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We had our first look at the new Q series machines from Quest back at Summer Detectival 2019. On show there, were the prototypes for the Q30, Q50 and multifrequency Q60. A lot has changed since then not least the tragic emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. This held up production for many companies, Quest included. However, the time has not been wasted and the company quietly forged ahead, changing the product lineup in the process.
The new Q series is now made up of the Q30, Q30+ and Q60 along with the Scuba Tector Pro. The Q50 has not so much been dropped but renamed and repriced as the Q30+.
We are lucky enough to have the entry to the new Q series the Q30 in for review and will be putting it through its paces over the coming days or as much as we can within the constraints of the COVID-19 lockdown.
So what is the new Quest Q30 and why should you put it on your list of “must consider” detectors?
Lets first take a quick look at the spec:
- WORKING METHOD: VLF Single frequency 14kHz.
- AUDIO OUTPUT: 15 Levels. Speaker / Vibration / 3.5mm Wire Headphones.
- SMARTPHONES COMPATIBILITY: Built-in Bluetooth Module (Data only, not for audio).
- PROTECTION: Entire Unit Is IP68 Certified. Fully waterproof to 5 meters. Mud-guard Control Box.
- TELESCOPIC ROD: Fast Release Cam-lock. 2 Sections Straight Rods. Extendable from 80CM to 130CM.
- DESIGN: Sleek, Compact Structure with Low-Poly Diamond Sculpturing Design.
- ARMREST: Flexible Armrest Cup with Kickstand and Pinpointer Attach Design.
- HANDLE: Position Adjustable, Grenade Textured Surface.
- BATTERY: Built-in 3000mAh Li-Po Battery for up to 14 Hrs operating time.
- RECHARGE PORT: Durable and Corrosion-Resistant Magnetic USB System.
- DETECTION COIL: 11×9“ TurboD RAPTOR X Performance Waterproof Coil.
- LED DISPLAY: 2 Levels LED Back Light For Low Light Conditions.
- METAL ID: 99 Metal I.D. Level for Target Identification.
- GROUND BALANCE: Automatic(pump) or manually adjustable.
- PROGRAMS: Park / Field / Wet Sand / Saltwater / Gold 1 / Gold 2 / All Metal.
- TARGET ID: 25 Segment Resolution. Easy to Select and Mask.
- GAUGE: Depth Reader, Metal ID Indication, Battery Status.etc.
- SETUPS: Target ID Selection, Threshold, Tones, FeSen.
- WEIGHT: Lower to 2LB 8OZ/1.15KG (w/ BladeS Coil).
- FIRMWARE: Updateable online.
- WIRED headphones included.
- UK Pricing £269.00/USA $329.
- Availability End of April 2020.
The stand out there is the IP68 waterproofing to 5 Meters. Previous Quest machines had always been showerproof but only the Quest Pro was fully submersible. So this will be ideal for those who like to search river estuaries and/or in the surf.
There is no wireless audio on the Q30. The Q30+ does have wireless audio and comes with Quest’s ‘Wireless Lite’ headphones. At first, I was concerned over this lack of wireless audio but actually, when you look at the price it makes more sense. I will come back to this later.
Design has always been one of Quest’s fortes. They pretty much stood the whole detector scene on its head back in 2015 when the Quest Pro hit the market. There had never really been anything quite like it before. The Quest Pro was sleek, modern high tech with great features and an affordable price.
The Q30 is again a superb looking machine. The colour scheme of orange and black has become a bit of a Quest trademark and sets off the high tech features perfectly. You feel like you are very much holding a detector of 2020.
Control box housing is high impact ABS and melds perfectly with the textured hand grip. This has been changed from the smoother plastic grip on the Q20 and Q40 to straighter design with what Quest calls a “Grenade Textured Surface”. It certainly feels better.
The screen is housed in a rubber surround and measures approx 67mm x 60mm and has two levels of backlighting. It is clear and bright and onscreen icons and text are easily readable and not cramped at all.
Control buttons are rubberised multi-functional and keep the interface clean and uncluttered.
Around the back there are sockets for the coil connection which is a different type from previous models so, no interchangeable coils here although the new coils are available in versions that fit the older machines. Magnetic charging port and a 3.5mm headphone socket. A blanking plug is provided for the headphone socket for when not in use.
The top section of the two-part telescopic stem is aluminium with a hardy looking plastic lower shaft that has markings from 1 to 10 so you can easily remember your length settings. The use of fast-release cam-locks is very welcome and these are of high quality and hold the stem solidly.
Not only is the stem fully adjustable but the handle is also adjustable using the same cam-lock system. This means it is very easy to adjust the whole machine to suit your preference. Short or tall, adult or child the Q30 is perfectly adjustable for all.
The armrest is flexible plastic so no chances of snapping it and incorporates a kickstand as well as what I think is a really nice touch a pinpointer attachment.
I also noticed that the coil connector at the control box feels to be of a much higher quality than on most detectors in this price range. It fits easily and smoothly and has that certain weight to it that feels like it was designed to spec not to price.
Finally, we come to the 11” X 9“ TurboD RAPTOR X coil which is fitted as standard on the Q30 and Q30+. This is definitely an improvement over the coils fitted to the Q20 and Q40.
Depth wise the TurboD coil was always good but as a Q40 owner myself probably the only thing I do not like is how sensitive that coil is to the slightest touch. You get used to it but if searching anything other than perfectly flat ground it can become a little tiring.
I am happy to report that the TurboD RAPTOR X coil suffers from no such problems. This machine is perfectly quiet until you get a real target signal. It comes with a coil skid plate fitted as standard.
The Q30 In Use:
As the machine comes with its internal battery already charged it is simply a matter of turning it on and choose your settings but if you do need to charge it this is a very easy process. The machine comes with a USB charger and lead.
The magnetic charge lead connects to the underside of the control box and almost connects itself!. It is well designed and It would be great to see other manufactures go down the internal rechargeable battery route. Once connected and plugged into the charger you will see the progress bar on the screen. It takes approx 3 hrs to reach a full charge and this is good for around 14 hrs of use.
Once fully charged using the Q30 is very easy.
There are 6 preset programs to choose from. Park, Field, Wet Sand, Saltwater, Gold1 and Gold 2. There is also a non-motion all-metal mode but this is not immediately apparent from the menu or the manual.
Modes are selected by holding down the lower square button on the right of the control panel and pressing the up/down on the left. There is no “user” mode but I really don’t think it is needed. All settings are retained on power down.
You can select manual or auto ground balance. Auto ground balance is done as with the Q20 and Q40 by pressing and holding the lower right square pad. “Pump Coil” will appear on the screen. Pump the coil a few times and you are done!
Once you have selected the mode that is most suited to the ground you are searching you can then make adjustments as needed.
The audio volume control is situated on the left of the control box and cycles through 15 levels. Setting to zero activates vibration mode. This works really well and would be useful for the hearing impaired or for use underwater.
You enter the main settings mode by a quick press of the on/off button which is located centrally and directly under the screen. When not in this mode you can quickly control sensitivity using the left up/down buttons.
Once you are in the settings mode the left up/down controls the parameters of each setting. For example, if you want to select/deselect different target ID blocks you would use the up/down arrows to navigate to each block on the screen and then press the upper square pad on the right to select or exclude target ID bars.
The following settings are available for adjustment.
Threshold: When using Gold mode this sets the level of the background audio signal.
Tones (select 1 to 4 tones plus Pitch which produces a linear tone for all accepted targets and varies in pitch based on the strength of the signal)
FESEN: This sets your iron tone or iron volume as it is sometimes called. Set low in trashy environments to help not dig so much trash or if you don’t want to take the chance of missing the valuables amongst the rubbish set it higher. 5 Levels.
Frequency Shift: This allows for a very minor shift in the operating frequency of a few Hz and helps avoid interference from nearby detectors and electrical cables etc.
Ground Tracking: Press and hold the ground balance button and then a short press on the settings/power button lets you turn this on or off. Ground tracking allows the detector to automatically adjust the ground balance as you go and helps mitigate the changing effects of mineralisation.
You can also completely reset the machine by first turning it off and then press and hold the power/settings button until the detector restarts.
As previously mentioned there is an undocumented All Metal Mode called ‘AM STATIC’ and this is reached by pressing and holding the pinpoint button and at the same time press the up button on the left of the control panel and then let go of the pinpoint button. In this mode pressing the power/settings button once gives you Disc ID, Threshold and AM Sens.
To leave this mode you press and hold the pinpoint button again and the up arrow button.
AM STATIC is a non-motion mode. In other words, you do not need to keep moving the coil in order to get a signal from a target.
We contacted Quest about this and they say that this mode is used to fine-tune the pinpoint function of the Q30. Which it may well be but you can still use it as a mode in its own right. Those of us who were detecting back in the 70s’ will remember that non-motion detectors were the only types available at the time.
How Does The Q30 Perform?
I have only done a few preliminary tests so far but it is definitely looking good. Once you get used to the menu system with its multi-function buttons the Q30 is very fast to get up and running.
Due to COVID-19 I cannot yet take the Q30 to the beach, which is my preferred hunting ground and as it has dedicated ‘Wet Sand’ and ‘Saltwater’ modes it definitely would have been interesting to see how it performed.
As meaningless as they are I did perform a few in-air tests just to get a feel for the machine. So far it is comparing well to many other machines in the same price bracket. Note that these tests will vary depending on the size, shape and quality of the targets used. Your figures may be slightly different.
18ct gold Ring = 10″ and target ID 26
Thin 9ct gold ring = 9″ and target ID 21
20p = 10″ and target ID 37
Modern £1 = 11″ and target ID 69
Small silver pendant = 6″ and target ID 38
18ct gold Ring = 11″ and target ID 54
Thin 9ct gold ring = 10″ and target ID 52
20p = 12″ and target ID 83
Modern £1 = 11″ and target ID 69
Small silver pendant = 7″ and target ID 65
18ct gold Ring = 12″ and target ID 26
Thin 9ct gold ring = 9″ and target ID 21
20p = 11″ and target ID 37
Modern £1 = 11″ and target ID 70
Small silver pendant = 8″ and target ID 22
I didn’t get time to video this machine myself although I will eventually get to the beach with it. In the meantime, our good friend Darren Smith has made a series of short videos with the Q30 which demonstrate some of its capabilities…obviously restricted by lockdown at the time of making.
You can view more of Darren’s videos including those on the Vanquish and Simplex+ by going to his UK Beach Detecting youtube channel.
Obviously, its early days and the Q30 needs to be thoroughly tested in different environments in order to give a definitive view but so far it is looking very promising.
The new Q series is a major step forward for Quest. They have improved on what went before and rather than add gimmicks all the features here are useful and not added just to bump up the spec sheet.
The price of £269 definitely hits the mark and from my experiences so far I can see this being a very popular machine. It would be a great starter for those new to the hobby and a good budget choice for those more experienced.
Some may question the lack of wireless audio on the Q30 but I don’t see this as a disadvantage. You could of course, go for the Q30+ at £359. This comes with Quest’s ‘Wirefree Lite’ headphones. However, those headphones can only be used with the Q30+, Q60 and possibly the older Q40 and Quest Pro.
If on the other hand, you were to purchase the Q30 for £269 and then buy the Quest Wirefree lite wireless headphones and transmitter for £94.95 you then have a detector with wireless headphones at a cost of £363. So just £5 more than the Q30+ BUT, you have a much more versatile system. The ‘Wirefree lite wireless headphones and transmitter’ can be used with any detector you own or might purchase in the future. This makes a lot more sense than a pair of wireless headphones tied to a single machine?
Going on what I know right now, would I lay out £269 on a Quest Q30? Absolutely! This is a great looking, well-built metal detector. Very easy to use and with an eye to the future is updateable online.
Look out for the video review coming soon!
Kooistra Metal Detectors for supplying the review machine.
For more info, please visit https://www.questmetaldetectors.com/
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