Like one of the other reviewers, I also spent days researching and reading every consumer review concerning NV monoculars I could find on the internet. I based my decision to buy this unit on the three previous reviews, plus the fact that Armasight has a wide range of night-vision products, so perhaps they are of good quality.
I live in the country and have a problem with wild hogs and raccoons causing damage. I've read all over the internet that these cheap gen-1 infrared illuminators can be seen by someone else equipped with night-vision equipment. That's okay. I'm not planning to engage in a nightime sniper duel with SEAL Team Six.
I just want to deal with the nocturnal 4-legged infiltrators.
I would have given this unit a five-star rating if it weren't for that annoying little "twinkle" smack in the middle of the image. I've learned to work around the twinkle somewhat, and I really hope this twinkle doesn't get any bigger in the future!
The built-in IR illuminator works beautifully. I can see clearly out to about 40 yards in total darkness. After that, things fade out quickly. 3x magnification seems good enough. More power might distort or blur somehow, I would think.
I took this thing out for a stroll last night in 3/4 moonlight and didn't have to use the IR at all. In fact, I turned on the IR and it didn't help at all in this moonlight. The 50mm lens seems to gather ambient light rather well. So, I'll just save the IR for really dark nights....