New trail camera reviews

2014 Browning Recon Force XR Review

     - Discontinued model

Quick Facts
Trigger Speed:
Recovery Time:
Detection Range:
Flash Range:
0.86 s.
2.2 s.
70 ft.
60 ft.
8 AA
5" x 4" x 2.75"

  • Fast trigger/recovery times
  • Outstanding color daytime pictures
  • Bright night infrared flash
  • Excellent case design
  • Can only take 10 second videos at night
Trailcampro Analysis

     The Recon Force is Browning's mid-level, red glow infrared trail camera.  The original Recon Force came out in 2013.  The Recon Force XR is the 2014 model and it sports much improved battery life.

Detection Circuit
     Most of the Browning models have similar detection circuits.  The Recon Force is equipped with a 0.86 second trigger (it takes about 0.4 seconds to blink an eye) and recovers in 2.2 seconds.  These are both excellent times

     The detection zone nearly mimics the field of view of the camera (42°) and reaches out to around 70 feet of detection range.  You can count on one hand the manufacturers that are capable of manufacturing PIR sensors that do this.

Picture Quality
     As you can see from the sample photos on the right, the daytime pictures are bright, clear and colorful.  If you want to get nit-picky, the clarity may be off, but just by a hair.

Look at the picture to the left and notice how clear the deer is even though it is in the middle of a brisk trot.

Many cameras would have blurred the legs (at a minimum).  We were very impressed by this.

     Nighttime picture quality leaves little to be desired.  The bright infrared flash offers contrast, clarity and minimal blurring.  As with any infrared camera, there will always be some blurring, but this is among the better night flashes we have tested this year.

     If an animals gets within 5-8 ft. of the camera, you can expect some "white out."  That is expected and is simply the price you pay for having 60-70 feet of flash range.

     Below are examples of day and night video capabilities.  This camera does have audio so you can turn your speakers on.

Battery Life
     The battery data below is nearly identical to the Browning Spec Ops, which is a no glow infrared camera.  No glow cameras generally burn more power to overcome the 940 nm infrared LEDs (which are invisible to the human eye at night).

     The resting current draw is extremely low and means the camera could sit inactive for a very long time.  The day and night consumptions are a huge improvement over last years camera.  This is excellent data all around.

Resting Current Draw
Daytime Power Consumption
Nighttime Power Consumption
0.08 ma
583 mAs
766 mAs

ma = milliamps

     The Recon Force utilizes 8 AA batteries.  They are located in a removable battery tray on the bottom of the camera.

     Predicting battery life accurately, is a huge challenge.  It depends on number of pictures taken in a given time period, the ratio of day to night pictures and the type of batteries being used.  For the longest battery life possible, you should use 8 Energizer Lithium Batteries.  With these, you can expect 4-6 months of operation out of the camera (regardless of the weather).  Tenergy Nimh Rechargeable Batteries will get approximately 2 months of battery life, but can be charged over and over (saving you money in the process).

     Overall, the biggest and possibly only weakness of this camera is the day and night power consumption.  In the grand scheme of things, the battery life isn't a huge issue as you still receive several months of battery life depending on the battery type you prefer.

Ease of Use
     When it comes to case design, Browning really has it figured out.  This has to be among the better looking cameras we have used.  We were amazed at how well the camera blends in to bark patterns found here in the Midwest.

     The buttons and switches are crisp and audible when clicking.  The fit and finish of this camera is superb in every way.  The Recon Force does not have the handy internal viewer (with the live preview function) that the Browning Spec Ops does, so camera trap setup needs to be done with your best judgement.

     The Slate River Mount, which we use religiously, helps in angling the camera properly.  For years we would "shim" cameras with bark or small twigs that we would find lying around the woods.  The Slate River mount simply screws into a tree, or slips onto a T-Post, and then angles perfectly for every shot setup.  We know we talk about this little mount obsessively, but if you aren't locking the camera, it is absolutely the best thing you can do to increase the quality of the pictures you take.

     Durability has been excellent so far.  Very few issues and Browning already released firmware updates to fix a slight overexposure problem with some of the pictures
.  The camera comes with a standard 1 year warranty.  However, we always like to go a step further, for that reason, we give you a 2 year warranty directly through us for no additional charge.  In other words, if you purchase a camera from us, we cover it from defect for a full 2 years, for free.

     In conclusion, the Browning Recon Force does nearly everything right.  The biggest obstacle for the Recon Force XR is its sister model, the Browning Strike Force.  The Strike Force is cheaper and smaller, while keeping most other characteristics.  In a sense, the Recon Force XR is being cannibalized from the success of the Strike Force!

Recon Force Pictures
(click pictures to enlarge)

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