I just saw smart binoculars at CES 2024 that can automatically identify birds

Swarovski Optik binoculars
(Image credit: Future)

What do you get for the bird lover who has everything? How about a pair of binoculars that can identify any bird you look at?

At CES 2024, Swarovski Optik — that of the crystal fame — introduced the AX Visio, a set of smart binoculars with a built-in AI that can ID more than 9,000 species of birds, mammals, butterflies, and dragonflies — and also let you record photos and videos of what you see, and share them via a smartphone app. 

We had a chance to check them out at CES, and were impressed. But these binoculars are not ... cheep.

Swarovski Optik binoculars

(Image credit: Future)

At their core, the Swarovki Optic AX Visio are a set of 10 x 32 binoculars. However, when you look through the binoculars at a bird, a red circle appears around the subject. You then press a button on the binoculars, and, provided it's recognized, the name of the bird (or mammal) will appear in red lettering. In my hands-on time, it generally took a few seconds for the binoculars to identify an image of a bird, so you better hope that whatever you're looking at doesn't quickly fly off.

If you're out birding with a friend, you can also "lock" onto a bird with the binoculars. Then, when you hand the binoculars off to your friend, they can follow directional arrows in the viewfinder to more easily locate the bird you spotted. 

A dial in the center of the binoculars lets you switch modes: Bird ID, mammal ID, compass, and camera are some of the settings.

Swarovski Optik binoculars

(Image credit: Swarovski Optik)

In terms of technical specs, the AX Visio have a 13 MP sensor (4208 x 3120 px), and can record 1080p videos. Its 8 GB of internal memory can store around 1,700 photos or up to 1 hour of video. The binoculars' 3,000 mAh battery should last up to 15 hours on a charge. 

The AX Visio weigh a fairly hefty 34 ounces, but they do have a tripod mount should your arms get tired. Swarovski Optik's site says the binoculars can operate in temperatures from 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, but makes no mention of water resistance, so you should be real careful if it's rainy outside.

Not surprisingly, these binoculars can't be had for mere bird seed. When they become available in February, they'll cost $4,799. If you can't afford that, then there's always the Bird Buddy

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Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.