Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular (5x) Review
Editor Rating: 4.8/5
In terms of clarity, visibility, and viewing range, the Night Owl Pro NexGen Night Vision Binocular is the best if not the best among Gen 1 night vision binoculars that I've ever come across - for this alone I would have given it a rating of 5/5. However, we have to look at its overall features and functionality to be able to give it a proper rating.
This night vision binocular has the highest magnification at 5x, the biggest objective lens on our list at 50 mm that easily absorbs light, one of the longest viewing range at 75-125 yards, a decent field of view at about 15 degrees or 53 feet at a distance of 200 feet, and the longest battery life at 40-80 hours depending on the usage of the IR illuminator.
All of the above-combined results into images that are almost similar to the images produced by a Gen 2 or higher night vision devices which are why this night vision binocular is a great alternative for those who are dying to have a Gen 2 device but could not afford one.
The Night Owl Pro NexGen Night Vision Binocular is supposed to be very easy to use because it utilizes only one focusing wheel for both lenses, however, the focusing wheel is somewhat buried between the lenses and does not turn smoothly. It is functional of course but it can still be improved to make it a lot easier to use.
The big 50 mm objective lens plus its anti-reflective coating is crucial in allowing the device to magnify at 5x while still be able to absorb as much light as possible. However, it does add to the overall weight of the device making it the heaviest night vision binocular on our list at 2.4 pounds which is still manageable but may cause some hand strains if used for too long. Unfortunately, it could not be mounted on a tripod either which could have addressed the weight problem and make it more ideal for prolonged use.
In terms of durability, the device is advertised as impact resistant. It does feel solid and has a matte rubberized finish that makes it grippy and won't easily slip off your hands. I am not certain if it is water resistant, however, I am certain that it can't be fully submerged. A few droplets of water from the rain is probably okay however just keep in mind those night vision devices are generally sensitive and considering their prices, they should be used with proper care to increase their lifespan and maintain optimal performance.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Fairly priced
- The edges of the images are sharper than most Gen 1 night vision devices
- Covers a long viewing range - 75-125 yards
- Produces bright, detailed images even in total darkness
- Large 5mm anti-reflective objective lenses
- Decent field of view
- Single focusing wheel for both lenses
- Rubberized housing including eyecups and end caps for easy grip
- Neck strap is padded and has quick release mechanism
- Impact resistant lens
- Solid and durable housing
- Lens cap has pin holes
- Water resistant but cannot be fully submersed
- Built-in IR illuminator
- LED indicators for device power switch and IR illuminator
- Low battery warning indicator
- Battery life of 40-80 hours depending on IR illuminator usage
- Focusing wheel needs some improvement
- Relatively heavier and larger than most night vision binoculars
- Cannot be mounted on a tripod
- Uses rarely available and quite expensive battery
For a Gen 1 night vision device, the Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular can produce images that are almost similar to that of Gen 2 or higher night vision devices. For those who are low on budget and could not afford a Gen 2 night vision device, the Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular is a great low-cost alternative.
Gen 1 night vision binoculars normally produce images that are sharp at the center and blurry at the edges. However, the area that these blurry edges cover varies among night vision binoculars. Among the Gen 1 night vision binoculars on our list, this device has the least blurry edges.
It also has the second-best viewing range on our list at 75-125 yards. One thing to note is that this device produces clear images in low light conditions and even more detailed in total darkness due to its built-in IR illuminator.
This device has the highest magnification on our list at 5x. You rarely find an inexpensive night vision binocular with this level of magnification.
Why do night vision binoculars have low magnifications? Because low magnifications use thin lenses where light can easily pass through. Because light is low at night or not present in total darkness, night vision devices have to use thin lenses that can easily absorb whatever little light is available and increase its intensity to be able to produce a bright image at night.
High magnifications use thick lenses that make it hard for light to come through which is why most night vision devices have lower magnifications.
5x magnification is as close as you can get to an object at night without sacrificing the clarity or brightness of the image.
To be able to compensate for the high level of magnification, the device uses a big, light-swallowing 50 mm objective lenses that can gather more light than a small lens plus it is covered with an anti-reflective coating to allow the light to come straight through preventing it from being reflected away from the lenses.
Model #: NOB5X
Company: Night Owl
Generation: Gen 1
Dimension: 5.8 x 7.8 x 2.9 inches
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Lens diameter: 50 mm
Viewing range: 75-125 yds
Field of view: 12.5 degrees/53 ft @ at a distance of 200 ft
Battery: 1 3V Type-123 lithium battery (not included)
Runtime: 40-80 hours
Casing: Soft-touch rubberized finish
IR Illuminator: Yes
Coated lens: Thermoplastic lens housings/all-glass optics
In the box: Padded neck strap
Adjusting each lens separately will benefit those people with different visions on their left and right eye but for some people, this process can be quite annoying, time-consuming, or difficult. For those who do not want to go through this process, this device is for you.
This device has a single focusing wheel that adjusts focus on both objective lenses simultaneously. The only opportunity that this wheel has is how it is constructed and positioned. The wheel somewhat hides in between the barrels which makes it difficult to operate and this could probably be the reason why it does not turn smoothly at times. A small issue but could make it more convenient to use if improved.
Not the largest night vision binocular on our list but is the heaviest at 2.4 pounds. The weight is manageable but you'll definitely want to rest your hands once in a while when you use the device. Unfortunately, this device cannot be mounted on a tripod but it does come with a neck strap.
While it may cause some strains on your hands, your eyes will definitely be able to view through the binoculars for a long period of time because the eyecup is made of soft, rubberized material which feels comfortable around your eyes.
The objectives lens are covered with soft rubber that can be taken on and off. And when removed, it hangs from the device so you won't lose them. They also have pin holes that limit the amount of light that gets in preventing damages on the tube allowing for safe viewing at daytime.
It has the longest battery life at 40-80 hours depending on the usage of the IR illuminator. The battery is placed at the rear of the device between the eyepieces. It also has LED indicators which are green for the power switch and red for IR illuminator.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in the box?
Is the battery included?
What gen of night vision is it using?
What is the dimension of the device?
5.8 x 7.8 x 2.9 inches
What is the weight of the device?
What type of focusing mechanism does it have?
A single manual central focusing mechanism for both barrels.
What is its magnification?
Are the lens coated?
Does it have an IR illuminator?
How far can it see?
75-125 yards depending on IR illuminator usage.
Is it mountable on a tripod?
What type of battery does it use?
1 3V Type-123 lithium battery (not included)