At the recent IWA 2023 event, we had the opportunity to get a closer look at the new Pulsar Merger LRF XQ35. It could be regarded as a successor to the now discontinued Accolade LRF XQ38. Read below to find out what were our first impressions with the new Merger and what are some of its main features.
The new Pulsar Merger LRF XQ35 is shaped like regular binoculars and just as light. To be honest, it is way more compact than we expected it to be. Some of our readers might be familiar with its predecessors, the Merger LRF XP50, which was presented at IWA 2022, and the Merger LRF XL50, unveiled at the SHOT Show 2023. We initially believed that Pulsar already achieved the pinnacle of compactness in the Merger line, but the new XQ35 model has truly surpassed it.
Pulsar decided to go in the way of designing their rangefinders in a form of classic binoculars for one simple reason. They believe it is more natural to humans to receive visual information through two visual channels simultaneously, and the devices should allow that. This supposedly results in better detection of small objects and better performance compared to the same technical level monoculars. We aren’t experts on the human observation field, but the Merger LRF XQ35 certainly has the right “feel” to it. Binoculars, in general, are in our opinion also more pleasant than monoculars in cases of prolonged use.
The new Merger LRF XQ35 really feels like something you can even take to the mountains and not pay attention to while carrying it around. We believe that it will see most use in stalk hunting, since it is ideal for long pursuits of the game.
A quality yet compact thermal sensor
Pulsar is at this point very well versed in packing quality into compact forms.
The new Merger LRF XQ35, too, has a highly sensitive European-made Lynred thermal sensor with NETD < 25 mK and resolution of 384×288 pixel at 17 µm.
This sensor will be quite effective in less favorable conditions, which means that you will be able to continue using it even if you get caught by rain, fog, or if you find yourself in highly humid environments.
Objective lens, FOV, and Magnification
Pulsar Merger LRF XQ35 has a fast F35/1.0 germanium lens, a FOV of 18x7x14 meters at 100 m, and its magnification ranges from 3 to 12x. The detection range is 1350 m.
Despite its compact and ergonomic design, it is always nice to know there are alternatives to carrying the device around.
Luckily, Merger LRF XQ35 has an ¼” socket for mounting on bipods. It might not be used much since we presume this device won’t see much use in static situations, but it is always nice to know it is there.
When observing in the dark, it is crucial to remain undetected so as not to alert the animals being observed. A common method to achieve this is by using the Display Off feature, which prevents backlight from the eyepieces. The Merger LRF XQ35 has been designed with user convenience in mind and comes equipped with a built-in proximity sensor to simplify and automate this process.
The proximity sensor acts as a display switch, effectively preventing backlight exposure in the dark. When users move the device away from their eyes, the sensor automatically switches both displays off. Conversely, when the unit is brought closer to the eyes, the displays are switched on, providing excellent image quality. This innovative feature ensures a seamless and covert observation experience in the dark.
Built-in Laser Rangefinder
Perhaps the main thing that makes the new Pulsar Merger LRF XQ35 truly multi-purpose is the built-in laser rangefinder (LRF). It is capable of measuring up to 1 km, offers single measurements and continuous scanning modes with an accuracy of ± 1 meter even in rain.
This means that the new Merger LRF XQ35 will become your best friend when pursuing game at longer distances where you need an accurate distance measurement for correct shot-placement, or when you just simply need to know the distance to your next stop.
Built-in Wi-Fi for Stream Vision 2 Connectivity
As expected, the Merger LRF XQ35 has a built-in Wi-Fi which can connect the device with Android and iOS devices through the Stream Vision 2 mobile app. The latter serves as an all-encompassing instrument for precise long-range shooting, developed to equip shooters with essential calculations and data to enhance their performance.
The Stream Vision 2 app allows for quite a few useful things. For example, using the app, the Merger LRF XQ35’s software can be wirelessly updated with a few simple clicks on a smartphone. The users can also use their smartphone to view and record real-time image transmission from the Merger, which can then be shared on social media or other platforms in a very simple manner.
The device also has a built-in video recorder that records images and videos at 1024×768 pixels. They can be stored in built-in memory which has a capacity of 16 GB.
High-Contrast HD AMOLED Displays
Looking through the eyepieces, the users are met with two HD AMOLED displays that offer crisp and richly contrasted images. The displays have a resolution of 1024×768 pixels and are powered by the AMOLED HD technology that ensures fluid and high-resolution observation while also preserving power.
8 Color Palettes
For the best possible viewing experience suitable for any application, Pulsar integrated 8 color palettes into the new Merger XQ35.
Using these palettes, the users will be able to optimize their Merger for specific needs and different conditions. The palettes available are:
- Black Hot
- Red Hot
- White Hot
- Red Monochrome
Pulsar Merger LRF XQ35 has a rugged magnesium alloy housing. It is specifically designed for prolonged and hard use, so you don’t have to worry to much about being rough with it. This compact device is surprisingly strong and can take some hard love.
It carries an IPX7 waterproof rating, so it can be used in heavy rainfall or snow. We don’t particularly recommend it, but it can even be used for up to 30 minutes when submerged to 1 meter in water. It can also be used in a wide range of temperatures, ranging from -25 to +50°C.
The eye relief is 15 mm, and the eyepieces are rubbery and comfortable to use.
Overall, the classic binocular design makes this device really easy to carry around and use. We are thrilled to see that LRF designs are moving in this direction, and we are sure there are many that will appreciate this as well.
Merger LRF XQ35 is charged by two rechargeable batteries. One 4 Ah battery is built-in, and another 3.2 Ah APS 3 battery is replaceable.
The Merger can be used for up to 11 hours of continuous use, and due to its unique embossed design, it can be replaced on-field in complete darkness by simply touching your way through the process.
At the time of writing this (April 2023), we don’t have an accurate release date of the Pulsar Merger LRF XQ35 yet.
It is our estimation, however, that it will be released around September 2023.
We are still waiting for the final price of the Merger LRF XQ35 and we won’t be able to disclose it until further up the full release timeline, but we expect the price of it to revolve around 2500-3000 €.
When we talk about new Pulsar products, we usually talk about new industry benchmarks, so we can hardly act surprised anymore when we visit their booth at the events and see cutting-edge technologies. This is why it was not unexpected for us to see the advancements made with the new Merger LRF XQ35, but it is still refreshing to know that Pulsar is not slowing down in its pursuit of pushing the boundaries of the industry.
We have no doubt that the Merger LRF XQ35 will quickly find its place in the market. It is, after all, right up the alley of what many have wanted for quite some time: a powerful thermal device with accurate laser rangefinder, neatly packed in a compact classic binoculars housing. Those that are used to hunting in the dark and could find no use in classic binoculars will now be able to add a new powerful gadget to their repertoire.
What is more is that Pulsar knows how to keep the prices down and quality high, and this is their main advantage over the competitors. The expending Merger line will keep the competition in pursuit of new answers, and this can only mean one thing for the market – more quality products.
We are excited for the release of the Merger LRF XQ35, and we will make sure to thoroughly test it as soon as it gets released. As always, we will share our findings on this blog and on our YouTube Channel. Subscribe to it here to be the first to see the results: Optics Trade YouTube channel.