Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 Binoculars Review

Hawke Frontier EDX 42mm binocular

Review Date – December 2023
 
Price as reviewed –
Our price £449 (RRP –  £499) 

Pros

  • Value for money…just
  • Rugged build quality
  • Very good optics
  • Excellent warranty


Cons

  • Not quite the bargain it once was
  • Feels weighty in the hand

Background

Hawke Optics has emerged as one of the leading manufacturers of binoculars in the entry level to enthusiast market. 

The Frontier ED range of binoculars are Hawke’s enthusiast range, with the Hawke Frontier APO now being their top line 8×42 binocular. The Frontier name has been part of the Hawke stable for many years, but this ED X model is by far their most successful to date. 

However, with an increasingly competitive market its time to see whether the Hawke Frontier ED X is still as competitive as ever. 

Design

The Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 is characterised by its design. Its a tough, no nonsense binocular with thick rubber armouring, large focus wheel, and a build quality which screams rugged dependability. That said it is also a smart looking binocular, especially in green (Grey is also available).

Dimensions are typical with other 8×42 binoculars in this class, such as the Viking Osprey ED 8×42, however the excellent build quality does come at a cost with the Frontier ED X feeling noticeably heavier in the hand than rival binoculars such as the Viking Osprey. 

The action of the focus wheel, diopter adjustment, twist up/down eyecups is all of the highest quality. The focusing especially has a lovely damped feeling to it and it moves the focusing of the binocular true to how much rotation of the wheel you apply. Compared to binoculars like the Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42,with its hyper sensitive focusing, the Frontier ED X inspires confidence when focusing and makes it far easier to locate your subject. 

So far so good, but with the Frontier ED X 8×42 now around £450 this next section is going to be crucial. 

Optics

This is where things get a little less straightforward. 

In short the Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 is a very good binocular to look through. The centre of the image is sharp, colours are very well judged compared to the subject’s true colour, colour fringing is almost non existent, and the field of view is wide enough to easily locate wildlife while scanning around. 

However, there is quite a noticeable drop off in sharpness towards the edges of the image. This is normal and to be expected of binoculars costing £350, which the Frontier ED X was until late 2022, however this is now a £450 binocular and other binoculars at this price point retain a sharp image far closer to the edges of the field of view. 

Binoculars such as the forementioned Viking Osprey 8×42, plus the East Coast Optics Spoonbill ED 8×42 and Opticron Verano VHD 8×42, have much less of a sweet spot and retain sharpness closer to the edges. 

For many users this won’t be a problem but when comparing similarly priced binoculars it does stand out when trying the Hawke Frontier ED X. 

Conclusion

So, is the Hawke Frontier ED X 8×42 still a competitive binocular at its price point? 

In short yes…but the price now carries a big but around with it which for some users will be difficult to ignore. 

The build quality, materials, general optical performance, and warranty will make this binocular a great buy for many people. However, those who like to shop around will find other binoculars which might not just offer a bit better value for money. 

We hope you’ve found this review useful, if you’d like to find out more or purchase this binocular you can do so by clicking the arrow below, contacting us, or by popping into our Norfolk shop. 

Why buy from us?
  1. 14 day approval with no quibble returns
  2. Genuine UK stock and warranty
  3. Exceptional service from our staff with 50 years experience in optics
  4. Norfolk based showroom open 362 days a year 
  5. Phone, email, and live chat support whenever you need it