Pulsar XP vs XQ – Full Comparison Guide

Alfred Mendoza

It’s impossible to acquire targets in pitch dark environments, tricky terrains, or brutal weather conditions without the aid of a thermal scope. Pulsar is quite known for its high-quality thermal riflescopes, making it one of the preferred brands today.

We’ve reviewed two models- Pulsar XP vs XQ – to help you find out which model is the better shooting gear.

Pulsar XP and XQ differ in four significant ways: image quality, zooming capacity, power, and field of view (FOV). XP has a larger sensor than XQ. It has a resolution of 640×480 as compared to XQ’s 384×288. Simply put, XP produces clearer and sharper images.

Both riflescopes can be digitally zoomed. Although zooming can reduce the sharpness of the image and cause slight blurring, it’s vital to target detection and identification. Between XP and XQ, the latter has greater zooming ability. Its images are more precise and more distinguishable.

Furthermore, XQ has a magnification range of 2.7-10.8x and 7.5ox5.6o FOV, while XP has a magnification range of 1.6-12.8x and 12.4ox9.3o FOV. This means that XP can generate smoother, more in-depth, and sharper sight pictures than XQ.

Pulsar XP



Pulsar XQ



How They Work

The Pulsar brand has been in the market since 1994. It used to be known as “Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide” and was only manufacturing optical devices for day use. Eventually, they have expanded to various products, including binoculars, day vision and spotting scopes, laser rangefinding, and thermal imaging. 

In 2008, they rebranded into “Pulsar” and had since been one of the leading producers of excellent thermal imaging devices. In 2009, Pulsar introduced the first night vision scope in the market, the Digisight digital NV scope. The new technology they have to date is the Trail and Helion series. They are classified into two series: XP and XQ.

Product Specifications

Pulsar Trail XP50

Pulsar Trail XP50
  • Magnification: 1.6-12.8x
  • Field of View: 12.4ox9.3o
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Detection Range: 2,000 yards

Pulsar Trail XQ50

Pulsar Trail XQ50
  • Magnification: 2.7-10.8x
  • Field of View: 7.5ox5.6o
  • Refresh Rate: 50 Hz
  • Detection Range: 2,000 yards

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Features

Lunde Studio Key Features


Pulsar XP and XQ are top-of-the-line riflescopes with excellent ergonomics, electronic components, and performance. Hence, they aren’t inexpensive. In fact, most high-end thermal and night vision scopes cost at least $2000. The cutting-edge LRF technology and impressive Pulsar thermal imaging equipment performance drive up the cost, but you will get what you are paying for. 

Pulsar XQ riflescope is cheaper than XP. If you prefer the best performing thermal scope, Helion XP50 or XP38 is your best choice, although you would need to spend more on it. While XQ50 is relatively less pricey, it’s quite sufficient for most hunting applications. 

Image Quality

The higher the sensor resolution, the greater the number of pixels displayed per inch, resulting in brighter and crisper images. 

Helion XP and XQ have a 17 μm pixel pitch. XP scope comes with 640×480 resolution, whereas XP comes with 384×288 resolution. This means that XP riflescopes can produce clearer, brighter, and sharper images.

Field of View

A generous FOV gives you a greater view of your environment and helps you take advantage of your peripheral vision for a more convenient, precise, and practical hunting experience. 

XP series have a higher FOV than the XQ series. XP50 has a FOV of 12.4ox9.3o, while XQ50 has a FOV of 7.5ox5.6o. Both fall in the generous range but for more convenient hunting escapades at nighttime, choose XP50 or XP38 scope.

Zooming Capacity

Like most Pulsar thermal scopes, the XP and XQ devices have a digital zoom option. XP scope can zoom up to 8x, while XQ scope can magnify images up to 4x. The power range of XP50 is 1.6-12.8x while XQ50 is 2.7-10.8x, respectively.

At high power, images may become blurry or hazy. Between XP and XQ, the former device has better sight picture quality.

FOV and image resolution decrease as you magnify your scope. If you’re sighting at a 100-yard distance, you don’t need to magnify your target with XP, but you need to with XQ. Therefore, you’ll have greater FOV and higher resolution using XP than XQ.



XQ and XP are both exceptionally rugged, well-built, recoil-resistant, and waterproof. These thermal scopes can function in any weather condition. 

Both are submersible up to 30 mins and three feet underwater without incurring any damage or water penetrating the internal parts.


Pulsar riflescopes offer multiple electronic reticles to ensure quick target acquisition and a high-contrasting sight picture. 

You can choose from different selections of color palettes, patterns, and brightness settings. You can also customize your reticle and the setting to fit your preferences. 

Helion XP and XQ both have 13 different electronic reticles. 

Video Recording

One of the amazing advantages of using the XP and XQ series is having an integrated video recorder and storage facility. This means that you can capture and automatically save images and videos of your hunting moments.

Mobile Compatibility


Both products are compatible with Android and IOS mobile.

You can transfer data from your riflescope to your mobile units via the Stream Vision application.

You can view images in real-time mode, and you can also use your smartphone as a remote control.

Special Functions

XP and XQ scopes, especially the new ones, feature an impressive array of special functions aside from the digital zoom option and video recording and streaming facility. 

Either device comes with a frost-resistant AMOLED display for a high-quality performance even at extreme temperatures.[1]

These two Pulsar products have a B-Pack power supply consisting of a quick-detach, rechargeable lithium battery. They also have external power sources, such as power banks. Both have relatively long battery longevity. Even with the battery inside, they aren’t heavy. 

These scopes can save three types of zeroing profiles for different calibers and weapons. The zeroing profiles allow you to adjust and zero your thermal scope at varying distances easily.

Pulsar XQ vs XP- Wrapping Up

Both the Pulsar XP and XQ series feature unique LRF technology that makes hunting and rescue operations a breeze regardless of lighting and weather conditions and topographical features. 

It can be a bit tricky to choose which one to use, especially that new Pulsar products are introduced in the market. The higher the model, the more advanced the ergonomics, electronic components, software, and performance you will get. 

If you want much clearer and sharper sight pictures, XP models (XP38/XP50) are the best options. 

If you want a cheaper and good-enough model, then XQ models (XQ38/XQ50) are your practical options.

Pulsar Trail XP50

Our #1 Recommendation

Pulsar XP

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