Pulsar Axion Review – New Line of Thermal Monoculars 

 March 27, 2019

By  Randy Angwin

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Last updated on January 8, 2022

Are you on the hunt for the finest quality thermal imaging money can buy? Look no further as Pulsar has you covered.  

Pulsar is the leading brand in thermal and night vision technologies, developing scopes for specialists and hobbyist from all walks of life. These technologies empower people to hunt in many scenarios with more visual clarity. 

Using quality lenses, casings, and powerful thermal sensors Pulsar provides you with thermal optics that can stand the test of time. 

Pulsar’s Latest Model:

Pulsar's newest line of thermal monculars which was just released is their AXION models. These thermal imaging monoculars are built on a 12um thermal sensor architecture and feature 320x240 thermal resolution. The 12um architecture allows for some of the smallest thermal imaging monoculars currently being produced. The Axion will fit comfortably in one hand and weighs around 300  grams.

The Axion line includes all of Pulsar's latest features including, Stream Vision application support (not available on the Key model), IPX7 rating, durable housing, picture in picture, and and image recording, and their quick change battery pack.

They have also released the Axion Key which is the perfect choice if you are on a budget or are looking to purchase your first thermal imaging monocular and want to make sure that it will be a good investment.

When you carry a device or gadget on long trips such as animal tracking and hunting, the first aspects to consider are the weight & the size. Pulsar caters to this with its new range in small handheld optics with its three different thermal monocular designs.  

Before we review the three different monoculars, let’s take a look at some of the features and technologies used to make these innovative units. 

The Size:

Pulsar Axion Thermal

The Pulsar’s Axion thermal monoculars are so small they can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand or in your pocket. The design is so light it won’t weigh you down when you’re traveling long distances. 

With its lightweight and small design, you’re able to go on many outdoor adventures without having to hassle with older bulky optics. It’s perfect for those who love scouting and spotting. 

New 12 Um technology:

The new Axion range has an integrated 12 µm pixel pitch and thermal imaging sensor which allows a higher optic magnification. The imaging sensor technology allows for the device’s small structure and helps you observe distant objects more clearly. 

Structure and Housing Features:

Pulsar Axion Thermal controls

The Pulsar Axion is made with a strong magnesium alloy housing. The magnesium alloy is light in weight but extremely rugged which ensures the longevity of the exterior as well as protecting the sensitive internal components from damage. 

Imagery and Recording:

The Axion range has an integrated video recorder and camera so you’re able to save your experiences with a click of a button. The non-shake technology ensures crisp clear imagery every time. The only Axion that doesn’t come with video and image recording is the Key series which is their budget entry.

With 16 GB of space, you’re able to record and store many videos & images without running out of space. All Axion optic units come with a fast 50Hz refresh rate allowing you to track moving targets easily.

Streaming and App Support:

The Axion range (aside from the Key) comes with built-in Wi-Fi which allows you to connect your device to any Android or iOS SmartPhone.  

You can download a support application that allows you to live-stream your experiences. Share videos and images with family & friends anytime, anywhere and update your firmware whenever you need to. You can download content and files as well as additional apps that are compatible with your device. 

Power Source: 

The Axion has a mini B-Pack power system that’s rechargeable by using the charging dock it comes with or by plugging in a USB cable from a power source. The B-Pack batteries can be removed and replaced with new batteries quickly & easily.  

You don’t have to wait for hours before going on an adventure as the batteries are fast charging. 

Distance Detection: 

With the 12 µm thermal imaging sensor you can spot objects 6ft high at 1700 meters. These images can be in full vision even in complete darkness. This is perfect for tracking and viewing nocturnal animals. 

Lens quality: 

Each Axion unit is waterproof (IPX7) and the lens which repels condensation. You can submerge the units in water for up to 30 minutes without the internal parts getting damaged. The Axion units are temperature resistant so you can use them in almost any climate conditions.  

It’s important to note that the Axion Key series uses a Chalcogenide lens instead of Germanium which is a more expensive, quality lens. Hence the Key's lower cost which is great if you are looking to purchase your first monocular but don't want to spend too much money.

Additional Features:

Pulsar’s Axion range has more features that add to the quality of these innovative optic units.

These features include:

  • High optic magnification
  • Instant user-friendly startup
  • HD AMOLED display (Axion Key comes with LOCO display)
  • IPX7 waterproof scope 
  • Picture in Picture
  • Light structure

Pulsar Axion XM30

Light in weight the Axion XM30 thermal monocular weighs only 8.8oz, but this optic device gives you everything you need for all your outdoor adventures. With its full HD and eight palette color display, you’re able to take thermal videos like a professional. 

Stream your experiences live with the Axion XM30 Stream Vision app so all your friends and family can share your experiences with you. You can even capture some stills with the XM30 picture-in-picture display and upload them for viewing. 

The XM30 has a 12 µm thermal sensor with a 320x240 pixel resolution for optimal image quality. With its 4-16 x4 zoom and the F28/1.2 objective lens, you’re able to pick up images at 1200 meters away.  

The rugged exterior and waterproof housing ensure you can take your Axion XM30 through any conditions. Change the way you experience life with the Pulsar’s Axion XM30 monocular.  

  • Wi-Fi device
  • Android and iOS compatible 
  • IPX7 waterproof lens
  • Temperature operation at -25°C to +40°C
  • Magnification of 4 – 16 (x4 zoom)
  • 16GB memory
  • Range 1,400 yards
  • HD AMOLED display
  • 50Hz frame rate 
  • 320x240 thermal sensor
  • Video and photo resolution of 1024x768 pixels 
  • MP4, JPEG video and picture format 
  • Wi-Fi frequency 2.4GHz
  • Battery power operation
  • F28/1.2 objective lens
  • 7.8x5.9 / 13.7x10.3 field of view

Pulsar Axion XM38

The Pulsar Axion XM38 is one of the most convenient optic devices you can get. Its compact and lightweight design may seem fragile but it’s rugged & durable exterior makes it the perfect optic for any outdoor activities.  

Devices tend to have complicated displays, but Pulsar strives to make their products easy to use for anyone. Take high-quality thermal videos and pictures with its full-color HD AMOLED display & share them with the world via the Stream Vision App.  

When you get your very own Axion XM38 you may feel a bit overprotective because the last thing you want is for it to get damaged. However, the design can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without getting damaged. The magnesium alloyed exterior ensures longevity and protection of the interior components & structure. 

The Pulsar Axion XM38 is suitable for hunting, tracking, bird spotting, animal safaris, extreme sports and more. 

  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Wi-Fi device
  • Android and iOS compatible 
  • 320x240 thermal resolution
  • 12 µm sensor
  • 5.5 - 22 (x4 zoom)
  • Range of 1700 meters
  • 50Hz frame rate
  • F38/1.2 lens
  • AMOLED display
  • 1024x768 video and photo resolution 
  • MP4, JPEG video and picture format
  • Battery power operation 
  • 16GB storage capacity 
  • Temperature operation at -25°C to +40°C

Pulsar Axion Key XM30

The Axion XM30 Key may not have as many features as its two counterparts but it still has all the benefits you need. It’s an inexpensive thermal imaging unit which may fit well within a tight budget and may suit those who prefer not to share experiences online. 

The Key XM30 still has a compact and lightweight design like the Axion XM30 & XM38. The Key series is more appropriate to use for targets up to 1200 meters away with its 2-10 lens setup and 4x digital zoom. 

What’s more, is the Axion Key actually uses a Chalcogenide lens instead of Germanium which is one of the main reasons for its lower cost. While Chalcogenide lenses are not the same quality as Germanium lenses they are still very good and help make the Key XM30 much cheaper. 

The only major difference with this monocular is that it has no video and picture recording. If you’re more of an old school person who prefers to view objects without taking pictures and videos then the Pulsar Axion Key monocular is definitely for you. 

  • 16GB internal space
  • Uses APS3 batteries
  • Objective lens of F28/1.2
  • 2.5 - 10 (x4 optic zoom)
  • -320x240 thermal sensor
  • 12 µm sensor
  • Detection range 1200 meters
  • 50Hz frame rate
  • 7.8x5.9 / 13.7x10.3 field of view 
  • LCOS display
  • 960x720 pixel display
  • Temperature operation at -10°C to +40°C
  • Wi-Fi
  • Live streaming
  • Application use
  • Video recording

Final Thoughts:

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a professional, the Pulsar Axion thermal monocular range caters to all your needs. These lightweight compact devices are perfect for hiking, cycling, hunting, tracking and more at any time of the day or night. 

Pulsar has managed to integrate thermal technology features that can now fit into the palm of your hand. With the easy to use interfaces, anyone can enjoy the Axion series.

If your looking to buy your first thermal monocular on a budget we recommend the Axion Key. While you won't be able to record or stream video with it the thermal image quality is top notch for the price.

For  those of you looking to upgrade your thermal moncular or are looking for a smaller high quality monocular with all the bells and whistles but don't need the long range of the Axion XM38, the XM30 is a great choice.

Go capture those important moments of your life and share them with all your friends & family by getting your very own Axion thermal monocular.

About the author 

Randy Angwin

Randy Angwin holds a master of science degree from University of Florida. He is an expert in infrared and night vision technology. His knowledge helps us staying on top of the latest trends in the thermal industry. When not working, Randy likes to hunt and spend time with his two German shepherds.

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