Vortex Razor HD Binoculars

By Adam Bender
Vortex Razor HD BinocularsFew people would argue with the fact that your binoculars are one of the most-used pieces of equipment you own. From scanning a basin to sizing up the last few inches on that trophy, quality glass is a must. However, the gap in pricing between binoculars has become so severe that at times it’s hard to determine low-end, mid-range and high-quality optics. What used to be thought of as “expensive” is now mid-range and what used to be mid-range is now low-end.

Vortex has emerged onto the scene in recent years and has introduced a binocular – the Razor HD – that not only fits very well into that quickly vanishing mid-range class, but also does so with excellence. With some of the upper tier of binoculars now easily surpassing $2000, suddenly a $1200 piece of good-quality glass such as the Razor HD seems like a steal.

While defined for our purposes as mid-range, the Razor held its own against many binoculars we compared it to in side-by-side testing, and has some high-end components and capabilities. Looking through the Razor HDs, you can instantly see the crisp, clean image these binoculars produce. This is mainly due in part to the new HD objective lens elements. This premium, extra-low dispersion glass delivers fantastic resolution and color fidelity, which together result in high definition images.

Besides the multi-coated lenses, magnesium chassis, and ergonomic design, these binoculars do have a few features that stand out. ArmorTek® repels the oil and corrosive salts of fingerprints from lenses and is chemically bonded to the outer glass elements, providing scratch-resistant, stain-proof surfaces. Also, when you pick them up, the open-hinge design and defined balance fits them perfectly to the contour of your hands.

In a side-by-side comparison at dusk, this glass outperformed another mid-range binocular by a fair margin. To up the ante even more, I compared them with two sets of glass priced over $2,000. The results? I can’t say that the Razor HD came in number one, but I do think that the comparison was so close that it would be very easily justifiable to save the extra $1000 and stay with the Razor.

With the way that optics prices are headed, I’d say the Razor HDs are sitting right where they need to be, both in quality and affordability. They’re a great piece of glass – a true bargain for the price – and won’t leave you out in the cold at crunch time.

Overall design: They feel very balanced and comfortable in your hands. Functional and made with good-quality materials.
Ease of Use: The focus wheel is buttery smooth and allows for quick focusing.
Durability: For as lightweight as they are, I was expecting some issues. However, they’re rock solid.
Cosmetics: Very clean looking with no clutter - a great looking set of glass.
Improvements: The diopter adjustment needs to be reworked. It’s extremely easy to pull out, and if bumped, could cost you when you’re in a hurry.
Cost/Contact: Average retail price $1,199. For more information, go to http://www.vortexoptics.com.