Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Fast processing speed, long range, great value.
Cons: None at this time.
Best Uses: Backcountry skiing, backcountry snow boarding, snowmobiling.
The Pieps DSP Tour ($350) is almost the same as the Pieps DSP ($450), except it has no frequency check button (to check how far other beacons have drifted). It also does not have a beacon scan button (think of it as a fish finder button). Everything else is the same except these two features which most users will never bother with. At $350 the Pieps DPS Tour is one of the best values out there and we thought the Tour also scored very high in nearly every category. It is our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick in our full Avalanche Beacon Review. If this beacon is difficult to purchase at major retailers, consider the Arva Neo, which is in a similar price category and also wins our Top Pick Award.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Pieps is one of the most intuitive beacons on the market. Switching from send to search and turning on your beacon couldn't be more obvious. Slide the bar up or down and read "Off," "Search" or "Send" labeled on the bar.
The Pieps range was typically around 65 meters, although often a little more with around 75 or more units displayed as the distance during optimal coupling. Pieps officially claims 50 meters as the max range. When testing the 3+ the max range was upper 30s, with Ortovox claiming a max range of 40 meters and the screen showing up to 44 units during optimal coupling. The only beacons with longer range where the Barryvox Pulse and Element and the Ortovox F1, which all start in analog mode, but even then they didn't have much more range than the Pieps DSP Tour.
The Pieps has one of the faster processors of all the beacons we tested, enabling the searchers to move a little quicker. This was obvious, with far more Pieps users coming straight into their victim. Many of the 3+ users would get off track just as they came in and be forced to go farther right or left during their bracketing. This was really the biggest drawback of the 3+: you can't move as quickly with it during both the course search (making the numbers get smaller), especially under 10 meters and while in the Fine search (IE bracketing). We felt the DSP Tour was pretty darn close in speed to the BCA Tracker 2 and the Barryvox Pulse and the Element.
The DSP Tour along with the orginal DSP handles multiple burials the best of all in our review and lets you mark/flag a victim the most effectively before moving on to the next. It has one of the more effective flagging features because it doesn't blind too large an area and can blind one beacon even if another beacon is close by, something that other beacons we tested struggled with.
The Peips was excellent during the bracketing phase of our search. Compared with the similarly priced 3+, the 3+ would end up with a much bigger bracket (forcing the searcher to have a much larger area to probe) than the Pieps.
The orginal Pieps DSP, being the first triple antenna beacon, now like the DSP Tour was one of the first beacons to handle signal spikes well and eliminate the shadow box phenomenon.
The Pieps DSP won't tell you to bust a 180 and turn around like the Barryvox Pulse. You need to notice the numbers getting bigger to indicate you are going in the wrong direction.
— Ian Nicholson and Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 1, 2013
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