Rank 12: Minelab CTX 3030
Overall Rating: 77.1/100
Capability Rating: 53.6/60
Wow Merrill! Why so harsh on the legendary CTX 3030? Well, lets start with the 2400 dollar price! This detector has had quite a run. It debuted in 2012 and the same combination of semiconductors and algorithms are present today.
The separation that made the Equinox elite lacks in the sluggish CTX 3030. It feels slow, heavy and complicated. Having that said the GPS feature is unique to the CTX and Smartfind 2 and an early iteration of Target Trace was ground breaking for visual inference. Full Band Spectrum technology has arguably evolved in to Multi IQ technology. In other words, all of the new and top of the line Minelab machines run Multi IQ but its most expensive (non gold) machine runs Full Band Spectrum. Perhaps I did not give this machine enough of a chance, but I really could not get past the lack of modern separation.
Depth: Exquisite depth, although a bit confusing to unmask so much to get there. It shines in a test garden. In my limited experience with this detector, I could not replicate the results in my test garden in a real setting.
Separation: Great in 2012. League average in 2023; but average is a problem at a $2400 price point. After using the Equinox which could seem to morph a large coil in between 2 narrowly spaced objects, I could not get used to the CTX 3030. I want to be clear that this machine had excellent separation for its day. but this machine is about to become a teenager like the AT-Pro!
Sound Inference: This detector has the same quality tones that the E-Trac has. Its
Target ID Inference: This detector and the E-Trac laid the groundwork for modern detectors such as the Manticore. Smartfind 2 and the two
Ergonomics: This machine is a competitor to the feather light Deus 2. In fact, it retails $800 dollars more than the Deus 2. The CTX 3030 is heavy. Semiconductors used in 2012 are a lot more clunky than semiconductors used in 2023. The CTX 3030 gets points off in this category.
Build Durability: This detector has a reputation for being a workhorse. There are no flaws in the design other than the weight and that weight was in line with the behemoths of 2012.
Battery Life: The battery life has been documented to be 13 hours. That is in line with the Equinox. But the batteries are larger and clunkier.
Swag (Add On's): This detector had a lot of add ons but as its product life has come to an end, it has become harder to find great add ons for this detector.
Pinpoint: This machine has an excellent pinpoint.
Navigation: Now, I realize that this machine has a GPS, but the navigation that I am talking about here, is getting around the menu of the machine. I really struggled with this. Perhaps I didn't give this machine enough time, but I couldn't get used to the navigation. The navigation was a maze that I failed in.
Handles EMI: I do not recall any issues with EMI.
Utility In Water: It doesn't leak. The Equinox 600 and 800 were notorious for water breeching the control box. Many beach detectorists swear by this machine at the beach, but I question the utility compared to a Deus 2 at a price that is 800 dollars less.
Saltwater Beach: It has a reputation for being a great beach detector. Separation is less of an issue at the beach. You will have one muscular shoulder from using this at a beach. Hit the gym for the other shoulder (or switch it up).
Trashy Park: I took this machine to the Bronx's Ferry Point Park. Not bad but not elite. If you consider the price, I would argue that it performed poorly.
Handles Iron: This machine has a reputation for picking out conductive targets in iron yet I question the separation. I realize that these are two related but different things but for the price, I would rather go to war with a Deus 2, Equinox or Manticore in an iron field.
Relative Value: Oh heck no! The value is NOT here! It was a great machine for its day but its day has passed. This machine gets a very low relative value score.
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