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ATN ThOR LT

ATN ThOR LT Budget Thermal Scope Review

The ATN ThOR LT is one of the most affordable thermal scopes in the market. It is a cheaper alternative to the pricier models in the ATN ThOR series and scopes from other brands like Pulsar and FLIR.

ATN Corp brings down the ATN ThOR LT price by focusing only on the basics that you need for a successful hunt. Many of the features available in ATN ThOR 4 scopes are absent in the LT.

Video recording and streaming? Nope.

Built-in range finder? Nope.

Ballistic calculator? Also, nope.

Instead, you get just the essentials: decent resolution, zoom, one-shot zero, and long battery life.

If you are just starting out hunting or don’t have the budget for most thermal scopes, we highly recommend the no-frills ATN ThOR LT.

Read on for our full review. For other affordable options, see our reviews of the best cheap thermal scopes.

If this is your first time buying a thermal scope, you may also want to read our introductory guide to thermal scopes and what to consider when buying a thermal hunting scope.

Pros

  • Very good value for money – great performance at an affordable price.
  • Lightweight and easy to mount.
  • Easy zeroing.
  • Crisp HD display.
  • High refresh rate.
  • Long battery life.

Cons

  • Not ideal for long-range hunting.
  • A few software bugs.
  • Limited features.
  • Mounting rings not included.

Specifications

  • Resolution: 160x120 or 320x240 
  • Magnification: 3-6x or 4-8x
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Palettes: black hot and white hot
  • Display: 1280 x 720
  • Eye relief: 90mm
  • Battery life: 10 hours, USB-C charging
  • Operating temperature: -20°F to +120°F
  • Weight: 1.4lbs

Buying Options 

Buying options for ATN Thor LT

The ThOR LT thermal scope is available in a range of options with varying prices.

For resolution, you can select low-resolution 160x120 sensor or a mid-resolution 320x240 sensor. ATN doesn’t offer a 640x480 resolution for the LT scope.

 For magnification, you can select a 3-6x lens or a 4-8x lens for the 160x120 scope. If you choose the 320x240 scope, zoom option is 2-4x, 3-6x or 5-10x.

Key Features 

ATN ThOR black white hot mode

The ThOR LT is pretty basic, so our features section will be brief. If you love the bells and whistles on pricier scopes like video streaming and ballistic calculator, the ThOR LT is definitely not for you.

If you only need the basics to hunt down coyotes, wild boar, or deer, you’ll find the following features adequately.

1. Decent Resolution for Beginners and Short/Mid Range Hunting 

It’s not surprising that ATN does not offer a 640x480 sensor for any of the LT scopes for the price. That would probably put the price at over $3,000.

If your budget is tight, you’ll probably go for the lowest 160x120 sensor. This resolution is one of the lowest you can get when choosing a thermal scope.

It doesn’t have the crispiness and detail you get from a 320 or 640 sensor, but it’s great for beginners and short-range hunting.

The biggest limitation you’ll experience with the 160x120 sensor is the detection range. With the 3-6x zoom lens, the detection range is 475 yards, and the identification range (where you can make out clearly what animal it is) is just 160 yards.

The 320x240 sensor can detect targets further out, which makes it ideal for mid-range hunting. With the 2-4x lens, you can detect animals at 715 yards and identify them at 200 yards. With the priciest 5-10x lens, the detection and identification range is 1620 yards and 415 yards.

Another limitation to keep in mind, especially if you choose the 160x120 sensor, is zoom capability. With lower resolution, the image gets grainy when you zoom in too much. That’s one reason the 320x240 sensor is paired with a lens with a wider zoom range compared to the 160x120 sensor.

But even with the 320 sensors, you’ll still get some loss of sharpness as you zoom in.

Customers who report the best hunting experience with the ThOR LT generally stick to short hunting ranges. When you are closer to the target, you don’t have to zoom in too much.

But don’t get discouraged. Though the ATN ThOR LT is less capable than pricier scopes, it’s still a great deal better than night vision (image intensifier) scopes. See our comparison between thermal scopes and night vision to understand why a cheap thermal scope is still better for hunters than night vision.

2. High Refresh Rate 

We are surprised that ATN offers a 60 Hz refresh rate for all the scopes. We are used to budget and mid-range scopes with a stuttering 30 Hz refresh rate.

The advantage of such a high refresh is that it makes it easier and more comfortable to track a moving target. As you move the rifle and the animal moves, the image stays smooth.

A high refresh rate is handy when you are targeting a pack of wild boars. Once you take your first shot, it turns helter-skelter with animals running around to escape the danger. The 60 Hz refresh rate makes it easy to quickly swing your rifle to a moving boar, lock down the target and take a shot.

For a good example of such a situation, take a look at this video of hunters using the ATN ThOR LT to take down boars. We’ve time-stamped it to where the action begins.

3. One-Shot Zero 

ATN likes to boast about the one-shot zero feature in their scopes. It’s available in their pricier thermal scopes as well.

One-shot zero allows you to zero your scope with just one shot. This works well for the premium ThOR 4 scopes.

But, as many users have reported, it’s more like two or three-shot zero with the LT. Some are lucky and manage to zero their scope with a single shot. But if you want pinpoint accuracy, we recommend repeating the shot two or three times.

You may also need to re-zero the scope regularly, as there have been reports that it loses focus after a hunting trip or two.

4. Adjustable Color Palettes 

Granted, there are only two palette options to choose from (compared to six or more you get on ThOR 4 scopes), but they are adequate for most beginners and environments.

The two palettes are black hot and white-hot.

5. Crisp Display 

The ThOR LT makes up for the average thermal resolution with excellent display resolution. The 1280x720 HD display is crisper and brighter than what you get with some $3,000+ thermal scopes.

6. Lightweight Design 

The ATN ThOR LT weighs just 1.4lbs, making it a good choice if you are looking for a scope that will not add too much weight to your rifle.

A lighter scope makes for easy portability and improves your rifle’s balance and accuracy. And with a simple scope like the LT that lacks a range finder or ballistic calculator, you’ll need all the help you can get to achieve accurate shots.

Ease of Use

Easy to use ATN ThOR

One of the best things about the ATN ThOR LT is how easy it is to use. Without a gazillion features to use, it’s super easy to get started.

You don’t have to figure out how to record or stream a video, set up a ballistics calculator, or use a range finder.

The only thing you need to do is zero the ThOR LT, and you are ready to hunt.

The lack of many features also means a simple and bare-bones menu that’s easy to use. The control panel has just five buttons for zoom, brightness control, and adjusting palette.

Of course, you’ll need a couple hours with the scope to practice using it, especially if this is your first scope. You need to practice how to focus the scope and how to zoom while maintaining good image quality.

But overall, beginners will have an easy time using the ATN ThOR LT thermal scope.


Battery Life 

ATN ThOR LT Budget Thermal Scope

ATN ThOR thermal scopes have always had exceptional battery life thanks to their low-power technology. ATN ThOR scopes can run for over 15 hours on a single charge.

The ATN ThOR LT has a smaller Li-Ion battery, but it still delivers an amazing 10+ hours of battery life.

If you want more battery life than this (e.g., when going on a multi-day hunting trip), get the ATN Power battery pack that delivers up to 22 hours of battery life.


Comparison with ATN ThOR 4

ATN ThOR LT vs. ATN ThOR 4

ThOR 4 is ATN’s series of premium thermal scopes. The cheapest one starts at around $2,000, and prices go over $4,000 for the high-performance models.

ATN ThOR 4 thermal scopes generally have a better thermal resolution, a wider zoom range, and longer detection distances.

ThOR 4 scopes also come with plenty of extra features compared to ThOR LT. These include a built-in ballistic calculator, an integrated smart range finder, several color palettes, video recording, video streaming, and remote app control.

The ATN ThOR LT is a great choice if: 

  • You are on a budget.
  • You mostly hunt from close range.
  • You don’t do any serious hunting. If you mostly want a thermal scope to keep boars and coyotes from your home or farm, the LT will do.
  • You want a simple, no-frills thermal scope that’s easy to use.

The ATN ThOR 4 is a great choice if: 

  • You are upgrading to a more capable thermal scope.
  • You want to be able to track and target animals from a long distance.
  • You do a lot of serious hunting and need a capable scope that can keep up. Features like a range finder and ballistic calculator will greatly improve accuracy.
  • You have a bigger budget.
  • You’d like to record or stream video when hunting.

Where to Buy?

About the Author Rob Carson

I work in commercial construction, in Dallas, TX.

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