These are the sci-fi inspired digital binoculars you didn’t know you wanted

Binoculars haven’t changed that dramatically over the years, but Canadian optics company NexOptic is hoping to change that perception with its DoubleTake digital binoculars. Announced at CES 2019, the DoubleTake replaces the usual eyecups with a 5-inch HD LCD display, offering a comfortable viewing experience that can even be shared by multiple people at the same time.

Built around a quad-core processor and 12-megapixel image sensor, the DoubleTake is more digital camera than binoculars. It can share photos with your mobile device and even record 4K video. It features two levels of optical zoom, 2.5x and 10x, with the latter providing an equivalent focal length of over 500mm. By using dual levels of zoom, users can more easily locate and track subjects, punching in for more detail once found.

Switching between the two angles of view is seamless and instant, and digital image stabilization helps keep the subject in the frame.

While it functions very much like a camera, it still looks more akin to a pair of binoculars — albeit, a more futuristic take on it. More than just made to accommodate the large LCD, the wide body is designed for both one- and two-handed use, offering familiar ergonomics for binoculars users.

Compared to traditional binoculars, which can be finicky to fit to your eyes and keep in the right position, the large LCD monitor on the DoubleTake is essentially foolproof. NexOptic hasn’t stated brightness or contrast statistics for the screen, but visibility in bright sunlight is one potential concern. Battery life is another unknown, with the company simply stating it has an internal lithium-ion battery.

The product is made possible thanks to NexOptic’s Blade Optics technology, which incorporates a number of optical engineering techniques to improve performance and compactness. Currently in the prototype stage, the exact dimensions and specifications of the DoubleTake haven’t been announced, but NexOptic is advertising it as “remarkably lightweight” and compact. It is also water-resistant and shockproof, good news for the outdoor enthusiasts who are the clear target demographic here.

While pricing remains to be seen, NexOptic says it is on track to begin selling to consumers sometime this year.

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