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Discussion: Str8 Compass Magnifier: very negative experience

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Oct 26, 2021 4:34 PM # 
Hi all,

Thought I'd share my experience with the Str8 compass magnifier. Some months ago I was excited to get it for my Str8 compass. Although it worked great for a brief moment, I had several problems with it right from the start and the alloy bracket now broke, making the magnifier unusable. Sadly, my impression is that the magnifier's quality is junk absolutely not worth the price. I was also unimpressed with the support I received when reporting the issues.

Problem #1: "A/B Pin". The notice says to push a pin in either of the A or B positions to limit the rotation of the magnifier up to two possible points. I did so, it clicked into place, yet it fell out on the first outing. The support person was unwilling to believe that I had pushed the pin all the way but did ship a replacement pin, which I glued in. By the way, the B position serves no purpose: there is no point at which it can restrict the magnifier's travel. The support person (who, I'm let to understand, is also the product's designer) was unable to deviate from what the brochure says about the two positions.

Problem #2: "Seating Pin". One of the pins that enables the magnifier's plate to sit on the compass fell off. Those pins come pre-assembled, they're not supposed to fall off: they are screwed it, with the addition of a dot of what looks like black silicone. I reported this to support, who claims to have shipped a replacement pin which I never received.

Problem #3: Alloy Bracket. This is the bracket that holds the magnifier over the compass. It bends extremely easily: several times, I found that the bracket was bent out of alignment and had to unbend it. This was not through crashing, more likely because of light pressure when the compass was in my pack on the way to an event — mind you, it was never packed really tight. This slight bending — unbending cycle happened a few times. Early this month the bracket just broke. After I explained what had happened, the support person was unwilling to replace the magnifier, claiming that I had broken the compass, and that that cast molded alloy bracket is "the strongest type that can be made." He did mention the company's 40%-off "crash protection" offer, which to me sounded like an incredible waste of money given the product's performance.

I'm still happy with the Str8 compass without the magnifier, it may not be perfect but for me it's 95% there. On the other hand I thought I'd alert other orienteers about what I perceive to be shoddy quality of the magnifier. I was really unhappy both with the product and with the response, and it takes a lot for a company to upset me to the point of writing such a review. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

On small-scale maps I'm now using the Silva Arc Zoom magnifier mounted to an Arc Jet. I like the compass less, but the compass-magnifier unit feels way more solid.

By the way, when leading orienteering walks in clubs, I've been asked by older participants about compass magnifiers, so if some of you have recommendations, I'd be happy to pass that on. That public is not competitive, but budget-conscious.

Wishing you all a fun week !

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