I expected "night vision" would gather more light, amplifying and contrasting it beyond what the unaided human visual system does. The iGen box says it amplifies light 650x.
However, the unit sees less than dark-adapted eyes do. 10 minutes in a dark room and book shelves 15 feet away are outlined, with individual books having hints of letters on their spines, visible to the naked eye. Meanwhile, this unit sees nothing: a blank screen on highest gain and slowest frame rate (2 fps).
Pan to objects lit by light streaming through the window curtains (as seen by dark adapted eyes) and this unit only starts to see something. I would guess it is perhaps 1/10th the sensitivity of human eyes. Maybe less.
Worse, the brightly backlit LCD screen destroys the dark adaptation in one eye, even on lowest setting and "red" display. The display is so bright, it can almost be used as a projector out the back-end onto a wall a foot away. So imagine walking down a trail at night with only one eye adapted to the night, the other blacked out.
For "night vision" one would be far better off with a pair of big-objective lens binoculars to gather as much light as possible and feed it to your more sensitive eyes, without a "backlit" LCD. This unit makes no sense, really.
When the illuminator is turned on, the situation changes can basically read the books across the room, as if the room light was on.
The box says it casts an "invisible" beam, but it does not. The red beam projection can be seen by dark-adapted eyes at least 15 feet away, probably longer. The red LED generating the beam is itself probably visible at a very long distance, if looked directly at. ( It's a bit like Hal, the computer, in the movie "2001").
So if you don't mind being blind in one eye, and your wildlife is insensitive to a big glowing red orb swinging around, you might find an application for it. But it seems mostly like something you would mount outdoors and feed into a DVR recording system for review later. Except it's not that rugged.
Build quality seems nice, but the never really found a comfortable way to grasp the bulbous shape. There is no provision for lanyard attachment or neck-strap. Nice case though.
Returned it immediately, cured of my interest in "night vision".
If the IR illuminator wasn't visible to the naked eye, and the cost was ~ $150 or less, I might have kept it. But (realistically) probably wouldn't have ever used it due to screen brightness blowing out one eye.
Get a big pair of binoculars.
Pros: Easy to use
Cons: Not very compelling
This review was written in the old system and had content requirements that are different than reviews written today.