I probably get more questions about my night vision device than anything else.
First off, you have to accept that most consumer night vision — especially Gen 1, especially at a realistic entry-level price point — is going to produce a somewhat disappointing image quality. It will not look like a good scope or binoculars. It will probably look more like a toy and you’ll wonder why you paid good money for it. However, you have to look at the strengths that even the most basic night vision gives you. Seeing someone before they see you is a huge tactical advantage. Being able to navigate unfamiliar terrain without the use of a flashlight is also an enormous tactical advantage.
So if you are going to be satisfied with your NVD, you have to accept it for the strengths and not the weaknesses. That said, I use a Bushnell Night Watch, which is VERY basic.
One of the things I like about this device is that it has an IR illuminator, so you aren’t relying on starlight alone, although it does function without the IR illuminator. It provides 2x magnification. Outside, I feel pretty comfortable at close range with this device. Out to about fifty yards, I can recognize a familiar person. Up to about 100 yards, I can see someone approaching my position. As I said, not great but still an advantage.
The optics quality is not great, but that’s common to devices in this price range. Focus is finicky. Still, I have experimented with this device a lot and think that I would rather have it than not have night vision at all. I will warn you, though, that getting into night vision is similar to getting into guns. It just makes you want more and better.
The 2x version runs about $155 bucks on Amazon. You can also check out opticsplanet.com for similar devices. They have a good range of devices at all price points.