target ID numbers. I do get a bit more falsing on nails and other iron objects than I am accustomed to. I’m sure I can clear this up with some work on the settings.
Control Box Attachment: The control box clips onto the shaft in a way that makes me a bit nervous about losing it. I didn’t attach it securely on an early hunt and it fell off in my office, but I thought it fell off while I was carrying out into the woods! Scary but I was relieved when I found it. After all, it is wireless and it is over $600 to replace it if I lose it. I’m just careful to put it on properly.
MOVING FORWARD WITH THE DEUS
So in all fairness the Deus has not supplanted my other machines yet. I’m not getting crazy depth with it because I’m using a small coil and not trying to get crazy depth with it. I’m sure with work and trying different coils I will gain depth and confidence. Will it go as deep as the F75? I’m sure I’ll eventually find out but right now I’m not worried about it. The Deus has a place in my stable right now where it excels. My e-Trac rules trash and iron. The F75 rules depth, AT-Pro rules water, and the Deus rules the hills and woods.
I will eventually probably adapt the Deus to replace at least one of my older machines, but for now I’m extremely happy with it.
I am not using the XP Deus in the manner I thought I would when I bought it, but I’m finding great stuff with it and love swinging it.
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