EyeClops Night Vision Binoculars: Same Tech, New Form Factor

Geek Culture

Image: Jakks PacificImage: Jakks Pacific

Image: Jakks Pacific

Think winter’s early dusks reduce kids’ outdoor playtime? Not if they can see in the dark! Last year I reviewed a pair of Eyeclops night vision goggles, which offered a new and exciting product: night vision for kids. This year’s model is formatted as a pair of binoculars instead of goggles.

At first glance, the EyeClops Night Vision Binoculars have much in common with the preceding model. Both units are basically a web cam with the IR filter stripped off, a LCD display and a bunch of infrared LEDs, powered by a battery pack of 5 AA cells. You look through the viewfinder (or in the case of the googles, they’re strapped to your head) and can see in the dark thanks to the IR illumination.

There are two modes, “stealth” and “long range.” The former uses low-power IR diodes, which don’t project much infrared light and consequently don’t allow much in the way of distance vision. Whereas the “long range” setting uses high-power LEDs, which in addition to a whole lotta IR, actually radiate a small amount of red light in the visible spectrum, allowing others to spot you more readily, I suppose.

Both versions also have two ways of viewing, either RGB (which is usually washed out in white, resembling B&W except for splashes of color where visible light shines) and green. The latter is essentially monochrome, colored green to simulate more traditional night vision technology.

OK, these two gadgets are pretty much the same, right? So, what’s new with the binoculars? Well, mainly that they’re binoculars — hand-held instead of worn.

While I appreciate the hands-free aspect of the goggles, I actually preferred holding the binoculars in my hands — they’re reasonably compact and easy to manage. By contrast, the goggles aren’t a cohesive unit — the battery pack is on the back of your head, separate from the main goggles. It’s actually somewhat of a pain to get on, and smaller kids often need help. As an added bonus, anyone can use the binoculars whereas the goggles are kid sized and don’t fit on my head; the binoculars not only work fine for me, they fit comfortably over my big nerd glasses.

The final difference is a doozy — the goggles are monocular, so you’d have night vision through one eye and darkness in the other. The binoculars, on the other hand, allow you to see with both eyes: much more satisfying!

Wired: Cyberpunk appearance, kid-friendly operation and they really work!

Tired: Hand-held form factor makes those midnight Nerf battles a little dodgy.

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