The Arva Evo 3+ transceiver is a relatively new player in the transceiver game here in North America. Its headquarters can be found in France resulting in a significantly longer history in Europe. The Arva Evo 3+ transceiver is a 3 antenna digital transceiver which provides a marking feature and a reasonable 40 metre search range. The transceiver takes 4 double A batteries, which is on the high side, however these are the same type of battery as most headlamps these days so the versatility is welcome should you ever need it. They provide up to 250 hours of juice to the unit which is slightly more than the average. Weighing in at 305 grams the Arva Evo 3+ transceiver is of average weight and only slightly larger than others on the market.
To turn the Arva Evo 3+ transceiver on (or transmit) you need to insert the harness clip into the transceiver unit which provides an "always on" feature once you are wearing it. This eliminates the possibility of forgetting to turn the unit on as it cannot be worn with out it functioning. Once the Arva Evo 3+ is transmitting there is no operational light to let you know with a quick glance that it is in fact operating - this would be a nice feature to have. The harness itself is very minimal with only a single shoulder strap and waist strap with out any harness case to house the until. While the harness is relatively comfortable to wear it does orientate the unit face out which is not optimal should it sustain and impact while skiing or worse while in an avalanche - a better position would be to have the unit facing in towards your body however the harness does not accommodate for this.
To switch from transmit to search is an easy one handed operation even with gloves on. You simply pull the large knob at the top of the beacon out. To revert back to transmit you push the knob back in, an easy and quick movement in the event of another avalanche coming at you while searching. The orange circle in the middle of the knob may confuse some people as it is not a light and you do not need to press on it to operate the search/transmit functions. The digital display shows a numerical distance along with one of 5 digital arrows to show direction, audio tones also help guide you. Once you are within 2 meters of the subject the directional arrows will no longer display and instead you are left with a distance read out and audio tones. The Arva Evo 3+ transceiver's distance read out will go right down to zero metres if you are dealing with a shallow burial.
For multiple burials a small icon will illuminate on the lower left of the digital display and displays the distance to both transceivers before it locks onto the closest signal. You can mark the closest subjects transceiver by quickly pushing in the top knob and pulling it back out again - once successful the display will show "CE". The Arva Evo 3+ transceiver will then display the distance to the next strongest transceiver signal. You will likely see the distance and direction indicators jumping around wildly well before you see the multiple signal icon display. Unlike some other transceivers the Arva Evo 3+ will display all of the signals initially and not just the closest one which can cause confusion for less experienced operators given the likely stress that a real scenario can create. The multiple signal symbol will also not give you the number of signals it detects so you have to use your smarts and keep searching for additional signals in the event that there are more than two.
Searching for signals.
Picking up a signal and showing distance and direction with audio tones.
Picking up multiple signals and showing distance and direction to the closest signal.
Auto test when switched on
Transmission level self-test
Manufactured in accordance with the Europeaan standards ETS 300718
Digital display with distance and direction
Audio tones indicate distance
The first thing you notice about the Arva Evo 3+ transceiver is that it has no buttons, not one. Instead there is a single switch similar to the very popular Tracker 2, this switch allows you to switch between transmit and receive as well as operate the marking feature for masking out signals. This minimal user interface makes things really simple for the average user who pulls out their transceiver for their first ski tour with out any practice (not something I would ever recommend). The industrial design of the Arva Evo 3+ is nice enough, however, it is slightly larger than most transceivers on the market today. The on/off switch is the old style "always on" system which means you cannot wear it if it is not on, while this makes sense in principle I do not like this approach in reality. I put my transceiver on first thing in the morning over my base layer and it may be hours before I get out of the car for a ski so I like to be able to turn it on and off when I want. If I cannot wear it in the off position it will stay in my pack until I am ready and that is where things can get banged around and damaged. The on/off switch itself is a little flimsy for my liking and since it is not part of the main unit it could possibly get damaged and then you are out of luck. I prefer the on/off switch to be integrated into the unit itself so there is less chance of damaging things.
For single signals the Arva Evo 3+ transceiver worked well although at an average range of only 41 metres from our testing it was definitely on the low end of todays digital beacons. With multiple signals we found things slowed down. In our testing it typically took up to 5 seconds (and some times longer) for the Arva Evo 3+transceiver to indicate that there were multiple signals. The other things that were lacking with the Arva Evo 3+ was the harness, it was very minimal and provided no carry pouch or elastic cord to allow you to get down to the snow to conduct your fine search. The only way I could resolve this was to unclip the harness and use the Arva Evo 3+ transceiver unattached from my body which is a big no-no. I would also like to see a light on the side of the Arva Evo 3+ transceiver to indicating that it is operational with just one easy glance down.
While the Arva Evo 3+ transceiver has it's short comings it is good to keep in mind that this unit is on the lower end of the price range. It is still relatively easy to use given its uncluttered user interface and does provide masking for multiple signals - these are features you typically find on higher priced transceivers.
Transmit and search switch as well as masking function.
Releasing the on/off switch can be difficult even with gloves off.
Dimensions: 136 x 80 x 30 mm / 5.4 x 3.1 x 1.2inches
Weight: 305g / 10.75oz
Battery: 4 AA (250 hours battery life)
Frequency: 457 kHz
Search range: 40m in all modes
Low cost digital 3 antenna transceiver with marking capabilities.
Harness is minimal and does not provide a flexible cord to get it close to the snow for the fine search. No activation light. "Always On" activation system is not ideal should you wish to wear the beacon while not turned on. Harness clip to turn the unit on is made of thin plastic and looks like it could be susceptible to breaking. Turning the Arva Evo 3+ on and especially off is quite difficult with gloves on. When multiple signals are detected showing all the signals initially and not just the closest could result in information overload for some users.
Ease of Use 2/2
Quality / Price 1.5/2
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. Check back mid-season to see how our review stands up to our in-the-field testing.
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