HIK Vision Micro Pro Owl (35mm 640x512) - test & review

The top dog in the HIKVision thermal collection. Great performance and an attractive asking price

The top dog in the HIKVision thermal collection. Great performance and an attractive asking price - Credit: Archant

Paul Austin reviews the HIK Vision Micro Pro Owl (35mm 640x512) thermal monocular, and is impressed by the performance and value for money

The Owl is quite sizeable but both the image quality ans accompanying App are impressve

The Owl is quite sizeable but both the image quality ans accompanying App are impressve - Credit: Archant

We’ve taken a look at the smaller sensor models in the HikVision range before and even given one away as a competition price. Now it’s time to take a look at the big boy... the 640x512, 35mm model, namely the Micro Pro Owl 35.

There’s a few standout features, not least of which is the price, which for a 640 sensor is about as good as it gets. It’s only real competitor at this price point is the iRay E6+. To be honest, there’s little in it in terms of general performance/features, although the HikVision unit does have a lower NETD rating and superior app/wifi connectivity.

The NETD figure basically means the HikVision unit has a higher thermal dynamic range. Which equates to better definition between heat sources of a similar temperature. In the real world, that essentially translates into slightly better performance in poor/damp conditions. The bottom line is you’ll have to take a close look at the specs of each unit and see which one floats your boat when it comes to specific features.

The Owl Pro isn’t perfect, it’s quite large and fairly heavy compared to its peers and the light grey colour scheme isn’t to everyone’s taste for hunting, but you can’t argue with the price and performance. The tacticool looking dioptre dial is difficult to adjust in gloves, but to be fair that’s pretty much a ‘set and forget’ feature for a solo user.

The top dog in the HIKVision thermal collection. Great performance and an attractive asking price

The top dog in the HIKVision thermal collection. Great performance and an attractive asking price - Credit: Archant

Field of view is good and the internal screen is a generous size, there’s also plenty of range for finetuning the focus for a pin-sharp image. Brightness and contrast controls are slightly buried in the sub-menus, but like all the unit’s functions, they’re easily accessible and via the accompanying app.

The app itself is a big improvement over the iRay offering, although not quite as slick as Pulsar’s Streamvision. It nevertheless offers instant access to all the core functions, image adjustment, video recording and remote management features.

There are four colour palettes on offer, alongside brightness and contrast control. Magnification goes from base to 2x then 4x and then cycles back to the base mag which is plenty. The 8x, offered by some other units is rarely of much use as the degree of pixelization renders it fairly useless in most cases.

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The main controls couldn’t be much simpler with the first managing the mag level, the second, menu access, third, photo or video control, with the fourth mod button cycling through the 4 available colour palettes – white hot, black hot, fusion and red hotspot. The power button completes the control options, which via a shot click doubles up as a standby button.

The now familiar up/down, short-click, long-click combinations control and toggle functions and access sub-menus. All of these will be very familiar to anyone who’s operated any kind or IR of thermal device in the past. Even a complete beginner will be perfectly at home with the unit after a couple of trips

It’s very solidly built but it isn’t exactly small or indeed light, and you’d certainly struggle to squeeze it into a pocket, but you can’t argue with that core feature set and image quality offered by the excellent 640 sensor. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely got some real appeal at the asking price.

Tech specs

Product: HIK Micro Owl PRO 35mm 35mK 640x512 17um Smart Thermal Monocular

Colour palettes: 4

Display: OLED (1024x768)

FOV: @ 100 yards 17.7°

Magnification: 4x digital - 1.4x optical

NETD: <35mK

Objective lens: 35mm

Pixel pitch: 17?m

Range finder: Stadiametric

Refresh rate: 50HZ

Sensor size: 640x512

Photo/video/sound recording: Yes

Wifi connectivity to app: Yes

3 year UK warranty: 3 year

Supplier: Optics Warehouse

Web: www.opticswarehouse.co.uk

Price: £2,349.99