At A Glance
- Open-bridge design is comfortable to hold
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Easy-gliding focus wheel
- Has trouble with sharpness at middle and long distance
- Fuzziness and some distortion at edge of image
- Poor close focus
- Price: $130 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
- Close focus: Listed at 8.2 feet (250 cm). In tests, we could only focus these binoculars to about 10.2 feet (312 cm)
- Field of view: 7.7° (406 ft at 1,000 yds). More about field of view
- Weight: 16.6 oz (470 g)—that’s about 1.1 oz (32 g) lighter than the average for compact binoculars in our review. Compare binocular sizes and weights
- Eye relief: 17.4 mm
Viewing Experience: The Alpen Wings are among the least expensive binoculars in our review, and we found that meant a few trade-offs between price and peformance. These slim, lightweight binoculars provide a decent image at close range, but at middle and longer distances they were not always sharp. With a Common Grackle on a lawn about 250 feet away, we had trouble clearly seeing the yellow eye. The image had good color and was fairly bright in the center, but was fuzzy toward the edges—especially noticeable when panning or adjusting the focus. Some testers reported some eye strain after a period of viewing. The focus wheel had nice smooth action, but required many turns to get from close focus to distant focus. Watching Tree Swallows zip up and down a stretch of river, it was hard to get the birds in focus before they vanished around the bend. In mottled light, with gray glare filtering through green leaves, it was hard to get a sharp view of a Warbling Vireo’s face pattern.
Feel and Build: Like other binoculars with an open bridge design, the Alpens are elegant, lightweight, and comfortable. The slender barrels and hinge design allow plenty of room to wrap hands all the way around for a sure grip. Combined with the light weight, these would be a good choice for people who tend to hold their binoculars with one hand. The eyecups were comfortable and had three solid settings. The focus wheel was comfortably nubbled. The diopter adjuster was nubbled as well, but was very stiff and difficult to move. There seemed to be a considerable difference in focus between the two barrels, making it essential to adjust the diopter. The neck strap was wide and comfortable.
- Limited field of view
- Comfortable design
This article is one in a series of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars compare to others we’ve tested, see our full review of affordable compact binoculars.
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