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The Spectra V3i is the flagship metal detector for the White’s brand.
It’s the ultimate land-based metal detector for everything from prospecting to finding meteorites and lost jewelry. It has a Salt Beach mode, and while VLF single frequency detectors struggle here, this isn’t a single frequency machine.
The V3i is a true, multi-frequency metal detector.
This is as premier as you’ll ever get from White’s, but the question remains, is it worth it? With pulse induction, true multi-frequency capability, and expert-level quality, you tell us.
Update: Unfortunately, Whites’ announced in June 2020 that they were suspending their operations and later that year Garrett Electronics announced their acquisition of White’s Electronics. As a result, the White’s Spectra V3i is no longer available. Check out our other high end metal detector reviews for some great alternatives.
At a Glance…
✔️ Best Feature: True Multi-Frequency
❌ Worst Feature: Not for Beginners
👌 Ideal For: Shallow Water, Beach, Gold, Silver, Prospecting, Coins, Jewelry, Relics, Intermediates, Experts
- True Multi-Frequency
- Full-Color HD Display
- 9 Preset Search Modes
- Auto Tracking & Manual Ground Balance
- Adjustable Settings
Our Verdict: The Spectra V3i is an excellent metal detector for hunting all types of objects. As a true multi-frequency detector, it can take you back to old and new hunting grounds to dig up long-forgotten treasures that you and others have missed. It’s pricey, but it has the makings of a detector that’s worth keeping.
Who is the White’s Spectra V3i HP Best Suited to?
The Spectra V3i has been out for a long time, and some may remember the original model that White’s tried to name “Vision.” But, like its predecessor, the Spectra has always been intended as a detector for the experts and it lives up to its intentions.
Intermediate users will also appreciate having a premium detector on their side, but both types of seasoned users must take the time to learn the many features the Spectra offers. Once you have some practice time in, you’ll be able to interpret the color display and make the most of your hunt. More data means more digging – that is, on good items, not trash.
How Does the White’s Spectra V3i HP Perform?
There is a heck of a lot going on and a great deal of the same that you can activate and take advantage of. The Spectra V3i is a true, multi-frequency metal detector, and these are often held in high regard. It operates on VLF (Very Low Frequency) Induction Balance. There are three frequencies that can be used to provide specific targeting for the desired objects.
It’s not completely waterproof as the searchcoil and shaft are the only components that can contact water, but it’s primarily a land-based detector that can easily put to shame many other comparable detectors in the market. Its performance is proof that it deserves acclamation as it has withstood the test of time.
Features & Benefits
The V3i is truly unique and you’ll soon see why. Most multi-frequency detectors run several frequencies at once, and then there are selectable frequency detectors that only allow for a single frequency to be used at a time. However, the V3i truly has real multi-frequency capability because it not only allows all three frequencies to run simultaneously, it also allows you to use each one individually. In this way, you get the best of both words: multi and single whenever you want. There are three frequencies on the Spectra: 2.5 kHz, 7.5 kHz, and 22.5 kHz. These frequencies are so far apart that you are bound to notice significant performance differences when used separately.
But, why only three? You may have seen other multi-frequency detectors in the market boasting of significantly more frequencies. This is usually a marketing tactic as all multi-frequency detectors produce what is called “harmonic frequencies.” Although harmonic frequencies are transmitted, they are not processed or used in signal processing, therefore, they should not be counted towards actual performance.
Full-Color HD Display
There is a lot to learn when moving between the many screens of all the V3i’s features, adjustments, and preset modes. To start with, you have a backlight with adjustable brightness to allow preferred visibility in all light conditions. Secondly, the VDI (Visual Discrimination Indication numbers) is extremely extensive providing values from -95-0-+95. Thirdly, the display is color. Color plays its role in the display as it’s used for quick identification of discrimination patterns, target signatures, and of course, the ability to flow through the screen and rapidly separate icons and various functions.
One convenient feature you’ll find that will require some learning is the Polar Plot display. It works in tandem with the VDI, audio, and the various graphs within each display screen. The Polar Plot uses a quadrant graph that shows the phase and strength of the detected target, so you can better guess or confirm with the other data as to what the target is before you dig. For example, loops in the upper left quadrant likely indicates junk items. Straight lines in the upper right quadrant may indicate gold, silver, bronze, and other non-ferrous targets. The Polar Plot is only effective up to 6”.
You also have Sweep Analysis, Prospecting Scan, PinPoint, and SignaGraph screens.
9 Preset Search Modes
By now, you should be catching on that the Spectra V3i has maximum of everything and that includes its search modes. There are nine modes that you can use to maximize your search in any terrain for any target. They are: Coin & Jewelry, Salt Beach, and Relic; Prospecting, Deep Silver, and High Trash; Meteorite, Hi Pro, and Mixed Mode Pro.
While most are self-explanatory, some may require a little more info. Hi Pro and Mixed Mode Pro are high-performance, general-purpose modes that requires some manual input of data from the user. Mixed Mode Pro also incorporates aspects of All Metal and Discrimination modes and uses stereo mixed mode audio. Both these modes require very skilled users to interpret data.
Auto Tracking & Manual Ground Balance
Ground balance is performed with a trigger function built into the detector. You have both automatic tracking and manual ground balance capabilities. There is also a Ground Probe feature which is a Ground Tracking Live Control Zoomed. It provides the signal strength, phase, and phase strength at each primary frequency for both comparisons and measurements of the ground and targets.
It’s obvious by now that everything is adjustable, and this is usually only appreciated by experienced and professional metal detectorists. There is full range discrimination, noise cancel, and audio tones. You can also adjust sensitivity and threshold.
Not for Beginners
There’s not really anything to gripe about when it comes to White’s V3i. If you do have a complaint, it’s likely due to user error which can be very easy to do if you’re not sure how to go about taking advantage of its full range of settings and adjustments. Throughout this review, it’s been established that this isn’t the metal detector for a green beginner. It’s too complicated and they will struggle with its many features.
Intermediates may still struggle with this model. But, with some field work and extensive use of the manual, you’ll eventually know how to use this thing inside and out.
What is the Difference Between the Spectra V3i and the Spectra V3i HP?
There is no difference between the metal detectors. The HP indicates the type of package you’re purchasing the V3i detector with. This package includes the V3i, wireless SpectraSound headphones, 8x AA batteries, White’s Carry Bag, White’s baseball cap, and two battery packs. The battery packs are one rechargeable NiMH battery and a back-up AA battery pack. The HP package extras are the carry bag and baseball cap.
Does the White’s V3i Work on the Beach?
If there’s a metal detector you want to use on the beach, it’s a multi-frequency one. The V3i has a preset Salt Beach mode that allows you get detecting right away. Multi-frequency detectors do extremely well versus single frequency detectors because of its ability to compensate for salt. It eliminates wet conductive salt responses and is still able to track good targets. Due to this feature, it can also provide the same type of 3-frequency performance in wet alkali desert and wet highly-fertilized farm fields.
How Deep can the White’s Metal Detector Detect?
Depth detection is dependent upon many factors that includes target size and orientation, soil conditions, detector frequency, and searchcoil size. The searchcoil that comes with the V3i is a 10” DD. It’s a medium to large size that does well with larger targets and depth, but it can also miss the smallest of gold nuggets, although, coins will not be an issue. To improve chances of finding small gold, use highest frequency and smaller searchcoil. To improve depth, select larger searchcoil and a DD design that will help with various terrains and target separation even though you may compromise sensitivity on small targets.
The White’s Spectra V3i is still raved about to this day. It’s a reliable, high-performing, and multi-capable metal detector. It’s a true 3-frequency detector that can provide unparalleled performance in the same conditions that would cause single frequency detectors to frizz out. With a full toolbox of features and settings at your disposal, the Spectra V3i is a detector worth mastering and will prove to be a worthy investment.