Rank 1: Notka Makro Legend
I have the Nokta Makro Legend ranked at number one due to the high premium that I put on value. It is a highly capable metal detector but it is not the most capable metal detector on the market (but close).
My rationale for this rating is that you can buy a Legend for as low as $499 dollars (without headphones). and I would consider the Legend to be 95% of a XP Deus 2 (which retails for 1600 dollars), 95% of a Minelab Manticore (also 1600 dollars. and 98% of a Minelab Equinox 800 (which retails for 999). I have used the Legend for a year and I am comfortable saying this. The Legend is a great combination of performance and value. What I do know is that this is a ridiculously capable metal detector for $499 dollars and I was able to match 69 of 70 (expert level) Minelab Equinox signals on beaches and on land. As of April 2023, I consider the XP Deus 2 metal detector to be the most capable on the market followed closely by Minelab's Manticore, then the Equinox and then the Legend. But we are talking about a $499 dollar detector being a peer with detectors triple its price. That is absurd!
Depth: I took my Legend to the beach and the park and matched signals with 2 expert equinox users. 69 of 70 very difficult signals were matched. The one that was not matched was due to iron overpowering a non ferrous signal. Nokta has added an Iron Filter, but I still see the same slight iron allergy even with adjustment to the iron filter. I rated the depth slightly lower than the Minelab Equinox because some of the signals were very weak, even though it was a match. What you do have is a highly effective machine in terms of depth. You will never see someone matching a 20 inch XP Deus 2 signal on the Legend, but you will see excellent depth.
Separation: The separation is very very good. But there is more masking around iron. Iron seems to overpower the Legend, more than the Equinox or Deus 2. If you watch my YouTube channel, you know that I am notorious for digging iron. I notice that I dig less iron with the Legend.
Sound Inference: I could hear the difference with sizes of the object, but I could not get as much information out of the pinpoint compared to the Equinox. The Deus 2 and Manticore have advanced sound features that are beyond the capabilities of the Legend. The Deus 2 is exquisite at localizing a pinpoint and the Equinox and Manticore have pinpoints that lock in on a target. The Legend has a terrible pinpoint (relative to the Manticore, Deus 2 and Equinox) that seems to pull in everything. Remember that I am testing in the high volume grounds of New York City. This machine is so impressive that it can hang with machines triple the price, but in reality this is a growth area.
Target ID (Visual) Inference: The Target ID is unreliable. Depth and interference skew the quality of a target ID on any detector, but it is markedly worse on The Legend, especially at depth.
Ergonomics: Not Deus light but not heavy either. Well balanced. I gave it the same grade as the Equinox.
Build Durability: Brick House. Telescopic shaft that is sturdy. Well insulated and the only issue that I have seen is with the switch on the headphones. It should be a button that was covered instead of an on/off switch. Sand and dirt have gotten in to the switch which has prevented me from turning it on and off. I used my vacuum cleaner to fix this problem.
Battery Life: 20 hours of battery life.
Swag (Add On's):
Waterproof DD Search Coil 28 cm / 11" (LG28)
Pinpoint: The pinpoint is one of the weaknesses of The Legend. It over amplifies the signal and can catch surrounding signals.. A user can tell more from the Equinox, the Vanquish, the Deus 2 or the Deus 1.
Navigation: Navigation was super easy with one exception (anything that was added via updates). For instance, the iron filter and stability setting is a little difficult to get to. I sense that anything added via update has to be tucked somewhere. But for the most part, the navigation is super easy.
Handles EMI: It is affected by EMI. There are detectors that are affected a lot more than the Legend by EMI, but its not quite the Manticore. The Manticore is the gold standard for mitigating EMI in 2023.
Utility In Water: I am very satisfied with detecting in the wet sand on the beach. Make sure that you update your detector because the first iteration of the firmware was chattery at the beach. Most importantly for this section, The detector has been out for a year and I have been monitoring closely and I see no evidence of the control box flooding like the Minelab Equinox (600 and 800) famously does.
Saltwater Beach: Watch me pull three gold rings in this video in challenging conditions. Make sure that you have the latest updates for the saltwater beach issues with being chatty in the salt. You also need to make sure that you know how to get to the stability setting. Try setting stability to 3 if it is too chattery on a beach.
Trashy Park: It did very well in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn; a park that is littered with iron and modern garbage. Having that sad, it missed a silver signal at the end that was picked up by the Minelab Equinox.
Handles Iron: It is one standard deviation lower than an Equinox or Deus 2 in iron environments. It does separate well and you will dig less iron with the Legend. But you will give up high conductive targets in immediate proximity to iron.
Relative Value: The Nokta Legend is priced at $600 dollars and you get wireless headphones (and $499 without headphones), a flashlight, a clock on a detector that is similar in capabilities to the 800 (which costs $999). So far, the Legend has matched signals with the Equinox successfully on 69 of 70 holes in varied settings. Keep in mind that Nokta just came out with its first round of updates and the Equinox has had multiple versions already. The Equinox might be more capable than the Legend (that remains to be seen) but the value goes to the Legend. The Manticore and the Deus 2 are triple the price of the Legend.