Night Hero Binoculars Review

BBR YouTube Version of this Night Hero Binoculars Review

I was recently sent in a question from a reader asking me what I thought about the “As Seen on TV” Atomic Beam Night Hero Binoculars.

At only around $33, they were being advertised as a pair of “Amazing Night Vision Binoculars” that can also be used during the day and my reader wanted to know if you can actually use them to see at night and did I think they should get a pair?

Amazing Night Vision Binoculars - Night Hero by Atomic Beam!

I was really busy at the time and because I have seen many very cheap binoculars similar to the Night Hero that promise you that they can the ultimate day & night instrument, I initially started my reply thinking I would just give them a really short answer that would get directly to the point:

What I think About the Night Hero Binoculars from Atomic Beam:
At best it is nothing more than a cheap binocular with a laser pointer attached to it that should be avoided.

Can you use them to see at night: No.

Should you buy them: No, most definitely do not buy them!

I almost hit send… but then I thought, perhaps I was being a little too hasty and as I had not even used or seen them, perhaps I should do a little research first as just maybe someone had cracked the code on how to make the most incredible night vision device for under $50! So I did…

What The Night Hero Claims:

As seen on TV Night Hero binoculars
Note: I wanted to include the excellent promotional video created by BulbHead in this review, but unfortunately for some reason, it is not on YouTube, so I can’t embed it. But you can check it out on the Amazon.com Listing of the product Here.

Hunter Ellis (FMR Fighter Pilot) Introducing the Night Hero Binoculars
Hunter Ellis (FMR Fighter Pilot) Introducing the Night Hero Binoculars

Hunter Ellis: FMR Fighter Pilot
If you do get watch the promotional video for the Night Hero binocular by Atomic Beam, you get a very polished presentation from none other than Hunter Ellis, FMR Fighter Pilot.

Wow, that sounds impressive! But I did wonder what an FMR Fighter Pilot is, so I did some research… nothing! Then it dawned on me, it stands for former! Why they could not have just written that? I guess the FMR in capitals looks even cooler than just your average fighter pilot!

Anyway for those who are wondering, yes, Hunter Ellis is a former Navy pilot, turned into a television personality.

Night Time Capability
Anyway I digress, but in his impressive presentation (conducted at night) of the Night Hero binoculars he starts by making the following claim:

“These binoculars let you see anything, even in pitch black darkness”

And then just to emphasize just how good they are, they use the following image:

Wolf at Night – Night Vision example by Night Hero

Apparently, the secret to this incredible ability is the “powerful wide-angle Atomic Beam laser” that has a range of 150-yards.

What is more, during the day, the 10x power is perfect for watching live action sports as well as sightseeing and apparently if you like bird watching, they are a must!

Then as the sun sets, all you need to do is press the night vision button to see clearly in the dark!

The presentation continues, but I think you get the picture. According to BulbHead and Hunter Ellis, these things are incredible and at such a cheap price, why wouldn’t you want to buy them? Well…

What the Night Hero Actually Does:

Night Hero Binoculars Review Title
Night Hero Binoculars

How the Night Hero Binocular Works

If we cut to the chase, basically the Night Hero is just a standard 10x30 roof prism binocular with a green laser pointer bolted onto it. Nothing more!

So during the day, these will work just like any other standard, but cheap binocular. If you want to know more, take a look at my complete guide to How Binoculars Work.

Atomic Beam Laser
For night time use, let us take a look at the secret sauce on these “night vision binoculars” and that is what they describe as the “Powerful Wide Angle Atomic Beam Laser”.

This laser emitter simply acts like a torch (but not a very good one) by lighting up an area in front of you, which then helps you to “see in the dark”

Except you are not really seeing in the dark. You are seeing because the view has been illuminated by a green laser light!

A simple, but powerful torch beam would certainly be more effective than this. But hey, this would not look cool!

Night  Vision Laser on the Night Hero Binocular
Night Vision Laser on the Night Hero Binocular

Green Light
The fact that the light is green is good for marketing as it resembles the green image that we have become accustomed to seeing when we see night vision footage on the TV. However, in this case, it is not caused by a green laser, rather it is green because those devices have a special phosphor screen in them that is used to project an image created by the collected light that has been converted into electrons and them amplified.

I think another source of confusion here is that many Real Night Vision Devices (see below) use an infrared illuminator to provide light for the device to work when there is not enough ambient light from sources like the stars or the moon.

The difference here is infrared is invisible to the naked eye, yet the Night Vision Binocular is able to use that light just like a torch and completely light up the scene, even in total darkness.

10x30mm Configuration
If you want a binocular that performs well in low light, you need large lenses. Just like the windows in your house, larger lenses can collect and let in more light and smaller ones.

Standard day-time binoculars with an average low light ability have 42mm lenses, whilst binoculars specifically designed to work well in low light have much larger than this. For example, the excellent Steiner Nighthunter 8x56 Binoculars use large 56mm lenses.

Going even further, on binoculars for astronomy, the lenses are often between 70mm and 100mm in diameter which helps them collect as much of the available light as possible.

So at 30mm, I would say that these are most certainly not ideal for low light, never mind night time use.

So these lenses working in combination with the green laser, I can guarantee that there is no way you will be able to achieve the level of clarity and brightness at night time as what they suggest is possible on their publicity images and videos.

How Real Night Vision Works

To get a real working night vision device that doesn’t simply use a laser to visibly light up the area in front of you like a torch there are three main options available for civilians on the market.

Phosphor Screen Night Vision Binoculars, Monoculars & Scopes
First, you get the traditional devices that collect the available light in the form of photons, these are then converted into electrons, amplified and projected onto a phosphor screen to create an image.

BTW: The reason the view is green on these NV devices is that the phosphor used for the screen is green and not because your view has been illuminated by a cheap green laser pointer!

For more, check out my Complete Guide to Night Vision Devices

Digital Night Vision Binoculars
The second and generally cheaper option is to use a Digital Night Vision Device. The advantage here is that not only is it often less expensive than the phosphor screen devices, but it makes it much easier to record what you are looking at.

For more: How Digital Night Vision Works

Thermal Night Vision
Another method is by using heat detection to make an image. Know as thermal imaging, they work best when viewing objects that are drastically different in temperature to their surroundings, like animals and people and which is why they are popular with the military, security services, and hunters. For an example check out what I think is the Best Thermal Monocular for Hunting Under $600, the excellent FLIR Scout.

Thermal Night Vision
Thermal Night Vision

Cost
Whilst you will need to spend a little more than the $33 it costs to buy the Night Hero, you don’t have to break the bank, especially now that digital night vision has really brought the price down and the advantage is that it will actually work!

For more, take a look at the following:

Not Just Me

So there you have it! Honestly, these Atomic Bean Night Hero Binoculars are nothing more than a con.

If you want a really cheap pair for binoculars with a laser pointer strapped to them, then, by all means, get them.

However, you will see much better in the dark with a bright torch strapped to the front of a good pair of binoculars with large lenses.

No hands-On Review?
Now I know there may be some of you out there thinking, “Hold on a minute, this guy has not even tried them, how does he know they don’t work”.

Believe you me, I wanted to give them a try, but unfortunately, they seem to be only available in North America and I cannot source a pair on this side of the pond.

However fear not, I am not the only one saying this. Thankfully there are many others out there and whilst they may not know as much as I do about binoculars, they don’t need to! This is because as soon as they try them at night, they come to the same conclusion:

The Atomic Beam Night Hero is not a night vision binocular.

For a hands-on review, check out this video by James White of Freakin’ Reviews on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/x6ObNr7ZW2U

Further Reading

Complete Guide to Night Vision Devices with Reviews

Share

Comments are closed.