The highly anticipated LRF-version of Axion is here. A few years ago, a thermal device with LRF technology was but a night hunter’s dream. Then, Pulsar launched Accolade LRF XP50, thermal imaging binoculars with laser rangefinding capabilities, an optical masterpiece that came at a high price. Pulsar is known for constantly updating their products and lowering their prices – they aim to make thermal vision accessible by everyone. The Axion series is aimed at those that seek affordable thermal optics (the most affordable, Axion Key XM22, is available at a price of around 900 €). Implementing the LRF-technology in thermal optics is not a simple task; still, Pulsar managed to install it in the Axion. The final product (Axion XQ38 LRF) is available at less than half the price of its brother, Accolade LRF XP50.
An Improved Sensor
The Axion family was launched at the beginning of 2019. Since then, Pulsar launched many models under the Axion name. Axion XM30 and XM38 a have been discontinued because Pulsar had difficulties supplying certain parts. Currently, there are 5 models in production: Key XM22, Key XM30, XM30S, XQ38, and XQ38 LRF. The newly introduced XQ models boast the best optical quality in the series. They feature an upgraded sensor with a resolution of 384×288, as opposed to all the other models with a 320×240 sensor. The NETD is below 40 millikelvins, the same as with Helion 2 and Accolade 2 XP50 (the older models have an NETD of 60 millikelvins). This basically means that smaller temperature differences can be detected, which is clearly visible during rain, fog and lower temperatures. The pixel pitch is 17 µm.
Is it Stream Vision compatible?
The answer is no. The new XQ38 LRF comes without a Wi-Fi module, meaning that you cannot pair it with a smartphone. Furthermore, you cannot capture photos nor record videos. If you seek multimedia capabilities, go for the standard XQ38. Before making a purchase, you have to ask yourself what you need more, an LRF-system or video/photo recorder and Wi-fi connectivity, and decide on the model based on that.
The laser rangefinding compartment, located on the left side of the device, is Axion XQ38 LRF’s biggest advantage. Because of it, the device is a bit bulkier than other Axions. Most people are right-handed, so the compartment is not in the way when holding the device. The maximum measurement distance of the laser is 1 km, while the accuracy is +/- 1 m. There are two modes: single measurement and scan mode. The latter is especially useful when observing a moving animal. The wavelength of the emitted beam is 905 nm, making it invisible to the game. Axion XQ38 LRF is the heaviest among Axions, weighing 400 grams.
Is anything else new?
Until now, all Axion models have been powered by the Li-Ion Battery Pack APS3. Pulsar changed the battery compartment a little bit on the new Axions XQ and presented the B-Pack mini APS5 battery system. If you have any other Axions at home, you will not be able to use the batteries interchangeably. The APS3 batteries were simply pushed in at a correct angle and ejected out with the help of a button. With XQ models, the battery must be pushed in and rotated clockwise to fix it in position. Regardless of the new technique, the replacement of the battery is just as fast as it is on the older models.
Except for the laser system on the left, the device is identical to other Axion models. It is made of a magnesium alloy which adds to the ruggedness and durability. It is IPX7-rated, withstanding submersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Axion XQ38 LRF features a full-color, AMOLED display with a resolution of 1024×768. The device has an impressive temperature resistance (-25 to +40 °С).
The detection range of the device is up to 1300 m. You can count on being able to detect an animal at a distance up to 400 m, depending on the weather conditions. There are 8 colour modes to choose from, including the popular White Hot, Black Hot and Red Hot. You can turn on the Picture-in-Picture mode where only a certain part of the image is zoomed in – this feature is incredibly useful when you wish to observe the animal closely but want to maintain a wide field of view. Pulsar added the revolutionary image boost technology to the XQ LRF model. When turned on in the menu, it drastically improves image clarity and detail recognition. The magnification of the model is 3.5x, but you can zoom the image in with a 2x and 4x digital zoom (all the way up to 14x).
Pulsar Axion XQ38 LRF comes with a 3-year warranty.
With Axion XQ38 LRF, Pulsar has revolutionized the thermal imaging market once again. For a price of around 2300 EUR, you get a high-quality thermal imaging monocular with a laser rangefinding function. Basically, you get two devices in one. The new sensor, combined with the image detail boost technology, makes for an incredibly sharp image edge to edge. We expect these to sell like hotcakes. The only downside is that it lacks the Wi-Fi module & photo/video recorder, something that we were taken aback by. Even though not every hunter requires these features, it is nice to have them. If you prefer the multimedia capabilities over the LRF-compartment, go for the standard XQ38.
What are the differences between XQ38 and XQ38 LRF?
- In contrast to XQ38 LRF, XQ38 has a Wi-Fi module and can be connected to a smartphone
- XQ38 has a photo/video recorder with 16 Gb of storage, XQ38 LRF does not have it
- XQ38 LRF has a laser rangefinding compartment on the left side, XQ38 does not have it
- XQ38 LRF is 50 grams heavier and bulkier than XQ38