Rank 3 - XP Deus 2
Look at Capability Rating. This is the most capable detector on the market. The Deus II is a beast! It has a 58/60 capability rating for number one on this site. After using the Deus II for almost a year, I can positively tell you that I go as deep with the Deus 2 eleven inch coil than I did with a 15 inch Equinox coil. Here is a link to a video where I pull a 14 inch signal in New York soil. What I do know is that I used it at the beach and my beach scoop was registering when it got to the box (the remote) level. I have literally seen long time Equinox users put down their Equinoxes in favor of the Deus 2. One thing is clear. It is ergonomically superior to the Equinox, even the 700/900 models which are slightly lighter. It is also significantly more expensive than an Equinox (Minelab recently increased its price) and it is arguably more difficult to master.
Depth: Go to this video and watch at 15:13. I have been going deeper at the beach and at parks than with any other detector that I own and that includes the fantastic Minelab Equinox! Here is a video from XP set in perfect conditions where a user legitimately pulls a coin at 20 INCHES in dirt! I have never been able to match that in the dirt in bottle cap rich New York City, but I might have surpassed that at the beach. A signal towards the end of THIS VIDEO was over 20 inches (Tune in at about 24:30).
Separation: Whether it is iron masking or multiple non ferrous objects in close proximity, the Deus 2 is elite and separating and deciphering objects in close proximity. It is a peer to the Manticore and Equinox in separating targets.
Sound Inference: Square tones! Watch this video: CLICK HERE. You will be able to understand the size and shape of an object under the ground with the DEUS 2 better than any other detector. The Manticore created something called "Enhanced Audio" which offers the user the same utility but sound inference in metal detecting was arguably pioneered by XP. Deus users DO NOT EVEN NEED TO LOOK AT THE REMOTE BOX. Many use headphones only. They are able to do this because the audio signatures of the objects enable users to go by ear.
Target ID Inference: This is a tough one! Lets just say that the XP Deus II has a very quirky Target ID system. For example, LOOK AT THIS VIDEO, a Morgan Dollar rings up at a lower number than a silver quarter and silver half. The Morgan Dollar was not counterfeit. This test was verified by other users (see the comments). On my Deus 2 Target ID Bible Video , gold (which as been acid tested) rings up as a high conductor like silver. The XY screen is impressive and will be helpful up to six inches. there are so many other tools to help the user make an informed decision before they dig. Despite the quirkiness of the Target ID it is the best I have seen at identifying smaller (smaller than a United States quarter) silver coins. These ring up at a higher number than clad.
Ergonomics: Vastly superior to everything. Light as a feather. Telescopic shaft ability. Can fold and fit anywhere. Can swing and carry without fatigue.
Build Durability: After a year, the bottom of the shaft has worn down. This is somewhat inevitable, especially since I use my Deus 2 a lot in the sand. The coil flops a bit now but my Detect Ed shaft replacement is on its way. The Deus 2 has a one of a kind remote system. No wires are necessary for operation above the water. As an interesting side note, even though this detector is fully submersible, it has to be prepped to go under the water. There is a hole in the box that needs to be plugged. The coil needs a wire to connect the coil to the box if you are planning on using it in and close to the water. I almost lost the remote unit in THIS VIDEO when I accidentally bumped it off. A strong wave crashed in and fortunately I had the presence of mind to step on it. But this detector has a lot of moving parts. I somewhat prefer a detector that is wired and in one piece.
Battery Life: 27 hours of battery life. Drop the mic! Well, its not that simple. The Remote unit gets 27 hours of battery life but the coil doesn't. In THIS VIDEO, a hunt was cut short when the coil ran out of juice. Despite the need to charge multiple things, the battery life of the coil, headphones and remote are still excellent. I would estimate 14 hours for the coil.
Swag (Add On's): The Deus 2 has multiple coils (in multiple sizes) to choose from. Other accessories are not really necessary from third parties because XP has thought of everything.
Pinpoint: The Deus pinpoint allows the user to minimize the pinpoint multiple times until it is reduced to the simplest point. This helps the user center the target. It's very different than the Minelab pinpoint, but is highly effective in centering a target.
Navigation: If you buy the Deus 2, expect a LONG learning curve. Don't get me wrong, you can start using it right out of the box but mastery takes a long time. After a year, I am still finding quirks that I was not aware of. The navigation is situated in three columns rather than one for the Manticore. But what makes the Deus 2 difficult is the sequenced button pressing that is required to navigate the extent of its universe.
Handles EMI: The Manticore is the gold standard for metal detectors navigating EMI. The Deus 2 has a frequency scan system that is extremely useful. If the Manticore is an A+, the Deus 2 is a solid A- to A in the handling of EMI.
Utility In Water: Interesting question here. I just got a comment from known YouTuber Michael Oliver in this video and he loves the bone conduction headphones for diving underwater. I love it for the utility on the wet sand at the beach. But did you know that if you submerse the coil without connecting the wire, the box will not get a signal. There is a capability for anything you want with this detector but a knowledge base that has to be learned first. Having that said, with slight accommodation, the Deus 2 can do it all in the water.
Saltwater Beach: This machine is now the gold standard at a saltwater beach. I am going deeper at the beach and pulling signals on sanded in beaches. It is an absolute beast. If you need proof, watch THIS VIDEO at the 25 minute mark.
Trashy Park: It handles all of the New York City parks. It took me about 6-8 months to switch from an Equinox to the Deus 2 but I can match the almighty Equinox in the bottle cap rich fields of NYC.
Handles Iron: Yeah, throw this detector in to an iron rich site and watch it do its thing. There is a reason it has a reputation for picking out non ferrous items in iron rich sites. So many people have had success in this realm. As I learned to tune it, I saw its true capabilities!
Relative Value: I took points off here. I do believe that the Deus 2 is the most capable metal detector on the market as of February 2023. But how much more capable is it from the formidable Equinox which sells at 600 dollars less? Or what about the Legend which sells at 1000 dollars less? Again this is the top detector on the market right now. I have no doubt that Minelab will respond and soon.