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Razor HD 4000 GB Review


Full Member
Nov 24, 2013

A while back, I got a chance to test out a set of Vortex Fury AB binos and was pretty impressed. So when I saw that they had a new CRF in the Razor lineup that included full environmentals, a new ballistics engine, their wind capture system, and some form of a connection to a Kestrel, I was intrigued. They had done some interesting things with the Fury AB, so I wanted to see what the HD 4000 GB had on offer. Of particular interest to me was their new Geoballistics solver. I also wanted to see how the wind capture inclusion carried over as well as how the new CRF interacts with a Kestrel. The Fury AB has the full AB solver onboard and connects with a Kestrel for a full integration, but clearly, Vortex has not leveraged that relationship with the new Razor, so I was interested to see what they came up with.

Feature summary

In quick summary, the new Razor is a CRF that includes full weather environmentals to include temperature and pressure. It integrates Vortex's wind setting/capture system that they had on the Fury AB, making manual entry of wind data very quick and efficient. It also includes an onboard compass and inclinometer so that it can feed all of this information to their new ballistic engine, Geoballistics. It is Bluetooth enabled so that configuration can be done via their app, and it provides some connectivity with a Kestrel, should you want to utilize one. Overall, it's a pretty full featured CRF, but with some deviations from the feature set of the Fury AB.

What's in the box

When you first open the box, you will find the Razor inside a fairly solid protective case. It has mounting points on the back side so you can attach it to your belt etc., but honestly, I felt like the case was too big and bulky. It certainly is solid and felt secure, but it's not anything I would ever use except in general transit. Other than that, it does include a pretty nice quality lanyard and also includes a battery, so you are pretty much set to go as soon as you open the box.


First impressions on the RF, it's a little thicker than most CRF's I have used. While I am not certain as to why this was necessary, most likely it was due to the need for space for the additional wind capture buttons that they brought over from the Fury, as well as to make room for the integral tripod mount. Both of these features are appreciated, especially the wind capture capability that I'll cover shortly. It also has a built-in clip that allows you to put it in your pocket and clip it in place like a pocket knife. I would not personally ever use that, but it's reversible for left or right side mounting, and I suppose you can probably remove it if you'd like to slim it up just a bit.

The clip can be moved for either left or right-side use. While I prefer to use a pouch, this would provide for more secure storage for those that prefer to just slip their RF in a pocket for quick access

Of course, it has all the expected things as well, including a range button, menu button, lanyard mounting point, adjustable eye cup, diopter adjustment and battery cover. Speaking of which, I appreciate that Vortex uses a flip up tab on the battery cover, making field battery changes easy. Overall, while a bit bulky, it feels very solid and, while it was a bit tighter than usual, I was still able to fit it into any of the rangefinder pouches I have laying around.


The optics on the Razor are quite good. Don't get me wrong, we are not talking Leica level glass here, but the Razor is very clear. Color cast was neutral, lacking that 'blue' cast that you sometimes see. And it was sufficiently bright that I never felt like I was impeded from ranging through shooting light.

The display is pretty much what you would expect, giving you your distance, ballistics data etc. via a red display. The internal diameter of the reticle is 3mrad, and the measurement across the vertical and horizontal posts of the reticle is 6mrad.

Overall, no surprises here, it was solid and worked fine for me. I did not find it overly cluttered but felt like I had good access to the data I needed to make a shot.
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The ranging on the Fury AB was pretty good, but to be honest, the Razor CRF, at least the unit I had, is clearly stronger, which, considering the much smaller receptor diameter, surprised me. The sensor is basically a horizontal oval with a divergence measurement of 1.5mrad wide and .1mrad tall. So like the sensors on most of the better CRF's on the market, it is wider than it is tall, which improves the accuracy of ranges by limiting the accidental overshoots and undershoots that are more prevalent with round sensors. Of all my RF's, the Kilo 10k I had for testing was the strongest RF I have ever used. Behind it has been my 8k. Pretty much equal to it has been this new Razor. I say pretty much because there were times when I could range with the 8k, but the Razor would not lock, and vice versa. But overall, they were pretty much neck and neck. However, I did not have the Razor for very long so I did not have it during my hunting trips this year. In contrast, Sig generally gets me stuff in time to use it during season so I get to try it out in Colorado, for instance. Unfortunately, I was not able to do that with the Razor. That's unfortunate because I find that the distances I have access to up there are much farther and the air is much clearer than near sea level where I live, plus I have access to more realistic long-range targets up there too, whereas at home here, sometimes all I have at very long range are buildings or low hills etc. All that is to say, at near sea level with the test distances and targets I generally have access to, they were about equal, but I cannot comment on how the Razor would do up in the mountains. That said, I believe it is likely the 8k's equal there too. It's hard to say without real life testing, but they were so close at lower elevations that I suspect they would hang together in the mountains as well. Regardless, the numbers the Razor put up on my home range were impressive and I am pretty confident that it would continue to be a hammer in the mountains as well.

Overall, I had no problem getting past 2000 yards on cedar covered hillsides. When testing the ballistic returns, I was pinging off a hillside 2400 yards distant more than an hour before sunset under full sun, and the Razor did not disappoint. Earlier that day, I hit over 3600 yards on distant buildings, in this case, at the height of the sun on a very hot, cloudless day. On both of those occasions, I had the 8k with me as well, and they were matched neck and neck, so again, I was really impressed with the Razor I had, and I would have liked to have seen how it did next to the 8k up in the mountains in Colorado and out in West Texas. Either way, these are strong numbers for any CRF and I was satisfied with the Razor's performance in this regard.

The Razor includes a standard mounting point built in to the bottom of the rangefinder, allowing direct mounting to a tripod for extended distance ranging

Mapping Integration

Like Sig and Leica, Vortex now enables a connection via Basemap allowing the CRF to range a point and then have that point plotted directly in Basemap. There is some variability in the accuracy of this, however. I tested the Sig CRF's I have and they were pretty close at some locations and not so close at others. When testing the Razor and the 8k at the same time and place, they both exhibited the same amount of error, both shifted in the same direction. When talking to Vortex about this, they suggested it may have to do with how the data is transposed onto the maps themselves, all of which, they tell me, apparently come from the same source and which can suffer some amount of variability in terms of parallax and other issues. I think it may be something with Basemap, as both manufacturers I have tested have shown the same level of error, and oddly, in the same direction, but really, I don't know. Hopefully, they are eventually able to improve the consistency, as this tool would be great, not just for navigation (which, it's fine for now), but also for finding downed animals (pretty fine for that too) and for ensuring game's position vis a vis public/private boundary lines. For now, I am not confident in the feature for this use, whether using a Sig or a Vortex, because the longer I have tested out the feature, the more inconsistency I have noted. Sometimes the pin seems to drop very close to true, other times not so much. And that's just not good enough when trying to make sure the elk you are about to shoot across a canyon isn't across an invisible private boundary line. It needs to be spot on, and in my experience, it does not have that level of consistency just yet.

Kestrel connection

Before we get into wind and environmentals, we should first cover how the Kestrel connection differs from the Fury AB and, indeed, from that of Sig and Leica's connectivity. With the others, they all connect directly to a Kestrel, sending distance, angle, and (sometimes) direction of fire information to the Kestrel. The Kestrel then takes this information and data from its own onboard environmental sensors and feeds it into its AB solver. At that point, the solution is displayed both on the Kestrel and in the display of the rangefinder. The Razor does not operate in this way. When I first got it, I thought it might be like the Fury, which lets you have the option of a solution displayed using the Fury's onboard sensors and onboard AB, while the Kestrel displays it's own (or you can have the Kestrel's show up in the Fury display instead if you like). So I thought I'd have an easy way to test AB verses GB because the Razor would show the GB result and the Kestrel the AB result. In reality, the Razor does not interact with anything 'AB' at all. It does not actually have a direct connection to a Kestrel, ie CRF to Kestrel. The way it works is that both the Razor and the Kestrel have to be connected to the app. In addition, only environmental data from the Kestrel is utilized. The Razor does not send its data to the Kestrel for AB to crunch, and neither the Razor, nor the app, can receive an AB solution from the Kestrel. Only environmental data is received from the Kestrel, and that goes via the app to the Razor. So to sum, the Razor cannot talk directly to the Kestrel, and the Kestrel cannot talk directly to the Razor. The app is the conduit, and it only pulls enviros from the Kestrel and feeds it back to the Razor, nothing more. Basically, the Kestrel is simply an alternate source of environmental data, it cannot be utilized as a ballistic solver for the Razor.

All things considered, this makes some sense, especially when you look at the cost of the Razor. AB is not an inexpensive feature to add. Vortex clearly has the capability of utilizing AB and connecting to AB devices (as the Fury AB does), but my guess is that they were looking for a way to provide a ballistic solution without having to go the more costly AB route. That's just my guess. But to do that, not only would they have to not license AB on the device itself, but likely have to eschew utilizing the code needed to access AB on a Kestrel. Hence the truncated connection with AB enabled Kestrels.

Whether this is a deal-breaker is up to the user, but I found that as long as the onboard solver (whether it's AB or GB) works, I find myself using the Kestrel less and less. There are times when its superior temperature system and extra parameters come in handy, and I use it then, and of course, it's great for wind at your position etc. But when I do, I generally use it with manual entry anyway these days. So while a full featured connection is a 'nice to have', I did not find myself limited by the lack of it in any way, and I imagine the lack of that connection contributes to the lower than expected (to me) price point on the Razor.
Direction, Environmentals, Wind, and Kestrels

In terms of environmental data, the Razor measures direction of fire, angle, temperature, and pressure and feeds that to the onboard solver. Nothing new here. And as I mentioned, it also offers the option of gathering the environmental data from a Kestrel instead, albeit via a bridge connection through the app. For wind, they have implemented the same system as the one in the Fury AB. That is, there are dedicated buttons that allow you to directly and quickly manually enter direction and speed, or better yet, you can use the wind capture system.

Like the Fury AB, the Razor utilizes Vortex's excellent wind capture system. The additional buttons allow direct access to the wind system for very fast capture or manual setting of the wind direction and wind speed

The wind capture system basically works a lot like wind capture on a Kestrel; just face into the wind, and hit capture. Unlike a Kestrel, of course, it does not measure wind speed, but there are dedicated buttons to set the speed so you can do that very quickly. It's very fast, and it retains those settings relative to the onboard compass, so if you your direction of fire, it changes your windage solution accordingly. I like the system a lot, it really speeds up the wind setting process and I found it easy to use and effective. At this time, I think it's the best wind setting system on any RF that I have used and one of my favorite features on the Vortex RF's.

Ballistic Solver

Perhaps the most significant departure from the Fury AB in the Razor is that Vortex now has their own ballistic solution, Geoballistics (GB), hence the 'GB' in the name. I talked to some folks at Vortex about this change, as I really could not understand why, when they already have a working relationship with AB, they would move to something completely different in the new Razor. Ostensibly, AB being perhaps the premier solver, the Razor line would utilize it as the Fury does. I was told that Vortex in-housed their own solution because they wanted a more streamlined and simple solution that is still very powerful, but also easier to use, and less susceptible to mistakes. That is, their feeling was that AB has a lot of settings and capabilities, a level of complexity that most hunters don't really need, and that extra complexity contributes to mistakes in having the settings right for an accurate solution when you are in a hurry, like in a hunting situation. So they tell me this is why they came up with GB, and that it also allows them to easily tailor it to their own needs in the future.

I use AB a lot and can see this possibility, having made a few mistakes here and there along the way, but overall, I'm pretty comfortable with it and don't really see the need for a separate solver. My guess is that while complexity and custom scalability may have played a part in their decision to move away from AB, as I mentioned, I suspect that the cost of AB may play a role here as well. Adding AB functionality and connectivity is, as I understand it from several sources, quite expensive and adds a hefty cost to any device utilizing it. Vortex coming out with their own in-house solution bypasses that problem. Either way, as long as the solver works, I have no issue.

In terms of user interface, on the RF, there is basically nothing to note. Working in the app, however, I found it a little odd. Not that it was hard to use, but maybe a little less developed than AB. That said, I have been using a Kestrel with AB and other AB related products for a while, so I am kind of used to it. GB was different, not bad, just different for someone used to AB. After a while, I got used to it, and it is pretty simple.

But ultimately, what really matters is output. When you range, do you get the right solution. Like AB, GB accounts for Coriolis, spin drift, and aerodynamic jump in its solution calculations, so it should be turning out a pretty accurate solution, even at long range. AB and GB were pretty close at most ranges, but they were not identical. Of course, the best way to test is to shoot the solution, but frankly, the difference between the solutions at my shooting range were entirely too close for my skills to differentiate which was right. For example, at 628 yards, they were within .25 MOA of each other, and I am nowhere close to shooting well enough to show who was right. Suffice it to say, at these sorts of ranges, they were very close.

However, I did get to test the Razor vs AB on several devices out to some more extreme ranges. I used a Sig 8k, a 10k, and a Kestrel, making sure they were all setup identically, which meant setting temperature manually, and then ranging at the same moment at the same targets. Overall, they were all pretty close, with the Kestrel tending to call for a little less elevation than the Razor, but not always. My guess is there is a setting in there somewhere that is impacting the solution, but I'm not sure on that. Between the Razor and the 8k, they were pretty close, within half an MOA, usually less, except when I hit distances in the 2000 yard plus range, then the difference opened up quite a bit more. As an example, at 1100 yards, the Razor called for 35.1 MOA, the 8k called for 34.59 MOA and the Kestrel 34.6 MOA. I will say that the Kestrel and the 8k (as well as the 10k I have on hand) tracked very closely to each other, much closer than did the Kestrel and the Razor, especially at extended ranges over 2000 yards, but considering they are using the same ballistic engine, that should be expected. So overall, I was pretty happy with how close GB and AB tracked at most ranges. I did not expect them to be identical, even my 8k and 10k have slight disagreements at times, so to see two completely different solvers be as close as they were was good. My only concern would be for ELR shooters. At the 2k plus ranges, the difference between the Razor and the AB devices was much larger. I cannot tell which was right but would lean towards the AB devices. However, having neither the opportunity nor the skills to test this, I will have to leave it to others to determine which solution was more accurate.

Overall, I was left with a sense of confidence in the Geoballistics solver, at least out to the 1100 yard ranges. I'd be interested to see a shooter who can actually see a .25 MOA difference at 600 yards give it a spin and make a comparison to the solutions from AB vs GB, but unfortunately, my skills are not up to making that determination. So overall, GB vs AB, I'd have to say overall, there are some questions left unanswered in my mind when it comes to the very long distances, however, for my purposes and distances at which I generally shoot, GB seemed to get the job done just fine.


Overall, I found the Razor to be an impressive CRF. In the situations where I was able to test them side by side, it ran pretty much neck and neck with my 8k in terms of ranging. While the 8k offers some features that the Razor does not, like the highly configurable display, sensor/reticle alignment, comprehensive Kestrel pairing etc., the price difference between the two is not inconsequential. At the time of this writing, the 8k has a street price of around $1200 and the Razor runs around $800. Whether the extra features of the 8k are worth it is up to each individual, but in terms of ranging, in my experience, they were pretty much equals.

If I were to pick at anything on the Razor, the biggest would be on their move away from AB. While I don't know for certain which is right, I'd lean towards AB, especially if I was shooting at ELR distances. I just have more confidence in it, but who knows, I might change my mind after a few years using GB. It would also be nice to have the option of a full Kestrel connection, but again, that's not really that important to me. Of course, the mapping integration needs some improvement too, but I don't think that is a Vortex issue, I suspect that's a mapping issue that all of the current RF's will experience, though I have not tested the Leica Pro just yet but should be doing so in the near future. So I wouldn't hold that against the Razor.

Comparing that to the 'plus' column, the Razor comes out looking pretty strong: decent optics, great ranging, best in class wind capture system, built in tripod mount, and all at a very competitive price. And then there is Vortex's warranty. Unlike other companies that only cover the electronics for a limited time, Vortex extends their regular warranty coverage to the entire unit, which means it's covered under a lifetime warranty forever…electronics included. Considering the complexity of the electronics and the chances of them being the fault in a failure, that's a pretty valuable part of the package for many people. Overall, I'd say if you are in the market for a full featured CRF, the Razor deserves a careful look. It's balance of excellent core competencies, innovative wind capture system, and class leading price and warranty makes it a solid competitor in this segment of the CRF market.
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