The Brunton Eterna Compact 10x25 “packs big bino quality into a tiny, packable frame,” says our Idaho tester, who loves having powerful optics for wildlife viewing or scoping a route—but finds it hard to justify the extra weight. When folded, the Eterna Compact is only slightly larger than a GPS, but the optics proved sufficiently powerful, sharp, and bright so that he could identify individual sparrows hiding in trees from 50 feet.
The smart, neoprene “bino glove” lens covers slipped on and off easily, even when testers wore gloves, and the wide, padded neck strap felt comfortable after hours of wear. In addition to the easy-to-operate focusing dial, a diopter setting on the right ocular lens allows precision focusing for each eye (a feature cheaper, lighter binocs sometimes lack). $324; 1 lb. 1 oz. (including strap and lens covers); brunton.com
See all "essential" reviews from the 2011 Gear Guide