The Trail series of scopes from Pulsar has two lines: the high-resolution XP line and the lower resolution (and more affordable) XQ line.
The Pulsar Trail XQ30 is one of the more affordable thermal scopes you’ll find. It’s a great choice for hunters looking for a high-performance thermal scope that doesn’t cost too much.
It’s also a good choice if you are looking for a thermal scope with a built-in video recorder.
Read on to see other features of the Pulsar Trail XQ30.
If it’s not what you were looking for, see our reviews of the best cheap thermal scopes for other recommendations.
Pulsar Trail XQ Noteworthy Features
384x288 Sensor with 21mm Lens
The XQ30 has about the same image resolution as most entry-level thermal scopes.
You are not going to be getting ultra-sharp thermal images with this scope, but image quality is good enough for most hunting conditions.
The only thing you need to make sure is that the target is not too far away because the detection range is 985 yards, but the identification range is less than 200 yards – and that you don’t increase the Magnification too much.
The 21mm objective lens is better than the usual 19mm lenses. It collects more infrared light, which makes a better quality image.
The base magnification is 1.6x. That’s enough in most hunting environments. But if you often hunt in open ranges, you can take advantage of the digital zoom to get an up-close view.
Note that zooming closer reduces image quality, especially with a lower resolution scope like the XQ30. In some situations, you may find it easier to get closer physically rather than zooming in too much.
50Hz Refresh Rate
A 50Hz refresh rate at this price is pretty good. Most entry-level scopes offer a 30Hz refresh rate. It’s good, but 50Hz offers a smoother and more fluid viewing.
It also makes it easier to keep up with a moving target.
Picture in Picture Mode
This mode is handy if you don’t want to zoom too much but would like to get a better view of where you are shooting.
PiP (picture-in-picture mode) provides a magnified view of the reticent area in a small window within the display. It improves shot accuracy.
The window covers a very small part of the display, so you still get a good view of your target.
Built-in Stadiametric Range Finder
The integrated range finder calculates distances to your target. It allows you to plan your shots well and saves you the inconvenience of carrying a separate range finder.
No need to get an external DVR to record videos. The Pulsar Trail XQ has its own built-in video recorder with 8GB of internal memory to store the videos.
It also offers live streaming via the Stream Vision App.
Waterproof and Rugged
All Pulsar Trail thermal scopes, including the XQ30, are IPX7 rated. That means they are waterproof. You can keep hunting through the rain without damaging the scope.
You can also submerge the scope in a meter of water, and it’ll be fine.
It’s also designed to be resistant to shock from an accidental fall or the recoil of a rifle.
8hr Battery Life
Most hunters won’t find it necessary to get an external battery pack for the XQ30. With 8-hour battery life, it can last through a whole day or night of hunting.
Pulsar Trail XQ Limitations
As I mentioned, don’t expect the same image sharpness and quality as a 640x480 resolution scope.
It’s good, but it quickly shows its limits when you are too far from your target or increase the Magnification too much.Some hunters will also find the base 1.6x magnification limiting when hunting in open areas. A scope with 2x or higher native Magnification is more versatile.
- Resolution: 384x288
- Magnification: 1.6x-6.4x
- Lens: 21mm
- Refresh rate: 50Hz
- Battery life: 8hrs
- Weight: 1.1lbs
The Pulsar Trail XQ offers great value for your money.
It’s one of the cheaper thermal scopes in the market, but it has great imaging performance and a level of ruggedness and reliability outdoor enthusiasts value.