AGM Asp-Micro TM160 Review
The AGM Asp-Micro TM160 Thermal Monocular is a close-range handheld thermal monocular from AGM Global Vision. The new Micro TM160 thermal monocular is another highly anticipated AGM Global Vision product in 2020 because the price is only $499! The question is whether this new product will be useful to the hunter.
The Asp-Micro TM160 is not a weapons mountable scope. It is a compact thermal monocular used by hunters to search for game at night, or by security personnel to view their area of responsibility at night. It is equipped with a 160×120 resolution thermal detector, a 720×540 LCOS display, and a 6mm in diameter objective lens. There is a second model of the ASP-Micro at a higher cost equipped with a much better 384X288 thermal core and a larger objective lens in the same small package.
It has four palettes; black-hot, white-hot, red-hot, and fusion (yellow & purple). They all work very well for spotting game and one of the top control buttons lets you quickly flip through the palettes. Most people I know experiment with all the palettes and settle on one they like best. I prefer white-hot in the TM160 as I do in my other thermal optics.
AGM Asp-Micro TM160 Features
The TM160 Thermal Monocular has most of the features of more expensive thermal monoculars, but everything is scaled for short-distance operation. It has a 1X base magnification, weighs about a half-pound, and is small enough to carry in your jacket pocket. The size, shape and top-mounted control buttons make it easy to handle and operate. The digital magnification increases to 2X and 4X and it has a small knob on the side to focus the image to your eye.
The TM160 has a built-in 8-gigabit memory module that supports video recording (no audio) and photos that can be downloaded directly to your computer. Other features include a static range finder, wifi, and an app for downloading videos and photos to your cell phone or other devices.
AGM Asp-Micro TM160 Battery & Charging
An internal lithium-ion battery powers the TM160 for up to 7 hours on a single charge. A charger is not included in the box. It has a USB cable that can be plugged into your computer, phone charger, or other power sources to charge the battery. If you do need to use it for longer than 7 hours, you can use the USB cable to connect it to an external power bank.
One smart thing AGM did with the TM160 is to use the Type-C USB interface connector. I think all thermal optics need this type of plug because it is a physically stronger connection than the Micro USB connector used in most optics. The Type-C connector has a reversible/symmetrical design so it is easier to plug your power source into the monocular in the dark. Micro USB interface connectors are used on many thermal optics and fail quite often, leaving you no choice but to return the unit for repair.
AGM Asp-Micro TM160 In The Field
The video below was taken with the Asp-Micro TM160. The live image is better than the video.
The AGM TM160 will be a pleasant surprise the first time you look through it, especially if you have never used a thermal monocular before. It has a reasonably good image for such a compact size and low price. Even though the thermal sensor is small, it has good detail at the base 1X magnification out to about 50 yards. The 50Hz refresh rate keeps the image in smooth focus as you pan from side to side with very little choppiness that you find in lesser quality digital optics.
The TM160 is a great addition for scanning if you are currently using a digital night vision rifle scope and have no handheld scanner. This monocular will benefit deer hunters also. The TM160 is good for tracking blood trails, finding big game after the shot, or for scanning the path ahead for game in the pre-dawn darkness. It can also be handy for security around your campsite after dark.
The TM160 uses the T-Vision app to connect to your cell phone or other devices. It works very well to remotely control the settings, take videos and photos, or download files to your phone. The wifi is strong and you can control the TM160 from over 25 yards away.
This feature is very good for streaming everything you see through the TM160 to a cell phone so others can see what you see. You could even set it up outside your hunting blind to monitor game activity remotely.
Detection & Identification
Remember, this monocular has a 1X base magnification. Zooming to 2x cuts the resolution in half from 160×120 at 1X, to 80×60 at 2X, so I prefer to leave it on 1X for the best image quality. Also, the 1X magnification actually makes the image look a little farther away. This is true of most 1X optics. It has something to do with the human eye and focal length.
You can detect large game at hundreds of yards away with the TM160, but identification of game will be more difficult past 100 yards. You can see cows, hogs, and deer across a field, but may not be able to distinguish a hog from a deer. Inside 100 yards is where you can start identifying different types of large game and detecting smaller creatures.
The advantage of using the TM160 for hunters is detection. Game is hard to detect with a night vision scope or colored light if the animals are not looking at you so you can see the reflection of their eyes. Even with the limited capability of the TM160, detection of game will be much easier than trying to scan a field with your night vision scope or flashlight. You will be able to see large game like hogs or deer almost instantly in open grassy areas like pastures out to 200 yards. The body heat of an animal will make the entire animal stand out in the thermal image. They can not blend in with the cooler vegetation.
After you detect a heat signal at long-range with the TM160 monocular, you can then zero in on the potential target with your riflescope for positive identification. That is exactly what I did on my last hunt. I drove up to a hunting area and before getting out of the truck, I scanned a large field with the TM160. Out in the field, a hundred yards or so away, I spotted what appeared to be a coyote. I grabbed my rifle to confirm it was a coyote and not a neighbor’s dog before the shot.
If you hunt over feeders with a red light mounted to your rifle, you can use the TM160 to keep an eye on the area around the feeder without ever turning on a light until you take the shot. It lets you view the area while hunting or scouting without giving away your position with any type of light.
This all boils down to you being able to detect more game and be a more successful hunter. In my experience, you will detect much more game with a thermal monocular than you will with a digital night vision scope alone or lights. The TM160 will make you a more successful hunter, and you will have more fun in the process.
What I Like About The TM160
First, the TM160 is compact, lightweight, and priced right. Every function works as it was designed to do. The T-Vision app works very well and it is easy to use. It is a very good tool for the night hunter or any outdoorsman for that fact. It gives you the ability to see at night without being detected by game or people. You can detect large game like hogs for a hundred yards or more, and you can see between the trees into the woods with no light reflection. For security purposes, you can see everything around your home or campsite in the pitch-black dark. You will find many good uses for the TM160.
The only thing I don’t like TM160 is its limited resolution. It is not for the coyote hunter with a thermal scope. It just does not have the resolution for most varmint hunting. It will not make very good videos past 25 yards, and increasing the digital magnification to 2X just makes the blur at long-range look like a larger blur. All the functions work properly, but the low resolution isn’t quite enough to support some of its features.
Spotting a coyote coming across the last 50-100 yards to the call, detecting hogs in open fields or slipping through the woods to your feeder, or locating a downed deer after dark is what the TM160 can do for the hunter. If you hunt over feeders that are 25-50 yards away or you want a thermal optic to check around your camp at night, it might fit the bill. It will also help big-game hunters find dead or wounded animals after the shot.
I do not recommend it if you already have a good thermal scope because you will be disappointed with the low resolution. If you have a night vision scope and are on a tight budget, it will help you detect much more game. One thing is for sure, you will not find any other thermal on the market as good as the TM160 for $499.
It comes with a full 3-year, transferable warranty, and my unit worked like a charm with no issues. It is easy to use and it will make you a better hunter. For a short-range scanner, it delivers good results.
AGM Asp-Micro TM160 SPECIFICATIONS
- Detector type – Vanadium Oxide Uncooled Focal Plane Arrays
- FFC (Flat Field Correction) – Auto, Manual, External Correction
- Highest Temperature Spot Tracking Yes
- Standby Mode – Yes
- Refresh rate 50 Hz
- Resolution – 160120
- Lens system – F1.1
- NETD – less than 35 mk (@25C), F#=1.1
- Lens (focal length) – 6.2 mm
- Field of view – (H X) 15.61 11.74 (H V)
- Digital zoom – 1, 2, 4
- Display 720540, 0.2 inch, LCOS
- Storage – Built-in memory module (8 GB)
- Record Video – On-board video recording
- Capture Snapshot- Yes
- Battery Type – Built-in rechargeable Lithium battery
- Wi-Fi – Yes
- Battery Operating Time – More than 7 hours continuous running (with Wi-Fi hotspot function off)
- Battery Capacity Display- Yes
- Power supply – 5 VDC/2 A, 1.5 W, USB Type-C Interface
- Operating Temperature Range – -20C to 55C (-4F to 131F)
- Weight- 270 g (0.6 lb)
- Overall Dimensions – 161 61 57 mm (6.3 2.4 2.2 in)
- Protection Level – IP67
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To learn more about the author of this review, check out Col. Cupp’s bio HERE.
- Chester Cupp