Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gear Review: Vortex Solo 10 x 36 Monocular

Upfront Disclaimer:
This is my first gear review, so please remember when reading.

As a person who is, lets say multi-eye challenged, I had searched for a long time to find a good monocular to use.  The options were few and far between. I had used binoculars for years as there were no good option, but go tired of having to haul the extra weight, with no added function to me.  So after an exhaustive search there were a few that I found  that I was interested in.  I chose the Vortex Solo 10 x 36 mainly because my local sporting goods store had it in stock ( it also had a great price point of $149). The others I found were the Leica at around $500 and the Zen Ray for about $145. It also appears that Zeis has one for about $400 now.  Two of those being well beyond my price range.

I have not seen many full reviews of this monocular, so figured I would give it a go for any others out there that may be in my same situation.


Magnification10 x
Objective Lens Diameter36 mm
Eye Relief15 mm
Exit Pupil3.6 mm
Linear Field of View325 feet/1000 yards
Angular Field of View6.2 degrees
Close Focus16.4 feet
Length4.9 inches
Width2.6 inches
Weight9.7 ounces

Out of the box the Monocular come with  a decent, not spectacular, but decent case.  It has a Velcro closure on the front and a snap belt loop on the back.  The sides are mostly open and held together with a wide piece of elastic, which makes for a snug fit inside.  The only time I really use the case is when I store it away to add an extra layer of protection.  Also included is a lanyard, being honest here, is pretty much useless to me, I believe I just tossed it right out of the box.

Looking at the monocular itself it comes with an attached metal belt clip for easy access outside of the pouch.  This clip is removable by a couple of screws. The one little annoyance I found once removing the clip is that is leave a hard square piece of plastic sticking out the side ( see pictures below).  There is also a loop on another side with allows you to attack to a lanyard, or like I do, attach it to a bino-buddy type harness. 

The monocular itself has a rubberized armor grip.  This allows for a sure grip and great protection for the unit.  This feels great in the hand, whether wearing gloves or barehanded.  

The eye piece is adjustable to fit each individual, and those who wear eye glasses.

The glass on this monocular are fully multicoted lenses, with anti reflective coatings.  The units is fully waterproof and fog proof.  I have witnessed these properties as I have put it to the test in warm weather and this past season in cold, with temps into the single digits with snow, rain, sleet you name it.  It remained totally waterproof and fog proof.  I just wish I would have had some caps to cover the lenses on the outside to keep them just as clear.  

The clarity while looking through this monocular was spectacular.  I spent hours upon hours glassing and never experienced any eye strain, and with only having one eye, I only used the one, and did so without difficulty.  (I could make a joke about using the other glass eye, and could be the reason I ate tag soup this year, but a story for another time.)

I have used the Vortex Solo 10 x 36 for the past two seasons not, and can honestly say it is a great piece of glass.  I have used it in the close confines of archery elk hunting as well as rifle mule deer hunting, and it has worked flawlessly in both situations.  It is extremely lightweight, most of the time I forget I am even wearing it. 

If you are looking for an excellent piece of glass, at a very, and I mean very, reasonable price,  I would highly recommend the Vortex Solo 10 x 36, or any of their other monoculars for that matter.  I am currently drooling over their new Vortex Recon Mountain 10 x 50 ( youza).  Vortex is making a very good name for themselves in the optics industry, and I am sure will continue to do so as they match or surpass the other big boys.

I have in no way received any compensation from any company for writing this review.  These are my personal opinions and should be treated as such.  This is a product I have purchased on my own, and used extensively in the field.


  1. Great review, Philip! I have always wondered about the monocular vs. the spotting scope. I always like having two eyes on the target, but a packable optic like this sounds great!

  2. Thanks Al. I do not know if I would consider this particular monocular a replacement for a spotting scope as it is only a 10x36. The Vortex Recon is pretty close though at 15x50, and considerably smaller than a true spotting scope. At almost 6x the cost of this one though, it is a bit harder to swallow.