12th July 2024
Garrett-Vortex-VX5-VX7-VX9

For many years metal detectors have pretty much all been the same. Of course, there have been advances in technology but generally speaking, most metal detectors followed a similar pattern. Garrett is looking to change the way we buy and use our metal detectors. And it all begins with the Vortex. A new range of three machines all in one metal detector. 

The Vortex lineup consists of the entry-level VX5, the mid-range VX7 and the pro-level version, the VX9. However, where other manufacturers would produce three separate pieces of hardware, Garrett has produced just one machine with the version depending on how many features have been “unlocked” in the firmware. This is achieved by purchasing unlock codes directly from Garrett or via their dealer network. 

At first, this may seem like a slightly odd move but perhaps it is the smart move. If funds are limited you can purchase the VX5 with the knowledge that you will not need to sell it, probably at a loss, to upgrade to the next model. Instead, you can buy the unlock code, install the update and within minutes you have yourself a VX7 or VX9. 

The cost of the upgrades is not particularly prohibitive either. But more on that later. First, let’s take a look at the spec.

Vortex VX5

The entry Vortex model provides fast, fixed Recovery Speed, pretty much like the Apex before it. Fully waterproof to 16 feet (5m). Single and Multi-Frequency options. Single-tier MD-MF Target ID scale. Three audio tones.

Search Modes: Four: Zero, Standard, US Coins, Custom

Compacts to 24.75″ (62.86 cm) and extends to 56.75″ (144.14 cm)

Weight: 3 lbs. (1.38 kg) with coil cover installed.

vortex-VX5-control-panel

Vortex VX7

More advanced than the VX5. The VX7 includes more frequency and mode options, including the Multi-Frequency Salt mode for wet sand and saltwater surf use. Two-tiered MD-MF Target ID display (with separate ferrous and non-ferrous target scales). Additional audio tones plus adjustable Recovery Speed. Everything else is the same as the VX5.

Vortex VX9

The Professional’s model. Full three-tiered MD-MF Target ID display (including two ferrous scales to help identify unwanted iron trash). Includes Multi-Salt and additional frequency choices. Additional Recovery Speed controls. FAST Mode for competition hunts and high-trash search areas. THIN COINS Mode for detecting fine, lower conductive coins such as hammered silver and thin gold coins. Other features the same as the VX5 and VX7.

Just to be clear. All three versions use the same hardware. The only difference is the firmware. Charging and upgrades are carried out via a conveniently placed USB-C port.

vortex-vx9-control

Search Coils

Vortex search coils look similar to those available for the Apex but have a unique waterproof connector and are not compatible with other Garrett detectors. 

The Vortex comes fitted with the 8.5″ x 11″ DD Vortex Raider™ as standard. There is also a 6″ x 11″ DD Vortex Viper Searchcoil available. Two more coils are to follow. The 5″ x 8″ DD Vortex Ripper and the 14″ x 11″ DD Vortex Reaper.

Garrett-Vortex-Search-Coils

Headphones

At the time of writing, the Vortex does not come with headphones although it is compatible with Garrett’s Z-Lynk MS3 wireless headphones. You can also use wired headphones via the 1/8” (3mm) jack.

MD-MF Technology

Garrett’s Multi-Dimensional Multi-Frequency (MD-MF) Technology provides deeper and more accurate target analysis and identification. Targets are detected and analyzed using simultaneous multiple frequencies as well as utilizing multiple dimensions of conductivity and ferrous (iron) content.

This advanced MD-MF analysis takes place within all three Vortex models. It is most visible on the VX-9 model, whose LCD includes a multi-axis Target ID with three distinct scales.

Price & Availability

The Garrett Vortex hardware will be available to purchase in July 2024.

Vortex VX5: $529.00/£476.95

Vortex VX7: $629.00/£599.95

Vortex VX9: $699.99/£629.95

Prices for Garrett Vortex Upgrades:

VX5 to VX7 – $85.00

VX7 to VX9 – $65.00

VX5 to VX9 – $150.00

Conclusions and Alternatives

The Vortex is not a cheap machine considering it currently lacks many features that we have come to expect in other machines at this price point. Features notable by their absence are adjustable tones, iron bias, auto-noise cancel, ground tracking and quite possibly frequency weighting for the different modes.

Garrett has not addressed the frequency weighting subject but they have indicated that the machine will have iron bias “by the time” it goes on sale and that they are still finalising the firmware. There is a possibility they may also add other features but nothing has been confirmed.

So what else is on the market at or below this price point and why should you consider them?

NOKTA:

Triple Score:

  • Operates at 04 kHz, 15 kHz, 20 kHz, Multi
  • 4  search modes (Park/Field/Beach/Relic)
  • 3 custom user profiles, notch filter
  • Recovery speed 5 levels.
  • Ground balance. Automatic, Manual and Tracking.
  • Waterproof & Submersible to 5M.
  • Rechargeable
  • Wireless Audio. Comes with low-latency Bluetooth headphones.
  • Customisable audio.
  • Comes with two coils 12″ x 9″ and 9.5″x6″
  • Price: UK £469.00

The Legend:

  • Operating Frequancies: Multi(3), 4kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz, 20kHz, 40kHz
  • Search Modes: 4 (Park / Field / Beach / Gold Field)
  • Customisable Audio
  • 4 x User Profiles
  • 60 Tones
  • Tone Volume
  • Tone Break
  • Tone Frequency
  • Notch Filter
  • Gr0und balance. Auto/Manual/Tracking
  • Auto Noise Cancel
  • Rechargeable
  • Iron Filter
  • Low Latency Bluetooth Wireless Audio
  • Price: UK £669 (currently includes free AccuPOINT Pinpointer)

Minelab

X-TERRA ELITE EXPEDITION PACK:

  • Search Modes: Park, Field, Beach
  • Custom Search Profiles 6 (2 per detect mode).
  • Operating Frequencies: Multi-IQ plus 15 kHz.
  • Auto Noise Cancel: 19 Channels.
  • Ground Balance: Auto, Manual, Tracking
  • Tones: 1, 2, 5, All Tones (At), Depth (dP)
  • Tine break: Ferrous (t1) adjustable
  • Adjustable Recovery Speed: 1, 2, 3
  • Iron Bias: -1, 0, 1, 2
  • Rechargeable
  • Supplied Coils: V12X 12″ Double-D Elliptical coil with skidplate, V8X 8″ Double-D Elliptical coil with skidplate
  • Waterproof to 5m / 16ft, IP68
  • Comes with Minelab ML85 Wireless Headphones
  • Price UK: £589.00

All three of the above machines represent tremendous value for money. The Nokta Triple Score not only has customisable audio but also ground-tracking and comes with two coils and wireless headphones.

The Legend costs slightly more than the Garrett Vortex VX9 but it has far more features and is currently on promotion with a free Nokta AccuPOINT pinpointer worth £140.00.

Minelab’s X-TERRA ELITE EXPEDITION PACK has all the important features missing from the Vortex. It comes with two coils and wireless headphones all for just £589.00. 

It should be emphasised that we do not yet know just how capable a performer the Vortex is for the money or if Garrett will add any of the missing features. This article will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Links

Garrett Metal Detectors

Garret Vortex International Users Group

Join Treasure Hunting World on Facebook

 

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