Test: Kahles Helia TI 25 thermal imager for night hunting and game observation 

Briefly, a few key data on the company history of Kahles

Kahles has been on the market since 1898 and is therefore a company that has been growing continuously since that time and is always evolving in the field of development and production. As one of the oldest riflescope manufacturers in the world, Kahles manufactures optical devices for hunters and sport shooters. The product range has recently been rounded off by the Helia TI 25/35 thermal imaging devices. Kahles relies here on handheld devices and not, like many other manufacturers, on dual-use devices that can also be used as clip-ons onto daylight optics. Small, lightweight, easy to use – these are the key advantages of this concept for spotting and observing game at night and in twilight.

My first impression of the new Kahles Helia TI 25 thermal imager

As we all know, first impressions play a major role, so the high-quality packaging naturally made me curious about the contents. In addition to the thermal imager itself, the package includes an objective lens cover that can be attached directly to the imager. Also included is a carrying strap with a quick-release fastener and the manufacturer's logo, a neoprene protective cover that can withstand any weather and protects the device from external influences, and a suitable USB-C charging cable.

After quickly and easily mounting the device, I charged it for the first time. As already mentioned, the charging accessory is a common USB-C charging cable, which also facilitates charging when forgetting the adapter, since these charging adapters are now found in almost every household. Striking at first sight is the fact that the device only has two buttons, which conversely means that all functions can be controlled with them. The feel and workmanship of the Kahles Helia TI 25 makes a very high-quality impression. The partly rubberized case ensures firm carrying and holding comfort.

The Kahles TI 25, one of the two new thermal imagers: handy, simplified to the essentials and with only two buttons and a dial for operation.

The first hunt with the Kahles Helia TI 25 thermal imager 

I had already held the TI 25 in my hands several times over the last two days before it was allowed to accompany me on my first hunt in the early hours of the morning. Already in the car I took the device out of the neoprene protective cover and hung it around my neck. That saves me time, especially when things have to be done quickly. In addition, this way I don't run the risk of scaring off game through unnecessary noise in the darkness.

The Kahles Helia TI 25 thermal imager is drop-resistant, waterproof and ready for use in extreme temperatures.

After quietly locking the car and shouldering my rifle, the Kahles TI 25 also came into its own for the first time. Before I set out for my morning stalk, I switched on the device and was thrilled by the lightning-fast start-up time. Already at the first viewing, I was impressed by the excellent imaging performance, even without seeing game at first.

Once in the raised hide, I familiarized myself further with the Kahles TI 25 and selected the color mode that suited me best. Here, everyone has their own preferences, but my favorite is the "White Hot" mode: here heat sources are displayed "white" and the rest of the environment is reproduced in different shades of gray. Unfortunately, I was only able to see a rabbit that morning, which I could detect from a long distance thanks to the powerful thermal imager.

It hopped closer and closer to the hide, so I could test the individual modes and the digital zoom at my leisure. Unfortunately, the 4x magnification of the zoom could not really impress me at a longer distance, since the image reproduction became too unclear for me personally. I finished the first practical test with the Kahles TI 25 after a few hours in a satisfied mood and was already looking forward to further hunts. In my opinion, 4x magnification does not play a decisive role in hunting practice.

Practical test and handling of the TI 25 from Kahles: quick usability and simple operation are the two highlights

In practice, the Helia TI 25 impresses with its simple operation and handling. Using the two control buttons, there is no need for a long search when making changes to the settings or modes and thus the user guidance is absolutely self-explanatory. The user can choose between three color modes: "White Hot", "Black Hot" or "Red Only" are available for selection. The quick usability is definitely a plus point as well. According to the manufacturer, the device only needs two seconds to boot up the screen.

The smaller Helia TI 25 offers a wider field of view at 100 meters: 26 instead of 19 meters for the Helia TI 35.

The thermal imaging device can further convince with its automatic standby function and the associated battery life. The total life of the lithium-ion battery is up to eight hours. This is made possible by the intelligent display automatic switch-off / switch-on with tilt and motion sensor. And now comes the most important and useful function of the TI25: "Automaticlight" prevents the display from emitting disturbing light and allows for immediate reactivation without having to press a control button. This also saves battery. Cleverly done.

Kahles TI 25: what about image quality and zoom?

The OLED display ensures a high-contrast and sharp image quality. Objects stand out with clear edges and clarity. However, this depends on the respective distance and the selected zoom factor. Weather conditions also play a role here, as with all thermal imaging devices.

The smaller of the two Kahles thermal imagers has a digital zoom. This can be selected between 1x, 2x or 4x. With 4x zoom, game can be seen even at longer distances, but at long ranges the screen resolution is usually no longer sufficient for game recognition. Hunting practice must be obvioulsy compared to this, because it is not absolutely necessary to be able to recognize game at a distance of more than 200 meters.

The device is definitely suitable for all common hunting practices, whether for stalking or for raised hide hunting in forest or field areas.

Test conclusion – or why buy a pure thermal imager like the Kahles TI 25?

With only two control buttons, the Kahles TI 25 is very easy to operate and offers a long battery life – even at minus 20 degrees Celsius.

It's simple: quick to find, easy to operate and attractively priced. The Kahles TI 25 costs 2,200 euros (MSRP). It is a pure observation device that is used exclusively for spotting wildlife. You can't use either model as a clip-on and there is no video recording function. This is a point that, in my opinion, may be added in the future.

However, the lack of the option to record pictures and videos for replay is offset by the fairly simple handling with easy usability, which would probably worsen with the addition of further features. So, Kahles has probably done everything right, and those who expect something different will just have to look elsewhere.

In any case, the Kahles Helia TI 25 thermal imager is a device that stands out for its high-quality workmanship, ease of use and high-contrast image reproduction. The excellent battery life with integrated standby stands out, as well as a start-up time of just 2 seconds. The only cons are the missing features in terms of image and video recording. Users who can do without this feature should definitely consider choosing a thermal imaging device from Kahles.

Here on all4shooters.com you can find all technical data of the two Kahles thermal imagers TI 25 and TI 35.

More information about the two new thermal imagers is available on the Kahles website.

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