If you were asked to name some of the brands that design and build binoculars, you’d probably think of some of the leading players — Celestron, Nikon, Olympus and Canon. Occer isn’t a name many of us have heard of. Their website certainly needs work and there is very little information about them online. Their marketplace seems to be on Amazon alone, but that said, they have over 24,000 ratings, scoring 4.5 out of 5, which piqued our curiosity.
Objective lens diameter: 25mm
Angular field of view: 273 degrees
Eye relief: 15mm
We bought ourselves a pair to see if we agreed with the high rating. There appear to be several different models of the same binocular, an upgraded version, an even more upgraded version, and so on. The version that arrived to us had blue stippling (dots) as a hand grip and fold-down eyecups. The version more (opens in new tab)readily available on Amazon (opens in new tab) are entirely black, without the stippling, and it appears they have twist-up eyecups, instead.
Thanks to their size and portability, you’ll find these binoculars sitting in our Best binoculars for kids guide. Still, we’re interested to see how they compare to some of the Best binoculars, given their high rating and rave reviews.
Occer 12×25 compact binoculars: Design
- Reverse Porro Prism design
- They feel durable when handled
- Lots of texture provides grip
The first and most obvious description of these binoculars is that they are tiny. At just 1100mm x 500mm the Occer 12x25s can easily fit inside your coat pocket, possibly even your pants pocket if you wear them baggy.
They feel high quality and look quite smart, even with the blue flashing. We wonder whether the new ‘upgraded’ version, which is completely black, was a conscious decision to make them look ‘less toyish’.
Online, these Occer binoculars claim they are Porro prisms, but the model we received (pictured), is actually reverse Porro prism binoculars, as the objective lenses are closer together than the ocular lenses (the end you look through). This design makes the binoculars more compact and also makes them better for close-range viewing.
Lens cleaning cloth
They have fold-up eyecups and therefore, have two positions: up or down. The eye relief of 15mm is a tad short for spectacles wearers and best avoided unless users are happy to use the binoculars without eyeglasses on.
The packaging of optics instruments does not usually put us off, but we must say, the packaging of the Occer 12×25 compact binoculars is awful. The title on the box reads ‘binoculars’ and the descriptive text is littered with spelling mistakes. We wouldn’t pick these up off the shelf in a shop and if you’re looking to give a pair as a gift we can say that purely by looking at the external packaging, this does not look like a premium item and more like something you’d find in an arcade machine. You would do better to take them out of the box and present them in their soft pouch instead.
Occer 12×25 compact binoculars: Performance
- Bright and colorful views
- Waterproof, apparently
- 15mm eye relief
The description on Amazon claims they are waterproof. Everything seems to be sealed nicely, so we would expect them to be water-resistant but we would be hesitant to submerge them.
The fold-down eyecups fold down and stay down (unlike on the National Geographic 6×21 binoculars we reviewed). In fact, they are a little too easy to fold. We found it frustrating that any pressure applied to the eyecups when looking through them encouraged them to fold down. A little more resistance would be appreciated to prevent accidental folding.
The image you see through the lens is pleasingly clear and bright. We were even more surprised to see less chromatic aberration during our tests than what we picked up with the Celestron Outland X 10×42, where yellow color fringing was noticeable.
Yet another claim in Amazon’s description of these Occers is ‘low light vision.’ Nothing special is added to these binoculars to enhance vision in low light. We used them at twilight and they still worked but not in any way that’s different from a pair of standard binoculars. They don’t let enough light in for enjoyable stargazing but provide decent views of the moon and its craters for a compact binocular.
Occer 12×25 compact binoculars: Functionality
- No lens caps provided
- Pocketable for portability
- Short eye relief
Looking past the dubious claims in online write-ups of these binoculars, as a pair of kids binoculars, or a handy portable pair of compact binoculars for adults, they will likely do what you want them to, for the price.
If you want the quality of binoculars that you get with the industry leaders like Celestron for activities such as identifying stars or long-range terrestrial observation such as on safaris, you’d probably be disappointed. The most significant selling point over other binoculars is that they are tiny. If your main goal is to get better magnification than with the naked eye like, for example, at a track and field event or music concert, these could be just what you need.
We think a fairly crucial part of keeping your binoculars as good as new is the use of objective lens caps and eyepiece covers, something lacking from this model. We are careful with our equipment but absent-mindedly slipping them into a pocket with a key or other sharp objects inside could lead to disastrous consequences.
Should you buy the Occer 12×25 compact binoculars?
For a portable means of getting closer to nature or sporting action and without worrying too much about quality or guaranteed longevity, you can’t go wrong with a $35 price tag (they are much more expensive if ordering in the UK). You can conveniently keep them in your bag or pocket and whip them out whenever needed. A couple of people we’ve spoken to have actually said they’d forgo optical quality for the unbeatable portability of these binoculars. They are a grab-and-go pair that you can take ‘just in case’ you need them and they will only have a negligible effect on your weight or space limits.
As a pair of binoculars for kids, we think they fare better than the similarly priced National Geographic 6×21 binoculars which we’ve also reviewed because of the increased size of objective lenses, even if we can’t tell precisely how much higher. The Occers also have a closer minimum focusing distance so they can be used in and around the house to look at things ‘just for fun.’ Whereas, with the National Geographic pair you need to be stood a reasonably long way away, which some children might find frustrating.
If the Occer 12×25 compact binoculars aren’t for you:
If you plan on heavy binocular use and want peace of mind from a Limited Lifetime Warranty, we recommend purchasing from a big brand like Celestron or Nikon. The specs and claims from Occer don’t quite match up and we would only know the real durability of this pair after a few months of constant use.
Take a look at the Celestron Cometron 7×50 binoculars, which we think are some of the best binoculars for kids. They are nowhere near as tiny as the Occers reviewed here but are still considered compact.
A similarly priced pair of real binoculars are the National Geographic 6×21 Children’s Binoculars — the bright yellow color may be more attractive to children, as demonstrated by one of our ‘testing subjects’ who preferred the yellow pair over the blue and black Occer pair. Despite us telling him the optics and build quality was better — at five years old, this wasn’t deemed important.
If you’re looking for a pair of binoculars suitable for astronomy and skywatching, the Celestron SkyMaster 12×60 binoculars (opens in new tab) fit the bill. Although users will need to mount them on a tripod mount or the wobble will be intolerable. The SkyMasters have excellent light transmission, thanks to the 60mm objective lenses and also have superior BaK-4 glass, water resistance and loads more magnification. They could be considered pricey for kids’ binoculars, but the great thing is they would be suitable for the whole family, and we can confidently say they will last for many years.