Product Model: Xero A1
Number of Pins: Customizable
Pin Size: .007+
Best Uses: Target shooting, 3-D Archery, Hunting
Garmin's Xero A1 Bow Sight Review
It was only a matter of time that a bow sight with every feature possible was to hit the market with full steam ahead. That's what the Xero A1 did, and it was met with both skepticism and welcoming arms from the bow and arrow community.
What have you heard, and what do you think?
Is it too "smart" for the game, or is it exactly what you need to get more confidence? Let's narrow it down in our review.
The A1 is jam-packed, and combining its multiple, digital features with a ridiculously high cost calls for a recipe of seriously skeptical bow hunters.
So, what feature or features justify the hefty price tag?
First off, it's a digital bow sight that runs off AAA batteries, is pinless, but it has red LED pins. Confused? Because it's a digital sight, there are no fiber optic pins like what you see on a conventional sight.
However, there are several LEDs that allow for a customizable pin set-up. You can opt for single-pin, multi-pin, or manual-pin set-ups.
But, the winning feature isn't the LEDs, it's the built-in range finder. It automatically calculates for angle compensation, is accurate for game up to 100 yards, and it will automatically select which LED pin you need to get dead-on. Basically, the work is done for you by this rangefinding bow sight.
To get the range, you attach the Silent Button Trigger in the place you find most convenient for your finger to push it at rest and/or at full draw, and yet, the range finder isn't the only noted feature.
The A1 also has a built-in level, and built-in level indicators to help you eliminate cant. If you have blinking pins, then make sure you read below on what that means. Additionally, the A1 has a newer sibling out in the market, the A1i.
We'll go over the differences in our review below, and see if the upgrade is worth it.
- Built-in range finder
- Soft target yardage 100 yards
- Red LED pins
- Customizable pin set-up
- Built-in level indicators
- Technology issues
Garmin Xero A1 Q&A
What are the Technology Issues the Garmin's Xero bow sight has?
For the price, some buyers have been disappointed by the laser range finder feature freezing up during use. Other issues include difficulty updating software. However, reports have said that customer service is very responsive to helping with issues as they arise.
What size are the LED pins on the Xero A1?
The pin diameter size is .007" and is red in color. The Xero A1i has both red and green color options with .007" for red, and .009" for green.
What do Blinking Pins on the Xero Bow Sights Mean?
If you have a top blinking pin at full draw, it means you're canted to the right. If you have a bottom blinking pin at full draw, it means you're canted to the left. You can adjust for this by correcting your form and position.
The center pin will never blink as it will always remain solid.
What is the Yardage Range for the Garmin Xero Bow Sight?
Both the A1 and the A1i have soft target yardages of up to 100 yards, and reflective target yardages up to 300 yards.
Does the Xero A1 Bow Sight Calculate for Angles?
Yes, the A1 automatically calculates for angle compensation for hunting/shooting in steep terrain or from a blind.
Does the Garmin Xero A1 Accept a Lens Kit?
There is no threading on the outer sight housing to accept a lens kit for magnification.
Is the Glass Treated for Glare?
The exterior side of the glass that faces the target has both anti-reflective and water-repellent coatings. The interior side of the glass that faces the shooter has a 20% anti-reflective and water-repellent coating.
How Long do the Batteries Last in the Xero Bow Sights?
Both the Xero A1 and A1i require two AAA batteries to work, and the batteries are not included with the purchase. Garmin says battery life is said to be up to a year, however, depending on how much you use it, it could drain a lot faster than that.
Can the Pins be Brighter in the Garmin Xero Sights?
The pins do have a brightness settings that includes Manual and a controlled mode. The controlled mode allows for automatic pin brightness depending on ambient light conditions the light sensor picks up.
Can other Garmin Devices Sync with the Xero A1?
No. The Xero A1i is the only model that allows for compatibility with other Garmin devices.
What are the Main Differences Between the A1 & A1i Bow Sights?
The only differences lie in the additional smart features the A1i has that are: Laser Locate, Multiple Arrow Profiles, Shot Dynamics, and Garmin GPS Compatibility.
How Much More does the Garmin A1i Cost?
The models are priced approximately $200 apart whether they're on the shelf at full retail or on sale. Prices are subject to change.
- Built-in range finder with angle compensation
- Yardage distances up to 300 yards
- LED pins in .007" with ambient light sensor control brightness
- Wide, clear, and unobstructed field of view
- Takes the guesswork away and adds stealth to the game
Our Verdict on the Garmin Xero A1
Narrowing things down, the Garmin Xero A1 is a smart bow sight for a smart shooter. It's almost daunting to think about all it offers, and how it's going to affect the hunter and the archer, but the consensus is it only changes it for the good.
For the price, we'd say it better be for the good. If you're willing to take the time to calibrate the Xero and understand it, you'll shave time and increase your success rates out in the field.
But, if you already own a Garmin GPS watch or device, and you want the flexibility of dual colored and various size pins in one sight, the Xero A1i might be the smart sight for you. It does cost more, but only you can decide if it's worth it.
Another range finding bow sight might interest you, and we promise it doesn’t cost as much as the Garmin. The IQ Sights IQ Define might not be as decked-out as the A1, but it does have range finder tech. If your budget is a bit bigger you will probably want to take a look at our review of this rangefinding bow sight by Burris.
It can provide soft target distances up to 99 yards on its 2 digit blue LED display. It offers angle compensated distances, an integrated sight light, and five .019" fully enclosed fiber optic pins. It's cheaper than the Garmin, so it might be right up your alley - only you can decide that - but our review of the IQ Define might help you make the decision.
The Xero A1i may be a bow sight that might be too smart for its own good. It just might blow some tech-savvy shooters away, but for others, a traditional pin sight works just fine.
What do you say?
Is more cash down worth it for the digital technology? If you can improve your accuracy, speed up target acquisition, and remain in stealth mode while in the field, would you be willing to pay Garmin prices?
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Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. When not glassing the local wildlife, you can find him in the garden with his German Shepherd.