ZeroTech Thrive HD binoculars review

Review: ZeroTech Thrive HD 10×42 binoculars


Australia’s ZeroTech has range of binoculars among its hunting optics, and this set — the Thrive HD 10×42 — is the near the top of the tree, coming with higher quality glass, larger objective lenses, plenty of magnification and at a fairly modest price of $749. For that price they even come with a proper binocular harness, not just a case.

The non-HD Thrive 10×42 binoculars cost only $299 and boast lighter weight (670g versus 840g) and a more compact body than the HD equivalent, so if price, weight and size are high on your priorities, there’s an alternative.

ZeroTech Thrive HD binoculars
The differences between the regular Thrive 10×42 binoculars (foreground) and the HD version go deeper than just the quality of the glass

Where the Thrive HDs justify their higher price is obvious the moment you compare them side by side. The glass is that much better. 

Even in bright sunlight, the HDs provide more definition and clarity, particularly at longer distances and into shaded areas. The differences become more obvious as the light fades, and the HDs add valuable minutes to twilight viewing ability.

The HDs were pretty good in low light. If twilight hunts in deep, dark forests are common to your hunting, you can improve low-light performance a little further by opting for the $699 Thrive HD 8×42 binos instead. The advantage there is that the exit pupil is larger — 5.2mm against 4.3mm in the 10x — so they’ll transmit more light to your eye.  

The lenses fitted to the Thrive HDs by ZeroTech are well sorted with effective surface treatments that ensure a higher level of clarity. 

ZeroTech Thrive HD 10x42 binocular review
The Zerotech binoculars have central focus wheels, diopter adjustment in the right eye cup and a grippy, textured body coating

Most importantly, these binos have extra-low dispersion (ED) lenses, which significantly reduce the way lenses separate white light into its different wavelengths (think the famous Pink Floyd album cover).

The view is crisp, the colours bright and the contrast higher, all factors that help you detect hidden animals in scrub or forest. The brightness continues to the edges of the view, and the edges only get a bit blurry right out at the periphery. 

The Thrive HDs are not just better than the basic Thrives, they’re close on the heels of optics that cost well over twice the price.

They have a generous depth of field, meaning more of your view is in focus at any given moment without having to adjust the focus wheel. The wheel is large and has raised rubber inserts that make it easy to dial, too.

ZeroTech Thrive HD 10x42 binocular review

The magnesium-alloy body of the HDs must save a few grams compared with steel bodies. 

The HDs have a more ergonomic shape than the standard Thrives, with flattened pads for your thumbs to rest in when you’re holding them to your face. A slight bulge in the barrels fits nicely in your palms. I’m not sure if the dimpled surface of the body improves grip but, either way, they are always secure in your hands and they look good.

The rubber caps for the objective lenses are anchored in place by tabs through loops in the body of the barrels. You can uncover the lenses with a quick swipe at each cap and not have to worry about the caps falling off or getting lost. When you replace them, they’re a firm and solid press-in fit.

The cover for the ocular lenses is a typical double cap made of rubber, which attaches to the neck strap.

From what I can tell in a relatively brief test, the ZeroTech binoculars seem well manufactured overall, and the cups are pretty solid and have crisp detents as you move them, so as long you keep the crud out of the threads they feel like they’ll remain secure.

ZeroTech Thrive HD 10x42 binocular review
Designed in Australia and solidly built, the Thrive HDs promise to last a long time

The harness provided with the Thrive HD binoculars would normally sell for $90 on its own. If you’re using your binoculars pretty frequently during a hunt, you’ll want it, so having it included with the purchase of the binoculars is a worthwhile thing.

The harness has a magnetic closure as well as an elastic loop. Two small web loops and four pockets, one with a zip, add storage capability. 

As it’s chest-mounted, you’ll probably end up using it more and more because it’s such a convenient place to keep things like small snacks, a wind puffer, fox whistle and even your hunting licence.

The 10x42s are a tight fit in the harness when it’s new. They certainly don’t bounce around in it.

With that apparently good build quality, well-sorted ergonomics, a bonus harness and, critically, those ED lenses, there’s no doubt the Thrive HD binoculars are good value. They offer the kind of performance that will suit the majority of Aussie hunters.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective lens diameter: 42mm
  • Lens type: Extra-low dispersion, multi-coated
  • Prism type: Roof, BaK4
  • Exit pupil diameter: 4.3mm
  • Field of view: 113m at 1000m (6.5 degrees)
  • Weight: 840g
  • Price: $749 including harness
  • Distributor: ZeroTech

 

 

 


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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