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Hawke Frontier 8×42 ED X Binoculars: Our Review

An excellent image, precise focus wheel, and sturdy build. This binocular is one of our Top Picks.

At A Glance

Hawk Frontier ED X 8x42 binoculars.
Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 binoculars. Image by Hugh Powell.


  • Bright, colorful image even in harsh lighting
  • Focus wheel moves easily and stops precisely
  • Excellent balance and snug feel in the hand
  • Wide field of view and good close focus 


  • Slight falloff in sharpness at edges of image
  • Toward the top end of the price range we tested


  • Price: $549 MSRP at press time. Prices often fluctuate, so check with retailers
  • Close focus: 6.6 feet (201 cm). In tests, we could focus these binoculars down to about 7.1 feet (216 cm)
  • Field of view: 8.1° (425 feet at 1,000 yards). More about field of view 
  • Weight: 26.7 oz (757 g)—that’s about 1 oz (28 g) heavier than the average for 8×42 binoculars in our review
  • Eye relief: 17.8 mm

Viewing Experience: These binoculars feature a brilliant, wide image, precise focusing, and a compact look and feel that fits neatly in the hand. Watching a fall migrant flock we were impressed with the contrast and clarity of the image. With a backlit Northern Parula we could still see the nuances of yellow throat, white belly, and blue-gray back as it dodged behind leaves. The binoculars helped ID a tricky Blackpoll Warbler by revealing the faint streaking on the chest and the yellow-orange feet. Meanwhile, they really brought out the luminous gold and deep black of a handful of Black-throated Green Warblers.

Feel and Build: These binoculars are small but substantial, slightly heavier than an average 8×42 but well balanced. The focus wheel moves smoothly and feels precise both as it rolls and when stopping at the focus point. The eyecups are firm and dial out to two stops for use without eyeglasses. They have a neat rounded profile that adds to the binoculars’ streamlined look and is comfortable on the eye. The binoculars have a green armoring with good grip; there are no scalloped indents for the thumbs. They come in a semihard clamshell case that makes them easy to stow and transport.  

More on Binoculars

Comments From Testers: 

  • Size was really nice, and weight was nice as well
  • Very clear
  • Felt like quality build
  • A bit heavy, eyecups hard to turn, focus seemed stiff
  • Petite, ergonomic for a smaller person
  • Felt comfortable right away
  • Coolest looking
  • Feels good in the hand

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 8×42 binoculars.  

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