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Home » Thermal Imaging » Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 Thermal Imaging Scope Review | Optics Trade Reviews

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 Thermal Imaging Scope Review | Optics Trade Reviews

If you're in the market for a quality thermal monocular, the Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 may be just what you need. This device is designed to deliver optimum optical performance in a small package, and it comes with additional features that are sure to satisfy even the most demanding outdoor enthusiasts. In this review, we'll take a closer look at some of the key aspects that make the Axion 2 such an impressive piece of equipment.

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Pulsar Axion 2 XG35

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35

Pulsar Axion 2 Series

Pulsar Axion 2 is a series of thermal monoculars that was unveiled at IWA 2022 fair. Axions are small and lightweight, making them perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who need a quality device that is easy to transport.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 LRF device is a successor of generation 1 XQ models, Pulsar Axion XQ38 to be specific.

In 2022 Pulsar offers 4 different models with the same external appearance of the Axion line.

Axion 2 Pulsar Models:

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 - 35mm Lens

Physical Properties

The build quality is probably at the highest level among all thermal devices. The Axions are the pinnacle of all thermal devices. The housing is made out of magnesium. Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 is impervious to water damage with an IPX7 rating. The device can be submerged for 30 minutes in water 1 meter deep without sustaining any damage.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 has a 35-millimeter germanium lens with an F1.0 aperture. This 35-millimeter lens is much better than the previous 38-millimeter lens on the Pulsar Axion XQ38.

Pulsar Axion 2 XQ35 vs XG35 (NEW 2022) | Optics Trade Debates

Pulsar Axion 2 XQ35 vs XG35 (NEW 2022) | Optics Trade Debates

Notice that the rubber lens cap has a hidden magnet so it clips onto the lanyard. It doesn’t flap around and obscure the view. It’s this attention to detail that makes all the difference. The materials, fit and finish make this a true Pulsar.

Axion 2 devices also come with a power indicator in the form of a LED light, so you can tell at a glance whether or not your device is powered on.

The startup time is around 4.5 Seconds. Axion 2 XG35 LRF has a sleep mode. 

Click-Back Rubber Lens Cover with a Magnet

Size and Weight

The approximate unit measurements are 15 centimeters in length and 7.5 centimeters in width. With 350 grams, it's still a compact device, much smaller than most of the competition.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 LRF features a laser range-finding component, which makes it around 50 grams heavier than the standard Pulsar Axion 2 XG35. These devices are a little bit bigger than the Pulsar Axion XM models. It's curious that Pulsar hasn't used a different series name, considering that the chassis of these models is not the same. 

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 (NEW 2022) | Real Battery Life

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 (NEW 2022) | Real Battery Life

Pulsar APS5 Battery

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 is powered by APS 5 standard battery. The battery can be changed quickly. We always strongly recommend buying at least 2 batteries with any Pulsar model. This is for two main reasons.

First, the battery usually dies when you need it the most - outside, with no way of recharging the thing. With a spare battery, you can simply swap the empty APS5 with a fully charged one. No need to cut your hunting trip short. 

Second, it's good to have a backup if (or rather, when) the main APS5 battery fails. That way, you don't have to send the entire Axion 2 device for repairs when it's just the battery that stopped working. It's not that APS5 batteries aren't quality-made and built to last you a long time. The situation is the same as with mobile phones - it's always the battery that wears down with time.

The APS5 batteries are also quite affordable, so just save yourself the hassle and get extras now.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 - Pulsar APS5 Battery Pack

External Charging

To charge the Axion 2 XG35 LRF, you can connect the thermal imager to your laptop or power bank with the supplied USB cable. You'll rarely need to rely on anything other than the standard battery pack, of course - this device works for 7 hours on a single charge. But it's good to have that extra option.

Please check Real Battery Life tests where we measure the real runtime of thermal and NV optics. Many manufacturers claim that the battery of devices lasts longer than what repeated tests have shown.

Tripod-Adaptable Axion 2

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 is tripod-adaptable. The tripod thread is located under the objective lens and needs an adapter to fit onto a tripod. The plastic tripod thread is supplied in the packaging. This is not the best solution. Most devices have the thread hidden on the underside of the device and don’t require an additional accessory. 

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 - Top Control Board
Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 - Top Control Board

Pulsar Control Buttons

The control buttons work the same as always. One of many reasons Pulsar has such a loyal following. The switch from one model to another is nearly seamless.

The menu button distinguishes between a short press for the basic functions like brightness and contrast, and a long press for all the additional options. There are many advanced device settings that can be modified to your personal preference - from filters, image amplification modes, measurement units, and everything in between.

Advanced Features

There are 16 gigabytes of internal memory inside Axion 2 devices. Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 LRF also enables Wi-Fi connectivity. You can download the Stream Vision 2 app and control the whole device through your smartphone. The SV app was recently updated to give it better stability and additional features.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 - USB Cable Port on the Side

Optical Properties

The optical performance is excellent due to the fast-working lens and competent sensor. It nearly rivals Helion XP50. When placed side by side, Helion is still slightly better, though not by much. Pulsar Axiom 2 XG35 LRF is also more compact and significantly smaller in size.

Sensor

Pulsar uses uncooled vanadium oxide sensors made by the French company Lynred. A lot has changed because previous Axions were powered by smaller, 384x288 pixel sensors. This XG35 model is the first Axion device with a 640x480px sensor. The improvement in image quality cannot be missed.

In order to have a sensor of this resolution in such a small housing, the pixel pitch must be 12 microns. The community is currently debating whether 12- or 17-micron pixels are better for performance. A few years ago, smaller pitches were believed to perform better, but that opinion is now up for debate.

This sensor has a refresh rate of 50Hz and a NETD factor of <40 mK. That means that the temperature difference between two dots can be as low as only 40 millikelvins and Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 will pick up the difference.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35

AMOLED Display

The AMOLED screen is basically the same as it was on the older Axion devices. The resolution on XG models remained luxe 1024x768 pixels. That's better than the new Axion XQ models, which now have a smaller display resolution of 640x400px. There are 8 user-selectable display color modes.

Range of Detection

The sensor's operational range of detection is 1750 meters. That's only 50 meters short of Helion XP50. Even though when it comes to the range of detection, you shouldn't take these numbers too literally. The size of the object, weather conditions, and other factors also affect the range.

Field of View

You can customize the diopter compensation on the eyepiece. Close focus is from a distance of 3 meters. The front objective allows for easy focusing. The eyepiece is very comfortable. Even if you wear glasses, you can use this product without any issues.

This thermal monocular can be used in a variety of settings with a magnification range of 2.5 to 20x. The field of view is 220 meters at the lowest image enlargement of 2.5x.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35

Scope of Delivery

What do you get in the box? With Axion 2 XG35, Pulsar includes a soft case with a strap, an APS5 battery with a cap, a Type-C USB cable, a charger, a tripod adapter, and instructions.

Pros

The combination of sensor capabilities, display size, optical performance, and extras makes the €2490 price tag an absolute steal. You would be hard-pressed to find a better-built device on the market today—especially not one that's this affordable.

The removable APS5 battery is a significant advantage. Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 gives 7 hours of continuous operation and you can change the battery so quickly. These batteries are affordable, so we advise everybody to buy at least two.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 LRF | Optics Trade Real Start-Up Time

The image quality is amazing. The startup and ready-to-use times are faster than on the majority of thermal devices. The Stream Vision 2 app is a good way to enrich the user experience.

We like the fact that this device is made in Europe and it has a service department in Europe. You can count on Pulsar to provide repairs or device maintenance long past the 3-year guarantee.

Pros Summary:

  • image quality
  • 4-second start-up time
  • APS5 battery - removable, inexpensive
  • price
  • made in Europe

Cons

What are the things that could have been done better? Definitely the tripod thread. The tripod screw should be positioned under the device, not right next to the objective lens. That would be way more practical and you wouldn’t need to carry around a tripod adapter.

There's not much that could be done better as far as the physical features are concerned. It'd be helpful to have a separate control button just for taking photos and video capturing.

The NETD factor or thermal sensitivity of this sensor is <40 mK. That's none too shabby but let's remind ourselves that many brands (including Pulsar with Helions) offer 25mK devices for civilian use. For an absolutely premium experience, Pulsar could make Axion 2 XQ devices with <40 mK NETD and pricier Axion 2 XG models with even better sensor sensitivity.

Cons Summary:

  • impractical tripod mounting
  • <40 mK sensor sensitivity
Pulsar Axion 2 XG35

Pulsar vs. Infiray, Hikmicro and Conotech

What about the competitors? At Pulsar Axion 2 XG's price point, there are not many. Infiray produces a completely different form factor. Their devices are also not on the same level of ruggedness matched with reliability, even though the image quality sometimes comes close.

Hikmicro Gryphon models are not quite as polished as Axions. They don't show the same attention to detail. Gryphon models are bigger and heavier, and optically they're not as good. Not only that, but they're even more expensive than Pulsar Axion 2 XG35.

Conotech Trace models are another weak competitor. Unfortunately, the manufacturer only sells bulky LRF models. There is no model available without the built-in LRF module. Furthermore, these models pale in comparison to others when it comes to mechanical construction and optical clarity.

The only reason someone would buy a device other than the Axion 2 XG35 is because they can't get their hands on a Pulsar. Pulsars are in such high demand that most stores keep customers on a waitlist - similar to how Rolex watches work. You have to pay upfront for the Pulsar model you want and then wait up to an entire year until you receive your device. There's no use looking around at different stores either; Pulsars sell out everywhere immediately.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 in Test | Optics Trade See Through

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 LRF Price

The price of Axion 2 XG35 without LRF is €2490. Pulsar kept the price point surprisingly low. With the high market demand for anything Pulsar, the company could afford to raise prices and still retain a wide customer base.

Pulsar Axion 2 Warranty

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 has a 3-year warranty. The company offers services inside of the European Union. Something that few rival manufacturers of thermal devices can offer. That includes brands that claim headquarters in Europe but have production outsourced to Asia. From our previous experience with Pulsar, they agree to repair models that were bought 10 years ago.

Interested in this Axion 2 model?

Final Thoughts on Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 LRF 

Overall, the Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 is an excellent device. It offers great features and performance at an amazing price. The image quality is top-notch, and the ruggedness and build quality are superb. The battery life is also impressive. The only downside is that the tripod screw could be in a better location.

Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 LRF Photos

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Pulsar Axion 2 XG35 Thermal Imaging Scope
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
Product Name
Pulsar Axion 2 XG35
Price
EUR 2490
Product Availability
Available in Stock

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