Pulsar has done it yet again. At IWA 2018, Pulsar released Accolade – a brand new thermal imaging binocular which is basically a Helion model but was converted to have two screens, which dramatically improves the optical experience of the observer. Pulsar Accolade has the same functions as the Helion device – a palette of 8 different colors for various conditions and more. In comparison with Helion, you can use both eyes with Accolade, which is much better in terms of comfort, observation, and handling. It's much easier and better for the user to observe an object with both eyes because this has many benefits including a more clear image. It is in human nature that we use both eyes open when looking through the image.
Usually, hunters who use Helion devices observe an object with the left eye. The pupil contracts because of the bright image. When taking the shot, the hunters then look through the riflescope with the other eye of which the pupil is already adapted to the surrounding lighting. This is an advantage of the Helion devices and disadvantage of the new Accolade because hunter observes with both eyes. However, this method also has some disadvantages. Observing with one eye is less comfortable and less natural. This is not the case with Accolade since you observe an object with both eyes. Currently, there are two models available which are:
Pulsar Accolade XQ38 – suitable for shorter distances up to 1350 m
Pulsar Accolade XP50 – suitable for longer distances up to 1800 m
In the following section, we will explain the advantages of the Accolade model. The device is not very big and heavy but compact and also much shorter than the Helion model. (Helion - 234 mm, Accolade - 164mm). The accolade is powered by the IPS5 Battery pack, which is a brilliant solution by Pulsar. The battery is easily switched, affordable and lasts for a longer period of time. This thermal device gives the user an option of changing interpupillary distance, which means that you can move both eyepieces to the left or right. The advantage of this option is that Accolade can be used by anyone. Objective focusing is done via the central focusing ring, which is very familiar to us since it is found in the same location as with most known binoculars.
In the following section, we will explain and elaborate on the disadvantages of the device. We have already mentioned that the product is not very big and heavy but truth be told it is heavier and wider than the Helion nonetheless, Accolade is a Binocular.
Both XQ38 and XP50 are designed with a stadiametric laser rangefinder which measures the distance to the observing object based on its size. The model XQ38 is designed with a smaller sensor and lens while XP50 has a bigger lens and sensor. Model XQ38 has 388x284 sensor resolution while the model XP50 has 640x480 sensor resolution. Both models have 50 Hz frame rate.
The price of XQ38 will be around 3500€ and about 5000€ for XP50. Please note that the exact price is not yet known at this particular time. Frankly speaking, there is no product in this price and quality range that could compete against Pulsar Accolade at the moment. Also, the price range seems reasonable compared to Helion devices but steep as an absolute sum. We can only speculate and anticipate what measure of success this product will yield on the market. Only time will tell. Pulsar announced that in the future they will release models with an integrated laser rangefinder. We, at Optics Trade, are looking forward to putting them to a test. First assumptions are that models with integrated laser rangefinder will be approximately 500-600€ more expensive.