AGM ASP TM35-384 Thermal Monocular Reviewby Col. Chester Cupp
The AGM Asp TM35-384 Thermal Monocular is a medium-range thermal monocular from AGM Global Vision. AGM Global Vision is a company that entered the market in 2019 they are releasing a lot of new thermal optic products for the night hunter. AGM really made a hit at Shot Show 2020 with their new lines of Thermal Scopes and Monoculars. The timing could not have been better because FLIR, a big player in the thermal optics industry for hunters, suddenly stopped sales to civilian consumers in January of 2020.
The AGM Asp TM35-384 is powered by a 384×288, 17-micron thermal core with a base power of 2.4x. It has a 35mm focusable objective lens, a 1024×768 OLED display and produces a very good image. The current (Summer 2020) price of the AGM TM35-384 is $2,295. This price falls in the medium to lower price range of thermal scanners on the market today.
The Asp TM35 will also be offered with a higher quality 640×512 thermal core with a 1.4x base power and will retail for about $3,245 when it comes to market. A third model, the TM25-384 with a smaller 25mm, non- focusable objective lens with a base power of 1.7x retails for $1,795.
AGM Asp TM35-384 Features
The AGM TM35-384 Asp Thermal Monocular is light-weight coming in at only 1 pound. The size and shape make it easy to handle and operate with one hand, and AGM includes a lanyard for hands-free carry while hunting. The 2.4x base magnification is spot-on for scanning while hunting in open fields or wooded areas. The TM35-384 has a built-in 16-gigabit memory module that supports video recording (no audio) and photos that can be downloaded directly to your computer. Other features include a static range finder, four very good color palettes, a flashlight, and 2x digital zoom. Of course, the monocular has many other uses than just hunting. It is a great tool for security, home defense, wildlife viewing and many other uses around the home and farm.
The video below was taken with the TM35-384. It shows the four color palettes and some animals at 150 to 200 yards away. The live image is much better than the video.
AGM TM35 NETD Rating
The Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference (NETD) of a thermal optic is a rating of how well the thermal optic detects the differences in heat of all the objects in the image. The lower the NETD rating, the better the image quality. This is especially important in the background image. The trees or rocks in the background of the image have different temperatures. If a thermal optic has a low NETD rating, you will see more details in the image because it can differentiate the temperatures of each tree or rock from the one beside it. Most thermal optics for hunting have NEDT ratings of 50-70 mk. The AGM TM35-384 has an NEDT rating of 35 mk, which is the best rating among mid-level sporting thermal optics. What this means is that the TM35-384 should give you better image quality than an optic with higher NETD if all other factors are equal.
AGM TM35 Field Of View
The Field of View (FOV) of thermal optics can be confusing. Some manufacturers measure the FOV in degrees. Others give you the field of view in feet or meters at 100 meters like a conventional riflescope. As a hunter comparing thermal optics, I prefer to know the actual width of the area I can see at 100 meters. Since AGM only provides FOV in degrees, I did a measurement of the TM35-384 and found the FOV to be approximately 60 feet wide at a distance of 100 meters from the optic. For comparison, the Pulsar Axion XM30 has a field of view of about 40 feet at 100 meters. AGM TM35 Battery Any time hunters talk about thermal optics, the subject of batteries comes up. The AGM TM35 Asp Monocular has an internal, non-removable battery. Battery life is good, providing about 4-5 hours of run time if you are constantly scanning and taking a few short videos. That is good battery life, but without question, every hunter I know carries a replaceable battery or external power cell for backup. Although the Asp doesn't have a removable battery, it does have a USB power jack so you can use an external battery pack for backup. The internal battery has a 3-year warranty, but you will have to send it back for service to get it replaced if needed. I used the backup power cell on one outing and it worked fine.
Hunting with AGM Asp TM35-384
Doug and I hunted with TM35 several times and was able to compare it to several other scopes and binoculars. The image quality is better than the Pulsar Axion and very close to the Pulsar Helion XQ38. Although the TM35 has a focusable objective, it does not have the fine focus of the Helion for longer ranges. I found that identifying hogs or coyote-size animals at 200-300 yards is not a problem. Image detail out to 200 yards is excellent and inside 100 yards even better.
It has four color palettes; black-hot, white-hot, red-hot and fusion (yellow & purple). I really like all of these palettes. They all work very well for spotting game. I normally like white-hot for scanning but so far, the black-hot palette in the TM35 is my favorite.
The image quality of the TM35-384 is its strong point. You will not be disappointed. The 2.4x base magnification is perfect for my hunting needs for coyotes and hogs. It provides the magnification necessary for open-range scanning but not too powerful to use for close-in operations like hunting in wooded areas. The light weight and shape of the monocular make it easy to use so you will not get fatigued during long calling sessions while continuously scanning. I also like the square-shaped rubber eye cup better than the pig-ear style of some monoculars.
Another small feature of the Asp is the built-in flashlight. I used it to cross a creek and some rough terrain and did not have to turn on my headlight on for all the world to see. I used it sparingly to avoid draining the battery, but it does come in handy.
Asp TM35-384 Shortfalls
The things I do not care about this binocular are not showstoppers. First, the unit takes 20 seconds to be fully operational after you hit the power button. That means it has to be left on all the time when hunting. It has no standby mode to save battery power like some thermal monoculars. The menu is cumbersome. It uses icons only that make it a bit more difficult to use than Pulsar or FLIR products. The control buttons on top are large and laid out well, but functions of the buttons require a long hold for some functions. You can not just click the button to start or stop recording, you have to hold for 5 seconds. Flipping through the palette colors is not a problem with just a click. The last thing that concerns me is the internal battery. I would prefer a removable battery because I fear the battery will begin to get weak at some point. I would rather have the option of external, rechargeable batteries.
If you are looking for a great image at a good price, this monocular delivers. The menu may take a little time to get used to, but for its primary job of scanning for critters in the night, it is a winner. If you are a hunter who likes to set the unit up, keep it on the same settings most of the time and have very good image quality, the TM35-384 is a good choice.
To beat the image quality of the TM35-384 you will have to spend a lot more money. It will cost you another $700 for a Pulsar Helion XQ38, but that extra cost will get you rechargeable battery packs, more user-friendly features, and a proven track record for performance and customer support.
The 2.4x base magnification gives you a wide field of view and plenty of power for scanning most types of terrain. The size and ergonomics of the Asp TM35 are good, and I found it comfortable to use without much eye strain. This unit is new to the market, but throughout our testing, it performed very well. If you are in the market for a thermal monocular, you should seriously consider the AGM TM35-384.
AGM Global Vision thanks Col. Cupp and Outdoor Legacy for the kindly provided materials.