Helion is a synonym for quality in the world of thermal imaging optics. The first generation was launched four years ago when it succeeded the Quantum series. It immediately became one of the most sought-after Pulsar devices. Since the birth of the series, Pulsar has divided the Helion devices in two subseries – XQ and XP. The main difference is in the sensor; the XP models have a superior one and are thus available at a higher price. The first generation was replaced by the second one in 2020, starting with the XP 2 devices (the XQ 2 models followed at the end of the year). As if there have not been enough upgrades in the Helion series during the previous year, Pulsar announced a release of a brand new Helion models labelled ‘Pro’.
For now, only one model has been scheduled for release – Helion 2 XP50 Pro.
Which upgrades does the new model bring?
As the name suggests, the new model is an upgraded version of the Helion 2 XP50 model. The most notable upgrade has to do with the sensitivity of the sensor. Even though its resolution is the same as on the 2 XP50 model (640 x 480 pixels), it can detect even smaller temperature differences – it has an NETD of less than 25 mK, greatly improving the identification capabilities of the device, no matter the ambient conditions. It performs well even in rain, snow, and fog. Anatomical features of animals can be carefully observed. The high-power objective lens F50/1.0 aids in providing the ultimate detection efficiency.
The HD AMOLED display now has a breath-taking resolution of 1024x768 pixels. Colour rendering has been improved, and the images are now higher in contrast, smoother, and clearer. The battery takes longer to deplete.
We have seen the updated housing on the Helion 2 XQ models already. The same magnesium housing will be used on the Helion 2 XP50 Pro models. It provides additional resistance to impact and gives the device a new, much more elegant look. The new chassis is better at dissipating the heat generated by the electronics within, preventing overheating and increasing the operational stability of the device.
Pulsar devices are known for their rapid start-up. They claim that they have made it even faster now, which is difficult to believe as they already turn on almost instantly. The video format has been changed to .mp4.
The other features are the same as on the Helion 2 XP 50 model (check out our article on it if you wish to find out more). The refresh rate is 50 Hz, meaning that the image is smooth, even when observing moving targets. It has a base magnification of 2.5x (the image can be zoomed in all the way to 20x). There is Wi-Fi connectivity, and the device is Stream Vision compatible, meaning that you can connect it to the smartphone app. One can capture images and record videos with it – the files are stored on the internal memory of the device (16 GB).
As all other Helions, the 2 XP50 Pro model comes with a removable battery of the IPS7 type which works up to 6 hours, depending on ambient temperature and functions used. Purchasing an additional battery is recommended if you plan on using the device for a longer period of time – the replacement is done in a matter of seconds. A bigger, IPS14 battery can also be purchased.
We are eager to test the new model out. It will be interesting to see how the enhanced sensitivity of the sensor works in practice. One thing can be said for sure – the competition will have a hard time coming up with a similarly-performing device at this price point.
Helion 2 XP50 Pro will be available to the public somewhere around the end of February / beginning of March. It will retail for 3590 € once it hits the shelves. Consequently, the price of Helion 2 XP50 (which now costs 3590 €) will be reduced, which will undoubtedly create a stir in the thermal optics market.