People who buy night vision devices are often torn between a pair of binoculars and a pair of goggles. Where a pair of binoculars can be very helpful for hunting or similar activities, for overall use, goggles are much more practical. However, you don’t just want any pair of goggles. You want a pair by a reputable brand, that has excellent performance and reputation, and that will last for a good while. You’ll be paying a pretty penny for them, it better be worth it.
An excellent example of such a pair is the Pulsar Edge Gs. Pulsar is a well-known brand in the night vision game, and all of their products are great. The Edge Gs is a midrange pair of night vision goggles. Even though it doesn’t come with any high-end, high-tech features, it covers the basics really well and lives up to the Pulsar reputation. It may be priced a bit higher than what a first-time buyer would be willing to pay. But if you read through our review, you’ll find that the price is very well worth it.
Starting things off on the outside
We’d like to start off the review by saying that the Pulsar Edge Gs is one of the stiffest, sturdiest pairs of night vision goggles we’ve seen. It’s made of a combination of reinforced fiberglass plastic, and metal, and results in a very high quality feel in the hand. On the outside, you’ll get a rubberized surface on the contact surface areas. This adds some additional grip, as well as impact resistance.
The combination of metal and plastic doesn’t only give you stiffness. It also makes sure the goggles stay lightweight. Since they’re goggles, chances are you’ll be using them on a head mount most of the time. A head mount is included in the box, which is a nice touch. The low weight allows them to be comfortable and not weigh you down too much if they’re mounted on the head mount. One thing we did note, though, was that the included head mount may be a bit tight if you have a larger head.
Last but not least, this is an outdoor device, so we must address weather resistance. With the Edge Gs, you’re getting an IP65 rating. According to the ingress protection chart, this means it’s completely protected against dust, as well as from water jets from any direction. In layman’s terms, no water or dust can get inside under normal use cases. We would still advise that you take good care of it since it does have a lot of electronics inside.
Moving on to the inside
The Pulsar Edge Gs is a Gen 1+ night vision device. It makes use of a multi-alkaline photocathode and a CF-Super image tube. Compared to a regular Gen 1 night vision device, this improves the resolution and image clarity. If you compare it with a Gen 1 device side by side, the difference is in fact noticeable.
The Edge Gs performs very well. We found that there’s little to no distortion around the edges, something that’s common with the competition in this price range. The eyepiece is wide-angled and has five lenses, so it does cover a fairly wide field of view. All things considered, the optical performance is great, especially for the price.
As the name suggests, 1×20, the goggles have a 1x magnification factor. This basically means you’ll see through them as you would see with your naked eye. With binoculars, this is a downside. With goggles, though, any kind of magnification may easily cause dizziness and nausea. The 20mm objective lens diameter lets in plenty of light, so the image is bright and with plenty of contrast. With this combination, you’ll get a field of view of 195 feet at 100 yards.
When it gets pitch black, though, you’ll want some extra light. This is why there’s an IR illuminator in the Edge Gs. The illuminator will provide a ray of light that’s invisible to the naked eye, but the CF-Super IIT will pick it up and give you a bright image.
Now, you will find many people that claim an IR illuminator consumes too much energy. That’s not the case with the Edge Gs, and the battery life we found is actually respectable. You can easily get around 50 hours of runtime with the IR illuminator off. If you keep it on, that number drops to around 20 hours. However, it uses two AAA batteries, which are small, cheap and easy to come by. Carrying spares shouldn’t be an issue.
The last important aspect with a night vision device is whether or not it is usable at night. While this is a feature usually reserved for high-end night vision devices, the Pulsar Edge Gs does have protection from bright light. The system will automatically reduce the amount of light that gets to the image intensifier tubes, so they don’t burn out.
Final words – Is the Pulsar Edge Gs worth it?
Even though the Pulsar Edge Gs is cheaper than most of its competition, it’s actually far from a cheap device. We aren’t talking only about the price, we’re talking about the build and performance as well. It can easily measure up to competitors that cost quite a bit more, and sometimes even outperform them.
The build quality is very respectable, and the IP65 rating is impressive at this price range. The optical performance, even in pitch black scenarios, is great. You get a lightweight, yet well-built goggles that should last you a good while.
It may not be the absolute best there is in terms of night vision goggles, but at this price, we believe that Pulsar has made a product that’s worth a lot more, and performs just as good as the competition, if not much better in some regards.