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Review: Covert Optics ThermX Budget Thermals


Welcome back and thank you for following along the Nightchenanigans we post here. Last week we took at look at a budget minded digital night vision scope from Arken Optics. well today we take a look at two budget thermal devices, the Covert Optics ThermX TRF and HS1 by Armasight. They cost me less than $300 for both last Christmas.

Covert Optics ThermX TRF

The Covert Optics ThermX TRF is a thermal range finder and is the better device between the two. At first glance it looks just like a standard laser range finder until you see the thermal objective opposite of the battery compartment. Also when you look at the back o the ThermX TRF, it does not have an eyepiece. Instead it has a small LED display.





On the left is the thermal objective lens. In the middle are the laser range finder objectives and on the far right is the battery compartment. The TRF is dual fuel. You an use 2x CR123 or a single 18650 battery. There is a menu option to choose what batteries you are using.

All the controls for the TRF are at the top. Power is in the middle. All three buttons have dual functions depending on how long you press them. Short press of the bottom button changes screen brightness. The power button takes a snap shot with a short press while the top button change color palette. If you press the bottom button and hold it down, this will fire the laser range finder. Pressing and holding down the power button with turn off the device. Holding down the top button will open up the internal menu.

Below are the settings you can adjust in the menu. Some of the letters got chopped off due to the slow refresh rate. You can change the reticle as well as use imperial or metric units of range. You can also change the distance from line of sight to angled.


  • Lepton 3.5 micro core sensor with 160x120 sensor resolution, and a 9hz frame rate

  • Aiming pins/reticle on 1.5” color OLED display (160x128 resolution)

  • Pins/Reticle can be removed to use as scanner

  • Display can be rotated for weapons orientation and preference

  • Waterproof and shock resistant

  • FOV – 7 degrees

  • Ultem body

  • Programable battery options available but will ship and default to 2 - CR123 batteries

The ThermX devices are not high resolution. It only has a 160x120 sensor and an abysmal 9hz frame rate.


Here are two images I captured of my son. It is not great but for the price I paid this is not bad.



The range finder can range out to 1,000 yards which isn't bad but the resolution is so low, you will have a hard time recognizing objects unless they are very close to you. Here are some cars around 100 yards away.





ThermX HS1



The ThermX HS1 is simpler compared to the TRF. It is only powered by a single CR123 or rechargeable CR123. The buttons are arranged like a triangle. The top button is power while the left button is brightness and the right button is color palette. It has a menu but it is limited to just reticle, sleep, system and NUC. Unlike the TRF, you can adjust the position of the reticle. Sleep controls when the screen turns off after inactivity and System settings is where you can change from CR123 to RCR123. Once you make the change in battery format, the HS1 will turn off and you need to turn it back on again. The one feature about the HS1 that sets it apart from the TRF is that it fits in 30mm scope rings. So you can weapon mount the HS1.



Final Thoughts On The ThermX TRF and HS1

Since the HS1 and TRF both have OLED screens, you need to have it at a certain distance from your eye in order to focus on the screen. I mounted the HS1 in an Aimpoint mount. It is then mounted to my Keltec Sub2000 3rd Gen.


Even with the screen brightness set to the max, I find it hard to use the TRF or HS1 in the daytime. It works decent at night so I can check if there are any warm blooded animals near by.


As I mentioned earlier, both the ThermX TRF and ThermX HS1 were less than $300 shipped to me. I discovered a sale at FeraDyne 8 days before Christmas just last year. FeraDyne had them both on sale 40% off. This dropped the price to just around $130 each including shipping. What a bargain at that price. Unfortunately FeraDyne no longer sells the Covert Optics ThermX devices. You can find some for sale on Amazon but they are too expensive for such low performance.



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