Trusted Review™ Scorecard
In my 50 years of life I have owned at least 30 pairs of binoculars, 50 or more scopes and at least a dozen spotting scopes. That alone gives me enough experience to feel comfortable about voicing an opinion on Vanguard’s latest arrival on the hunting scene, the SD1042 Binocular. As a blogger I get unique opportunities from time to time to test out cool products and publish the results. This is one such opportunity.
Among my many endeavors I am a rabid coyote hunter, hiker, and photographer. So being able to see all that is going on around me, near or far is critical to these efforts. A good pair of binoculars is a key element in all outdoor activities where clear distance vision is needed. Among those activities is wildlife scouting or viewing.
Being able to see game at a distance and before it sees you is essential when scouting and hunting. There is never a second chance in the woods so you better do it right the first time. Each trip out is unique and truly a once in a lifetime moment, every moment. So I make to excuses for equipment failure. If it cannot handle a day on the trail with me, it just can’t handle life in the real world. There’s a lot at stake out here. So I carry a back up for all my critical gear. Again, a failure out here cannot stop the trip or endanger those on it. I have to be able to trust my gear.
Now some folks can compromise and be fine with that. But they don’t hunt, fish or hike in the wilderness of Northern Maine! Out here…. compromise is a dirty word, one that leaves you short.
I am here to report that the Vanguard ED1042’s came through it all in spades.
In an effort to add clarity to my reviews I am now using a more regulated framework and a scoring system that should help all my readers get a better feel for the product. It will focus more on the key points and rank of each product on a scale of assurance. In each category to follow I will list key questions with answers and close each category with a score from 1 to 5 on how they did.
a) First impression? First lets start with the packaging. Yea I know a box is a box. But these things came in an eco friendly minimalistic recyclable cardboard box! The binocs were safely tucked away inside the case with the lens cloth and that was cool to see. No extra plastic clamshell garbage. Just an ergonomical box just big enough for it all to fit nicely and well protected. I hate all that extra trash! I want to see more of my money in the item and less in the packaging I am going to toss. Thank you Vanguard! It goes without saying as soon as you look at the smooth ergonomics of the binocs that they are very well made. Molded in strap loops, and thumb rests. I love the heft of them. They feel substantial, well constructed, not flimsy or shabby. b) Did literature indicate any aspects of the quality of product? (Yes) I’ll be honest; I hate owner’s manuals. If I need a manual on how to use a pair of binocs than you can keep them. But it was obvious from all the advertising on the outside of the box that a lot went into the making and designing of the ED1042’s. Some things I had never heard of. Things like ED glass to reduce light dispersion, and enhance color and contrast. Not to mention “phase coated prisms” for crystal clear images. Or 3 separate coatings to enhance brightness/sharpness and color separation. Wow……what else can you say! c) Did your opinion change after initial use? (Never had an opinion, looked fine.) Suffice it to say I brought them home. I have taken supposedly good binocs out on the trail with me that are now dangling from a tree branch somewhere or resting on the bottom of a blackwater bog. Now I never took them out thinking I was going to have an issue with them. But the fact that they are here sitting on my desk in my den is testament enough that they can travel with me again. I love the 10x and the 42mm lenses are great! d) Did all parts function properly? (Yes) In a word…flawless! e) Are there any unnecessary steps to use or to maintain product? (What?) These things are made to travel and just a wipe or two from time to time with the lens cloth and they are ready. That slick outer casing is a smart feature. Now when I say slick I don’t mean slippery. I mean well-designed and smooth to use. It grips easy and the weight just feels great. In fact I would say the heft is part of the reason I can hold these so steady. Light weight “toys” these are not. f) Is there any part that may not stand up to extended use? (No) Mine have about 50 solid hours of viewing through them and look like brand new. I don’t mean carrying; I mean my eyeballs peering through, rain or shine, bright sun to frozen dawn. From 65 degrees to zero! g) After extensive use in the field, how do you rank the products overall quality? (Excellant) h) How would you improve the product’s quality? Now I have been thinking really hard on this. Overall I cannot think of anything to improve that fact. Yes…..that fact….these are high quality well made binocs! Now I won’t go naming names…but I have thrown so many pairs of T’s and B’s shortfalls I won’t even look at that stuff on clearance! Now my 10 year old plays with better stuff than some hunters I know use. But I won’t compromise….
a) Will product perform each time? (Yes) The design is so well done that short of running over them with a tractor or strapping them to a terrorist. They will serve their owner well for a long time. b) Will it last multiple seasons? (Yes) My son can look forward to getting this pair in about ten years…..maybe. c) Will it live up to or outperform the advertising and claims on it’s packaging? (Yes) d) Would you expect to have to bring a backup item in case product breaks down or doesn’t perform as expected? (Never again) e) With normal maintenance how long would you expect product to last? (10-20 years.)
a) After use what value do you place on product? I no longer carry my other binocs; these are my constant companions and will be from here on. b) Is it a good buy overall? Being a reviewer has it’s advantages and one is I didn’t have to buy these to test them. But based on the prices I have been able to get. I can honestly say they are a great value for the price. c) Would you buy it again? That’s like asking a NASCAR driver would he go fast……of course!
a) Is it good enough for friends or family? Ok…. Let’s just say I now have two cousins who are lugging Vanguards who use to swear by the “B” and “T’s”. b) Would you recommend it? (Yes…and Have!) c) If referring it, is there something to warn them about, a problem or shortcoming? This is a great question. How many times have you had someone tell you all about something then add “But”? Like a scope that was great in good light but was worthless in the darkness of cedar swamps. Or was clear as day as long as you never took it into deer camp because it would fog up going from warm to cold or back again. I have no warnings…….they have lived up to every claim and deliver! d) Would you refer the brand, not just the product? Great question. I once had a scope from a “package gun” that worked fantastic for me. Because the scope worked so well I thought all of that company’s products would be equally good. I was wrong! But in absolute fairness to Vanguard, I would have to point out the extensive design work and the technology built into the Spirit ED1042’s. It’s clearly an indication of a company striving to create a premium product. That also indicates to me a company striving for excellance! Not just in one product but across the board in all their product lines. So yes I would not only recommend Vanguard Spirit ED 1042’s, but suggest you try all of their fine products. This is clearly a company that understands the rigors of hunting and outdoor use.