Browning Trail Camera – Recon Force XR Review

Hitting the upper tier of the prices is the Browning Trail Camera – Recon Force XR, a camera that has a lot of flare to go with its power. There are a lot of options to choose from, with many of them being advanced in their setup functions. While this may scare off some of the newer buyers, seasoned ones will appreciate the no nonsense approach that Browning took with this model. It’s a camera that works both for trail hunting and home security, so expect it to really pay for itself over time.

Style

You’d have to have eyes like superman to really find this when it is placed in a good spot. This is due to the great amount of decorative work that Browning put into the casing. It looks just like the environment it is in, blending in where other cameras would usually stand out. The downside to the casing is that it does not do well for hiding in plain sight for home security-unless you have a lot of trees around your house, that is. So think of the casing as a double edged sword, one that works for trail hunting but fails to hide for home security.

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Recommended Level

The straightforward approach of the company means that it is a product that is only suitable for intermediate level and up. Beginners will have a hard time grasping some of the more advanced features of it, and the documentation does not make it a point to hold your hand through the process. The customers that buy this camera will know what they’re doing right from the start. More importantly, they will know where to position the camera to get the best visibility/concealment. The case is something that stands out more than others, and it all factors in to how well the camera will perform with placement.

Durability

The case is very well made and pretty to look at, but the overall durability is average. Don’t expect too much out of the camera as far as being weatherproof, waterproof or just plain resistant. It is average all across the board, and if you think it can take a hit then you’ll be really distressed. It should get points for not being below average, yet for a camera with a case that looks this good, it would have been nice if it was heavy duty. Other than not standing out above the rest of the market, the durability is just fine and will suit most people.

Pros

Trigger time is 0.67 seconds, which is right up there with the mid to upper tier market of cameras. It can record high definition videos up to 2 minutes, and all with crisp audio. Using the 100ft. flash range, the amount of detail it catches is pretty good. The mechanics of the camera itself are very well made and will do wonders for those that use it correctly. Any brand of 8AA batteries will last a long time with the built in power saving features, as this 8MP camera is not the glutton that other cameras can be when snapping media.

Cons

It has to be mentioned again-the casing while beautiful, is very average and will not hold up to abuse. This won’t be a big deal if you know how to take care of a camera, but in environments where the weather can get a little crazy, the Recon Force XR will do a poor job of maintaining a consistent sharp picture. The picture quality is great, but still lags behind other cameras in the same price range. For the mid-tier price 8MP is good but not great. There are a lot of cameras that are 8MP and can get away with that price, and this camera barely makes that list.

Included Accessories

Not a lot if included except for the Browning Buck Watch time lapse viewer software. That is pretty standard for any Browning product, so isn’t really considered anything special. It’s helpful for the intermediate user, while the expect user will most likely have something already set up on their computer. This applies to the hobbyist as well who may already have a dedicated program for their photos and videos. With only the included software as an extra, it is a bit barebones for the price. And since not everyone is interested in the software, most users are left with the camera by itself.

Value

It’s not really a tremendous value without the inclusion of extras, and the case pretty much limits its use to trail hunting only. This is not a bad camera by any means, and is a good value for the price. The problem is that there are so many other cameras in the same price range that are offering more. Value with this camera is going to come in the way of brand loyalty and the included 1 year warranty. The company is great at honoring their warranties, so if you tend to run through a lot of equipment this is the one you want to end up with.

Lasting Appeal

If the camera is picked up by brand loyalist, it will last past its prime which could be years. Customers should expect to get a lot of good use out of the camera, and if they are lucky enough to purchase the upgrade, this is the perfect camera to pass down to another user. Now for the regular customer that is not brand loyal, this may be a hit or a miss. There are an equal amount of cons to go along with the pros, so don’t expect anything majorly special from this camera over the years. And unlike other models, this camera has limited resale value once you purchase it due to the average specifications.

Best Comparison

For a lower price, customers can purchase the superior Browning Recon Force BTC7FHD Digital Trail Game Camera (10MP) with Sony 16GB Memory Card. The memory card included is a real steal and only enhances the buy more. Compared to the Recon Force XR, it really is kind of lopsided in terms of what you get for the price. That’s something to think about with this purchase, and once again gears it toward the brand loyalist who have fell in love with Browning and this particular series.

Personal Opinion

Unless you are a diehard Browning Recon series fan, it is very hard to recommend this camera. There are too many other options at better prices that will do the same job. No the big plus for this camera is the superior casing which can mean everything when it comes to taking great pictures. But beyond the casing is a camera that several different companies have better versions of. Not to mention the lack of extras, which really hurt the overall likelihood of recommending the camera. Once again it isn’t a bad camera at all-there just isn’t enough offered with this average deal.

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Summary

Pay close attention to what you’ll be using the camera for, and your current level with these types of cameras. That will play a big role in determining if this browning model is for you, or a complete waste of your time.

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