Halo XL450-7 Review May 17 2020

With the right laser range finder, sighting in a target or even game becomes simpler and easier. Find out more about the Halo XL450-7 Laser Range Finder here.

Great Gifts for my Family of Hunters

Great Gifts for my Family of Hunters

There’s no need to shell out hundreds of dollars for a laser range finder.  The best option for the price is the Halo XL450-7 Laser Range Finder: everything a bowhunter needs for under a hundred dollars.

I come from a big Central Missouri family of hunters. My granddad and uncles, and now about half a dozen cousins, all head out during bow season in the fall to get their deer. So, when it comes time for Christmas or birthdays, I’m always looking for something they can really use, either when out in the woods or when practicing on the archery range.  The younger ones especially love anything that feels high-tech, and if the product is handy enough, we can even get Grandad on board with it.  So I like to see what I can find that will make their hunting trips even more cool and fun, and help make sure they all get their deer.  The Halo XL450-7 has a ton of features that make it perfect for bowhunters, and it didn’t bust my bank account.

Grip and Controls

Grip and Controls

First, the Halo XL450-7 feels great to hold, really comfortable with a soft nubby grip surface.  The whole thing fits right in the palm of the hand with special contouring to make it a really natural hold.  From this position, the range finder is super easy to use and it works fast, without any futzing around.  One button push, and you’ve got your range in yards right there.  The power button and the mode button are basically the only two buttons on the whole thing, and they’re right under your index and middle fingers, so there’s not much guesswork there.

When you’re looking through the eyepiece, there is a very obvious “square” marker in the center of the view.  Line up the square with your target (just pretend like you’re in Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter).  Press the range button, wait maybe three seconds, and you’ll get the readout on your target’s distance.

Distance Calculation

Distance Calculation

The “Mode” button is located next to the power button on the top of your Halo XL450-7 (right where your fingers go – very natural-feeling). Selecting this will let you choose two different distancing options: the standard and the AI mode.  The distance mode gives you the actual line of sight distance in yards.  Then, AI (that’s “Angle of Incline”) Mode is a very cool feature that calculates your distance from the target, adjusting for the angle of incline or decline.

I’m going to take a minute to explain this, because I thought it was a really great feature for an aspect of hunting that I never even knew about.  For the uninitiated, shooting at an angle can actually make a huge difference in the range.  This is trigonometry, I kid you not.  So in the AI Mode, the Halo XL450-7 is telling you the distance, plus showing you how it is adjusting for an angle of positive or negative degrees.  What that basically means is, if you’re on top of a hill and your target is at the bottom, AI Mode does the trigonometry for you.  This is a feature my cousins love, especially since Missouri forests are nothing but hills and you are almost never on the same level as anything you’re aiming for.  Either that, or you’re in a blind halfway up a tree, so making the calculation for angle can be really important.

Now, since I was looking at these as gifts for my family, I did some questioning about this angle of inclination business, because I really didn’t know that math was a part of hunting.  Seriously, before laser tech like this, hunters used to have to use some kind of slide-rule card or a compass, and do the math themselves, so trust me when I say that a readout that does all this for you is a massively appreciated improvement.  A couple of different opinions on this: Cousin B. tells me that she uses the line of sight range to calculate windage and the angle of inclination range for distance, so apparently both readings are important to her. Brother-in-law R. says that angle of inclination doesn’t really matter if you’re shooting less than 100 yards, so he only does line of sight range.  I’m going to let those two work it out themselves.  The point is, the options are there if you want to use them.

There are four different settings to use in distance calculation.  The Halo XL450-7 will keep calculating distance using the last mode you selected, but if you want a change in the mode, switching just needs a quick press of the button right under your finger.  You can also change these modes to tell you the same information but measured in meters rather than yards.  It’s your choice.

The Halo XL450-7 is outfitted with Halo Optics and can quickly pick up several targets at different distances.  For a really neat readout, you can use Scan Mode.  Just hold down the range button and you’ll get a real-time readout of various distances as you scan.  That’s very handy if you want to get the lay of the land you’re going to be watching or have to scan a large area fast.  Scan Mode can give you four distance readings per second.

Brightness / Issue with Eyepiece

Something to note: brightness settings are adjustable on the eyepiece itself, which rotates to let in more or less light for daytime or nighttime hunting.  Only one complaint about this – it is a little awkward to adjust the eyepiece with your left hand while holding it up to your eye with your right hand, so unless you can get your thumb involved somehow (and maybe you can if you’re really dexterous), you’re going to need both hands for a few seconds.  The brightness does have to be adjusted pretty often because the readout will sometimes just be too light or too dark to read easily.  While shopping around, I saw a few reviews that mentioned that this, and just range finders in general, was harder to use while wearing glasses.  Uncle C. has glasses and he says it’s the same issue he has with binoculars or anything he has to look through – just press the eyepiece gently against your glasses’ lens and get it as close to your eye as possible.  Maybe not ideal, but it works for him.

Power

The battery port is right underneath the eyepiece.  One battery is shipped with the range finder and installation is really easy.  The battery port turns lock-in-key style: one turn, slip the port cover out, in goes the battery, slip the port’s cover back in, and turn it once more to lock in place.  No other assembly required.

The batteries you’ll need are just over-the-counter disposable batteries but the required size is kind of an odd one.  I don’t think it’s something most people have just laying around in the junk drawer, so be sure you have the right kind to take along if replacements are necessary.  It’s a CR2 battery; don’t make the same mistake I made and buy an A23 thinking it would fit.  The CR2 is a bigger battery than that, and they cost from six to nine dollars each depending on where you shop. You’ll need one of these batteries at a time to power the Halo XL450-7 and it is not rechargeable.  However, a CR2 lithium battery is supposed to last a year with normal usage, so this really should not be a problem.

If battery power is low, you’ll see the “low battery” symbol through the eyepiece when you use your range finder; it looks just like the ones you’d see in any device like a camcorder or phone.  Another nice feature, for when you’ve got a lot of other things on your mind: you don’t have to worry about powering the Halo XL450-7 down yourself after every use.  The power will automatically shut off if you haven’t used the range finder for twenty seconds or so, so your battery doesn’t drain out.  This setting is not adjustable, but since the Halo XL450-7 powers up so fast, its powering down is not going to cause you any trouble.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The Halo XL450-7 is water-resistant so it can still be used if you’re caught out in the rain.  Not that this device really needs a lot of cleaning, but if your lens gets dusty or coated in pollen, this is as easy as cleaning your glasses.  Maybe easier.  A microfiber cleaning chamois is provided with the range finder, and it is just the same kind of soft cloth you get with all electronics.  Use the provided chamois or any other pure cotton cloth to keep from scratching up your lenses (remember there’s a laser in there trying to get a reading for you – don’t scratch up his view).  If you want to apply a little alcohol to the cloth first you can, but the instructions recommend not applying alcohol directly to the lens surface.  Alcohol goes on the cloth, the cloth goes on lens.  Cleaning is just a simple circular motion, nothing to it.

Size and Weight

The Halo XL450-7 is extremely lightweight and you won’t notice it makes a difference in your pack.  Since it’s modeled to fit so comfortably into your hand’s grip, I’d even call the design ergonomic.  But what’s comfortable for your hand can be a bit awkward to carry around, because it’s a little too big and oddly shaped to go inside a pocket.  I mean, it will technically fit into a big pocket, but you will certainly know it is there. I should also add that it has a detachable lanyard, just so you don’t have to worry about dropping it after you’ve gotten your quick reading and need to take a shot fast, and it’s so light that carrying it attached around your neck or wrist would not be a problem.

Appropriate for Bowhunting / Archery

Like any piece of tech equipment, range finders can get really expensive.  I heard range finders that golfers used are really sensitive, as they have to pick up tiny little flags that can be two hundred yards away.  I thought something that nice might be a real extra boon for my hunters so I checked a few out.  That didn’t last long.  Those deluxe models cost a small fortune!  Sighting a deer is a whole lot easier than sighting a flag.  It turns out you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a pretty good range finder that can do everything you or the bowhunter you love needs it to do.  Obviously, the Halo XL450-7 range finder has a maximum distance of 450 yards, but my cousins tell me there’s hardly any chance they’d ever need something that measures beyond fifty or sixty yards, so that seems like plenty of range for their needs.  Even my Uncle C. who also hunts with rifles says that 450 meters is more than enough for forest and countryside hunting.  This range finder has 6x magnification; that is not adjustable, but after all, it’s not meant to function like a pair of binoculars.

Interesting Research and Money Well Spent

A really top-of-the-line laser range finder can run over $400, but for that amount of money, you’re not really getting that much more than you get with this handy little number.   And seriously, I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars for something that my family takes with them when they’re out into the woods hunting.  Their wives tell me that these guys barely make it back with their own socks.  Just kidding, guys!  In all seriousness, if you want something for yourself or the bowhunters you love that is useful, functional, easy to use, light to carry, with all of the necessary functions of those pricier models but without the price tag that will make you break out in a sweat, the Halo XL450-7 truly is the way to go.

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