Binoculars with a built-in rangefinder are not only practical but, unfortunately, also usually very expensive. Now Minox comes with the 10 x 42 X-Range for under $ 1,500. Norbert Klups tested the cheap alternative for us.
In terms of price, Minox is still well below the Meorange from the Czech manufacturer Meopta ($ 1,749), made in Germany is therefore ruled out – the latest Minox product sees the light of day in China.
Hence the Kahles Helia Rangefinder in the same price range. In terms of quality, this doesn’t have to mean anything; in the Far East, you can produce much cheaper.
For us, end consumers, inexpensive alternatives to the premium brands are initially a pleasant market enrichment. Not everyone can or wants to put more than $ 2,000 on the table for them.
The X-Range is only available as a 10 x 42 and, at first glance, cannot be distinguished from normal binoculars. Thickenings on the underside, where the measuring technology is housed at Kahles or Swarovski, are missing.
Minox accommodates the measurement technology in the actual binocular body and works with a beam splitter.
The two halves are connected by a large bridge; the focusing wheel is large and massive. It also houses the 3 volt CR2 lithium battery, which provides the energy for around 4,000 distance measurements.
On the left eyepiece is the diopter adjustment; on the right, the sharpness of the measurement display shown on an OLED display is set. Twist-up eyecups with two-stage detent also open up the full field of view to those who wear glasses (106 out of 1,000).
The screen brightness can be adjusted to the ambient brightness in five stages using the settings menu. A gray rubber cover protects the magnesium housing and absorbs noises.
The X-Range is filled with nitrogen to prevent internal fogging and is watertight thanks to real internal focusing; the diopter adjustment ranges from +3 to -3.
With dimensions of 152 x 132 x 52 mm (height, width, depth), the Minox is very compact, but not lightweight at 990 g and is in the same class as Leica’s Geovid 10 x 42 (945 g) and Zeiss’ Victory RF 10 x 45 (995 g).
Simple operation and angle correction
There are two pushbuttons on the housing bridge – the left one is used to set the range finder individually.
You can choose whether to show how bright the display is in yards or meters and whether it shows the angle or the corrected ballistic distance.
Then the ballistic shooting distance appears above the measured distance, after which you can correct the holdover point or adjust the quick reticle adjustment (ASV) of your riflescope. The angle measurement can also be switched off completely.
If you press the right button, around the target mark appears, the next press triggers the measurement. If you keep the measurement button pressed, the device automatically switches to scan mode and carries out measurements as long as you keep it pressed – practically with moving objects.
The assignment of the two buttons can also be reversed in the menu – interesting for left-handers who prefer to measure with their left hand.
The laser reaches up to 2,800 m if the appropriate object is large enough and has a good reflective surface. Targets up to the size of a person can be measured up to about 1,600 m. A display in the form of a battery with three fill level markings shows how full the battery is.
The X-Range is equipped with ED lenses and delivers a bright and high-contrast image. It doesn’t come close to the brilliance, edge sharpness, and colorfastness of a Leica or Swarovski, which we used in the area for comparison, but the price has to be considered – for twice as much you get a better product, of course.
When it comes to light transmission, you have to cut back on binoculars packed full of electronics and require beam splitters to collect the reflected laser beams.
Such optics are not intended for night-time sitting either; at dusk, it is visible that the right half of the binoculars (with the measurement technology) is a little darker.
The test glass was carried out in the mountains and the local area. The compact optics are a pleasant companion, and their handling is very good.
The focus button runs smoothly and smoothly. In terms of measurement accuracy, there are hardly any differences between the two top brands; at distances of up to 500 m relevant for hunting, all three glasses showed the same distance up to +/- 2 m.
Game up to deer size is still appropriate at over 1,000 m; incorrect measurements were very rare. The distance is also displayed very quickly after pressing the measurement button; the Zeiss was noticeably slower.
A very good optics was combined with a precisely working laser rangefinder. The X-Range is very compact but not lightweight. Its laser rangefinder has a very long range and works quickly.
The indication of the actual shooting distance for angle shots is of great help when hunting in the mountains, and the game is clearly above or below the hunter. The price of $1,499 is to be regarded as cheap in this optics segment.