Newest Fox Optic Pulsar Thermion Review

We received our first shipments of Pulsar Thermion thermal rifle scopes about a week ago and I have been busy learning and testing the new platform.  Below is a rundown of what I have encountered so far.  I also have a new video up on YouTube dealing with this item, if you would like to take a look here is a link.  Pulsar Thermion Review Video Click Here

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1. Image quality, display resolution, and FOV. I would say the image ID and detect are both better on the Thermion. This is primarily a product of the Thermion having a smaller pixel pitch 12 microns vs 17 micron which allows them to run a higher magnification lens at a shorter focal length to the sensor. This accomplishes two things, it improves the wave measurement and increases magnification. They also appear to have increased both the resolution and physical size or magnification of the display. (I really don't know if it physically increased in size, just increased in magnification a product of better resolution or both. I just know it looks bigger in comparison but about the same surface resolution when comparing, the specs clearly state the resolution is higher 1024 vs 640, so I suspect it is just slightly more magnified (about 15%), a capability offered by the increase in screen resolution. Images are larger, better and seem to pixelate less under magnification when comparing the two. The drawback is FOV, for example, the Trail XQ38 has a 9.8-degree FOV while the Thermion XM38 is only 5.8. The XM38 is stated 4.0X while the XQ38 is 2.1X, the screen size plays with the true magnification to FOV relationship a little, to see a pretty exact relationship place an XQ38 at about 3.5X the other 0.5X increase is a product of the screen magnification and or size change.

2. Display color. The new display is color. This allows the addition of both color palletes and reticle colors. The pallete addition to me isn't a big deal, however, they can be useful in some settings for less eye fatigue and or popping objects in very diverse contrasting temp conditions. In addition to White Hot and Black Hot, you will find Red Hot, Rainbow, and Ultramarine useful when looking for objects fast in background settings with wide temperature separations. There is also Violet, Red Monochrome, and Sepia. With narrower gradient separation and more eye-friendly color intensities, these can be used to cut eye fatigue when viewing for extended periods of time. I tend to like the image detail of Black and White Hot best as they always offer the best image due to the wide separation in their gradients resulting in a multitude of greyscale and lots of detail. The addition of color in the reticle, on the other hand, is a big deal to me. I really like the green or red center reticle with an opposing plex color. Example White plex bars with a red reticle center in White-hot, this helps me both find the center of the reticle with red on my white-hot target subject and stay on fast-moving targets as the white plex bars don't blend into the cold thus black background. (You have 4 mixed color choices and 5 solid color choices.) Another plus is the X in the zeroing menu is now red, this makes it much easier for me to see.

3. The new power system is very cool, I don't know that it is any better than the one found on the Trail. I always thought the Trail power system was great and functioned well. However, given the aesthetic constraints, I think the Thermion system is very very well thought and laid out. The built-in 3200 mAh battery will provide around 4-4.5 hours operating time while the optional short capped APS2 2000 mAh will tack on another 2.5 hours of removable, replaceable, and rechargeable power or you can opt for the taller capped higher capacity APS3 which is 3200 mAh and around 4.5 hours of additional runtime. We kit ours with both caps, 2 APS3's and one APS2 removable. This gives you the APS2 and its cap for emergencies or walk-in hunting situations when you want to be light and streamlined as possible. This combination would give about 7 hours of runtime. For the guy who needs more time, we have decided to include 2 APS3's in our kit. This gives around 9 hours runtime with the ability to swap in the second spare for another 4.5 hours (up to 13.5 hours total) and the only extra you have to carry is an extra APS3. The removable batteries are "hot-swappable" in the unit you see reserve indication for both battery 1 and 2. Battery 1 is the built-in "reserve" battery inside the scope and 2 indicates your removable one. Anytime both are in position, running, the scope uses the removable power first. As the removable becomes low, its depletion is indicated on the #2 battery indicator. Once it gets critically low, the indicators start flashing back and forth around 10 times to indicate it is done. After this, the Thermions switches to the #1 built-in reserve battery and the #2 battery indicator goes off the tool lower status bar. At this point, one can remove the battery from under what appears to normally be an elevation turret on a traditional scope and install a freshly charged one. Provided the battery goes all the way down, the scope will remain running the entire time as the internal battery acts as a UPS (Uninterruptible power source) Under what appears to be the windage turret on a traditional scope you will find a micro USB input. This allows charging both batteries directly (You can also charge your removable APS2 or APS3 batteries with the included dual stand-alone charger.) When charging 2 batteries in the sight, the built-in reserve battery will charge first once it is all the way up, the sight will switch to charging the removable battery. While charging via the USB input a more detailed percentage readout per battery appears in the display above the battery 1 and 2 indicators. The batteries have a raised portion that fits a channel type guide system ensuring they only go in one direction making changes simple in the dark. This power system is very well thought out and seems very rugged. I also suspect the simpler single-cell batteries with their isolating/insulating plastic outer jackets in the tight housings will perform very reliably this winter as well.

4. 30mm Tube mounting. With as scope like a configuration as I could imagine possible. Semi-traditionalists are going to simply love this. The thing fits like a traditional riflescope and the mounting options are endless. Gone are the days of putting this type of device on your favorite bolt and dealing with eye relief issues and sacrificing a comfortable cheek weld.

5. More scalable reticles. In the last Trail upgrade, we saw the inclusion of the M56Fi scalable reticles. Pulsar has now added 2 more the X51Fi-300 and M57Fi. These reticles act like a First Focal plane reticle does in a traditional optic. As magnification is increased or decreased the reticle expands and contracts so the stadia marks correspond appropriately across the zoom range. This accomplishes a couple of tasks. The corresponding drop compensation remains constant as magnification changes. Normally the object size in the background image would increase but not the reticle stadia resulting in exaggerated compensation at higher magnifications. This can also be useful for determining the range to targets with known height approximations at longer distances. The increased magnifications ratio to reticle view makes "bracketing" subject targets much easier. Thermion also includes 7 non-scalable choices that perform like the more traditional 2nd focal plane reticles common in the majority of US hunting scopes. Coupled with the PIP (Picture in Picture) function of the Pulsar Thermion thermal units the non-scalable choices can also be used to determine target distances with an added benefit of dual background image magnifications to reticle ratios on a single screen. Tons of useful reticle information can be found at the following link. Click here.

6. More durable design. Still waterproof rated plus the new aluminum alloy tube body seems very rugged. The solid and twist locking battery compartment and micro USB port opening caps appear very legit. Recoil rated for .375 H&H, 12-gauge smoothbore, 9.3x64, crossbows, and PCP airguns the Pulsar Thermion is sure to take whatever you care to throw under it.

7. StreamVision app. The WiFi antenna built in the sight allows wireless streaming of the display image to smart devices such as Android or Apple-based phones or tablets. This makes sharing your hunt both easy and more enjoyable. The Stream Vision application also supports transferring recorded files, images, and videos, adjusting scope settings, and offers the most user-friendly way to upgrade your sights firmware we have ever seen. (Firmware allows further feature enhancements and improvements to be added and or upgraded after your sight has left the factory.)

8. 16 GB internal flash memory allows up to 6 hours of 1024x768 MPEG-4 video recording and or thousands of still .jpg images. Dedicated flash memory supports higher integrity and a more reliable connection while being housed inside the Thermion's waterproof housing.

9. Inline traditional focus adjustment. Probably just a personal preference, however, I have always been a bigger fan of the more traditional camera style parallel focus vs the turret style 90-degree vertical adjustments.

10. Lots of weapon and load versatility. The new Thermion allows 5 weapon profiles and 10 preset aiming points for each profile. This allows 50 distinct X Y reticle aiming designations in a single Thermion. This is where the whole Thermion story comes together for me. The new 100% scope like 30mm tube mounting design, allows for use with basically any rings, return to zero mounting system, QD rail, or other mounting accessory systems that you choose. Add your favorite reliable return to zero QD mount such as the throw it on the weapon of your choices Picatinny rail, select your profile ABCD or E and the sight will load the preset, selected, and tested aiming points, initiating on your chosen primary distance. For Example, if I have a 55-grain load profile B with a 200 Meter aiming point as the primary zero distance named B200M Changing to another preset aiming point is simple and fast. You simply hit the encoder button a single tap, scroll to your new aiming point, let's say B500M then do a long press to quickly get the quick menu to go away or just let it timeout after about 4 seconds on its own. The quick menu is off to the right side and does not affect your center viewing field. I have now switched from the B profile 200-yard reticle coordinate to the 500-yard set. All this can be accomplished in about 2 seconds while never losing sight of your prey. If I put my sight in sleep mode or cycle power the unit will come back up on the B500M reticle designation I last selected. If I switch to a new profile, let's say it is on the same gun but a 45-grain profile named A with a primary zero of 50 meters. The sight will automatically select the initial zero distance preset at 50 yards as the starting point when you switch from profile B to A in the main menu. Likewise from the A profile, if I were to go back to the B profile, it would then select the 200 yards primary zero distance as its opening distance. It might sound a little complex, just know this system is extremely easy to use, and understand. It is very intuitive and I really like the additional precision of selecting tested/pre-determined coordinates. The tested zero points and freedom of selecting my choice of return to zero QD options give me great confidence when switching my unit from weapon to weapon. The ability to designate the sight on one platform be it bolt or semi-auto with extreme comfort in my cheek weld and the versatility of in this case 5 load profiles with up to 10 aiming points per profile. The cohesion of one sight that is as equally at home on a 12 ga shotgun at 60 yards in the daytime as it is on a crossbow detecting through dense foliage or on a 6.5 Creedmoor at 500 yards on the darkest night using absolutely zero light. Who knows what the future will bring but the new Pulsar Thermion is another solid step toward Maximum Versatility.

Thermion XM30 3.3-13.2X 320x240@12 micron sensor

Thermion XM38 4.2-16.8X 320x240@12 micron sensor (In Stock NOW!)

Thermion XM50 5.5-22X     320x240@12 micron sensor (In Stock NOW!)

Thermion XP38 1.5-12X    640x480@17 micron sensor

Thermion XP50 1.9-15.2X    640x480@17 micron sensor

Thanks for checking out this review be sure to check out our YouTube Pulsar Thermion review video as well. 
Click Here

If you have any questions or need any additional help, feel free to call and speak directly with me at the toll-free number below

Travis Fox
Fox Optic

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