Athlon Argos Binoculars 10X42 Review : Why You Should Buy It!
Having tested the impressive Athlon Ares 8x42 I thought it would be a great idea to test the more affordable Athlon Argos 10x42. Just like the Ares series, the Argos series is available in a number of configurations. There is an 8x42, an 8x34mm a 10x34 and even a 12x50 variant.
Priced at less than $300 the affordable Argos 10x42 is slightly pricier than the 8x42 version but still within the financial reach of most. With that being said, does it offer anything different or is it just another budget binocular? This is the question I sought to answer when I shelled out $239 on my Argos 10x42.
Is This For You? Let's Find Out!
At first sight, the Argos 10x42 is quite a compact binocular. Moreover, weighing 24.6 ounces it is one of the lightest offerings from Athlon. Which makes it a perfect option for hunters. Apart from its compact design, it is also ergonomic. All these attributes make it an ideal budget option for hunters.
I would not recommend it for birdwatching though. Reason being that it has a close focus distance of 4 meters or 13ft. This is quite long especially if you want to get a close and detailed view of your favorite bird species.
All the same, at its price and for what it is designed to do, the Argos 10x42 has all the makings of a fantastic binocular.
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How It's Made?
As with hundreds of other binocular models, the Ares included, the Argos 10x42 has an open hinge design. And just like the Ares binoculars, the Argos binocular has a dark green rubber exterior coating.
So this rubberized coating is just the right amount of thick. I found the binoculars to be very well balanced and solidly built. Also, they feel great in the hands. Both barrels feature grooves for improved grip. On top of this, the open space between the hinges is grooved, which really improved one handed holding of the binocular.
To make it more compact, the two hinges on this model and on the 8x42 model are thinner than the hinges on the Ares models. The thin hinges provide more surface area for one-handed carrying, which is really nice.
Being a budget binocular, I was not expecting a magnesium chassis. And true to my thinking, the Argos is built from a polymer chassis. This explains why it is significantly lighter than its siblings the Ares and Cronus models.
According to Athlon, they use a polymer composite chassis to make this binocular. Now, this sounds vague but I believe it is the same polycarbonate materials used on other binos.
The eye-cups similar to all other Athlon models are twist-up. These twist-up eyecups allow you to adjust their height up to 16.1mm. The eye relief is not the longest I have seen on a binocular, but it is still decently long.
To protect the inside of the binocular from fog and mist, it is argon purged and O-ring sealed. The exterior of the binocular is also waterproof and can survive harsh weather conditions. I have taken my Argos 10x42 out on rainy days and have experienced no problems.
Athlon had to cut down on production costs to produce a budget binocular. The good thing is that the company decided to cut down on the exterior and not the optics. This means you get the same optical performance as you would get from both the Cronus and Ares models.
I was pleased with the fact that Athlon did not go for the cheaper Bak-7 glass and maintained the higher quality Bak-4 glass prisms. Meaning you get brighter and sharper images than you would from most budget binoculars.
Also, Athlon maintains the same fully-multi-coated lenses that both the Cronus and Ares models are famous for. It is not often that you find a budget binocular with fully multicoated optics. Most come with multi-coated lenses as opposed to fully multi-coated.
The fact that Athlon uses fully-multicoated lenses on a binocular that costs below $250 is a testament to their dedication to quality. The color reproduction on this binocular is better than of most similarly priced binos.
Impressively, the Argos also maintains the ESP Dielectric coating found in pricier models. This coating has been found to increase light transmission by up to 99%. Another coating that the Argos binoculars have is the XPL coating.
The Bushnell nature view 10x42 is one closest competitor of the Argos 10x42. There is very little that separates these two binoculars. In terms of price, the Argos is slightly pricier. However, Argos has a better field of view.
While the Bushnell nature-view 10x42 has a field of 315 ft at 1000 yards the Argos 10x42 has a field of view 319 ft at 1000 yards. Also, the Bushnell has multi-coated lenses while the Argos has fully multi-coated optics. Thus, the price difference is justified.
Where the Bushnell edges the Argos is in regards to weight and eye relief. The Bushnell weighs 23 ounces and has a 17mm eye relief. This slightly better than the 24.6-ounce weight and 16mm eye relief of the Argos.
However, the Argos makes up for this with its closer focus distance. The Bushnell has a close focus distance of 15ft. Another binocular that has almost the same optical performance as the Argos is the Zeiss Victory FL. The latter costs almost triple the price of both the Argos and Bushnell. Thus, unless you really want to, the Argos is more than enough.
- Has fully-multi-coated lenses.
- It is significantly lighter than other Athlon models
- Has a decent field of view
- Comes with a long eye relief
- It is very compact and can be carried one-handed
- The twist-up eyecups turn smoothly
- Has a long close focus distance
- It is not as light as other similarly priced binoculars.
Priced at below $250, the Argos 10x42 is a true bargain. For despite its relatively affordable price tag it has tons of useful features. In fact, most of the features of these binoculars are found on pricier models. It is great to see that Athlon did not try to cut down on costs when crafting this fantastic binocular.