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GPO Spectra TI 35 field tested by Patrick Hook

Patrick Hook thinks that the GPO Spectra TI 35, the latest in thermal-imaging technology from the German manufacturer, will be a boon for hunters

At a recent open day at my local gunshop, I was intrigued to see a thermal spotter that I’d not heard about before. This was the GPO Spectra TI 35 and, as it looked like a quality piece of equipment, I enquired further. I was told that it was made by a Bavarian company called German Precision Optics, run by two engineers who’d previously worked on military kit for some of that country’s better known optical manufacturers.

The GPO Spectra TI 35 can be used either as a handheld spotter or, via a quick-fit attachment to the front of a telescopic sight, as a full-on thermal riflescope. Ever sceptical of the claims made by salesmen, I examined it in detail but couldn’t find anything to dislike. I then turned it on and watched someone walk across the showroom. Not only was the image really crisp, but I could even see the chap’s footprints. This convinced me that a full field test was required, and Raytrade – the UK distributors – kindly agreed to send me one on loan.

Thermal spotters are brilliant for all manner of hunting – here a rat can be seen sitting on a piece of farm equipment in a barn. Top right of the image is a status panel. This shows that the view is at x1 – in other words, with no magnification. To the right of that it shows how much memory is left and then on the right of that, there’s the battery level indicator.


The goods

The full package includes a telescopic sight as well as a hard carry case together with all the associated hardware. The spotter is beautifully made, immediately feeling right in the hand. It weighs 350g and measures 120mm long, and the engineering cannot be faulted. It’s powered by two CR123 batteries, which give around four-and-a-half hours of use. There is also a charge level display, making it a doddle to keep an eye on how they’re holding up.

There were, in fact, so many rats around that two tawny owls were sitting nearby waiting for a chance to swoop in and grab a meal

Once I’d fitted the batteries and worked out what the various buttons did, I fired the unit up and played around until I was happy that I could use it efficiently in the field. One of the first disappointments I found was that there’s no way of mounting a lanyard. I have no idea why this is, but as it would be of zero use to me without one, I headed out to the workshop and knocked up a suitable bracket. Fortunately, there are two threaded mounting points in the right place, so this was easy enough to do.

Looking around in daylight just doesn’t match the real thing, so that night I headed off to one of my local haunts to give the spotter a maiden run. I had my own Pulsar thermal hanging alongside so that I could switch between the two to make meaningful comparisons. The GPO Spectra TI 35 was so good, however, that I quickly dispensed with the latter. The image was sharp, and when you had the focus right, crystal clear. However, since it has a narrow depth of field, I had to keep twiddling the front adjuster when scanning across varying ranges.

Patrick thought his beaten-up old Pulsar (right) was a handy size, but the Spectra TI 35 is even smaller

One of the features that I really liked was the ability to take snapshots or video at the press of a button. I know many of the competitor systems can also do this, but my old unit can’t, so it was a nice facility to have. There’s 16GB of internal memory, which given that a typical photo is only 30KB, means that you could theoretically capture many thousands of images without running out of space. Even a couple of minutes of video only takes up 30MB or so.



The system does have a number of downsides, though. For a start, I don’t like the fact that you have to access the menu to change the brightness or contrast. In
itself, that shouldn’t be a problem, but when there’s a whole array of tiny buttons squeezed into a small area, you spend half your time pressing the wrong ones, so
making a simple adjustment takes many times longer than it ought to. On the upside, once the system is set up correctly, you only need to fiddle with the buttons if you want to try something different.

This is a screenshot from a video I took of a hedgehog that was foraging nearby. Here it’s sniffing the air, trying to determine whether I was a threat. While the optics are excellent, their depth of field is so narrow that at close ranges your subject only has to move a few inches and it’s out of focus again. That’s not a problem when you’re hunting, but it makes for fuzzy videos.

The GPO Spectra TI 35 has a whole host of background features that are not immediately apparent (which they shouldn’t be, or they’d get in the way), such as Wi-Fi capability, the option for picture-in-picture and so on – visit for full details. Since there’s so much to talk about, I’m only covering the use of the GPO Spectra TI 35 as a handheld spotter in this article – in a subsequent one I’ll discuss using it as a thermal riflescope. Although I have a few minor criticisms, overall I love it and will be sad when I have to give it back.


Sum up

  • There are too many buttons and they’re too close together. That’s OK when you’ve got bare hands, but with thick gloves on you have little control over what you end up pressing. This can be maddening when you’re in a hurry. I think you only need four – on/off, manual refresh, menu and image capture.
  • There’s no time display – knowing when you saw an animal or how long you’ve got left before meeting up with a shooting partner is vital.
  • It needs a lanyard mount – when you are checking the surrounding terrain every few seconds, the spotter has to be instantly accessible.
  • A shuttered eye-cup would massively cut down the amount of light back-scatter.
  • Downloading stored images is really easy – it’s simply a case of connecting the cable and turning the unit on.
  • The spotter on its own is £3,250, or in a bundle including the 4-16x50i scope it’s £3,599. Either way, it comes with an impressive three-year warranty.


More information

  • Patrick’s local gunshop is Blue Fox Glade, Chawleigh, North Devon.
  • Visit:
  • The official website for the GPO Spectra TI 35 is: