Sidy By Side Review
Athlon NEOS 10x42 vs. Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42
As part of looking of doing a product review you have to establish a baseline. On this review we are going to be using the Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42 as the benchmark. The Vortex DB HD 10x42 are by volume the most sold pair of binoculars in the United States. There are more of these in the hands of shooters and hunters than any other 10x42 binoculars on the market. I personally have been packing these in my hunting gear and truck for years. They have been the perfect match of Price and Features to fit most Average Joe’s needs. I’ve enjoyed these binoculars and would strongly recommend them to anyone that is looking for a do it all pair of binoculars.
The comparison between may seem like an Apples to Oranges comparison. But I was really surprised when I took these binoculars head to head.
It was explained to me that the NEOS line was produced to meet the entry level market place. Getting the budget minded hunter a pair of good binoculars with a Lifetime Warranty at a great price. I personal think they hit that mark out of the park. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes.
Here are things I found when comparing the two.
Overall Feel – How did the units feel in my hands? Both are rubber coated, giving a feel that if you drop them they aren’t going to break. The Vortex DB felt more streamlined refined feel. While the NEOS had a meaty “Let Me Get-A-Hold of That” feel. I would not say I felt better than the other.
Eyecups – When picking up a pair of binoculars the first thing that I do is deploy the Eyecups. The DB units worked as expected. The NEOS worked as designed. Not as smooth, but got the job done.
Center Focus Wheel – Same as the Eyecups, the focus on the DB’s were smooth and seamless. Allowing for easy adjustment to find focus from target to target. The NEOS were not as smooth. Causing the user to persuade the dial to get where it needed to be to find focus. Once in focus the wheel held true and did not require constant adjustment.
Diopter- Exact same experience as the Center Focus Wheel. DB nice and smooth, NEOS needing persuasion.
Lens Caps – Some people never use them. They get tossed back in the box or right into the garage. Being one that is anal-retentive about clean glass, they are a must. The Eyecup rainguard covers were on par with each other. The front objective lens covers on the other hand are a different Story. The NEOS would just randomly fall out. While having them sit on the counter I would just look at them and one would fall off. Don’t waste your time using them for the NEOS, just leave them in the box.
Accessories – Both come with your standard Lens Cloth and Neck Strap. The NEOS came with a standard binocular carrying case. Vortex recently upped their game and now includes their GlassPak Harness Case with the binoculars directly from the factory. Sweet add on!
So by now it may seem I’m very biased and beating up on the NEOS, but let’s get to the last point.
Glass Quality and Clarity – As stated the Vortex DB are the standard of “Good Glass” for the Average Joe. I tested these units during Midday, they did very well going head to head. I was impressed. The field of view was a little better with the DB. But not enough for me to throw a stink about it. Now here comes the WOW moment. Dusk – I had focus points and went back and forth between the two as the last moments of day light started to escape the day. And to my astonishment the NEOS actually held their own till it was too dark to see. This is not what I was expecting.
Summary – Although the Athlon NEOS are a little on the unrefined side in production they are a pretty nice piece of glass for their price point. Perfect for the budget minded individual that can handle something rough around the edges but when it comes down to it they work. Athlon really hit it out of the park with The NEOS for those hunters. For the Range I would say these would be ok for using it to Zero a rifle or call impacts at 1 single target at a time out to 300-400 Yards. I would not recommend this for PRS shooters. If this fits your bill enjoy the units for half the money.