With Shot Show 2021 and IWA 2021 cancelled, many sports optics manufacturers decided to present their novelties online, Pulsar included. On 20th January 2021, they launched two new products – Helion 2 XP50 Pro, more about which can be read in the separate article, and Accolade 2 LRF XP50 Pro which we are going to describe here. The first generation of Accolade was released in 2018. These were the first thermal binoculars in Pulsar’s offer and they soon became popular in the field of hunting, search and rescue, safety applications, etc. Soon after, they released the LRF version, and a year and half later (early 2020) they presented the second generation to the public. The new ‘Pro’ version, presented a few days ago, is an upgraded variant of the second-generation models. Since the second-generation models will be discontinued, we can refer to the ‘Pro’ model as the third-generation model. Let us look at what is new.
An upgraded sensor
At the moment, only one model is available in the ‘Accolade Pro’ series, the ‘2 LRF XP50’.
The sensor is of the same resolution (640x480 pixels) but is now more sensitive, which is why it detects smaller temperature differences. The term to look out for is NETD (Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference). The standard generation two models have an NETD of less than 40 mK, whereas the upgraded ‘Pro’ models boast an amazing NETD of less than 25 mK. The enhanced sensitivity has great impact on detail recognition (one can capture the anatomical features of an animal better). In conditions where there is a low temperature contrast (during winter, in rain, snow, or fog), the difference in detail recognition between the standard models and the new ones is most noticeable.
Until now, the buttons on the Accolade devices were black in colour. The third generation has blue buttons.
The ‘Pro’ version of the Helion 2 XP50 features updates such as a high-power objective lens (F50/1.0), a new magnesium housing, and a 1024 x 768 HD AMOLED display. These tempting features are not part of the Accolade Pro. Only one notable upgrade in the Accolade series might be the reason why Accolade 2 LRF XP50 will be discontinued soon, whereas the Helion 2 XP50 will remain in Pulsar’s offer but at a lower price.
Other than the sensor and the button colour, the ‘Pro’ model retains the characteristics of the standard generation 2 model. It has the same display with a resolution of 640x480 pixels. The refresh rate of 50 Hz ensures that the image runs smoothly, even when observing moving targets. The Accolade 2 Pro features Wi-Fi connectivity and is Stream Vision-compatible. Stream Vision remains one of the most sophisticated smartphone apps in the field of night vision & thermal imaging. The images and videos are stored in the device’s internal memory with a capacity of 16 GB. To enhance detail recognition even further, turn on the Image Detail Boost option in the menu. Detection range of the introduced model is 1800 m.
As a binocular, the Accolade is comfortable to use, even for longer periods of time. You can set the interpupillary distance for optimal comfort.
It comes with an IPS7 removable battery which provides up to 6 hours of battery life, depending on the ambient temperature and the used features. For 95 €, you can purchase an extra battery, which is especially useful if you are planning a long hunt as the battery can be replaced in a few seconds. You can also purchase a bigger IPS14 battery.
The integrated laser rangefinder can measure distances up to 1000 m with an accuracy of +/-1 m. By holding the measuring button, you enter the Scan mode, in which the distance readings will be displayed continuously.
To sum up, the only difference between the second and the third generation is in the sensitivity of the sensor and the colour of the buttons. New sensor means better detail recognition, especially when the temperature contrast is low. In such circumstances, the new ‘Pro’ models outperform devices with less sophisticated sensors. The second-generation models will be discontinued soon, the new models getting the same price tag of 4490 €. We can expect the shipments to start at the end of February, beginning of March.