In this, Part 1 (of 2) of the review, I'll be focusing on the main attributes and features of the Batlogger M. Here is a Link to some of the most relevant features.
The Batlogger M arrived here in the U.S., very quickly, and well packaged. As you can see, from photos: The unit comes equipped with a lot of extras, as standard accessories (these will be addressed later). Including a great, foam-lined, custom carry case. The Batlogger M fits in the case like a glove. And, it provides an ample amount of protection. The other neat thing about it, is that there's also a bit of extra space in the foam-lined case. I've found it useful for things like: A small weather meter, microphone extension cable, and a small notebook.
I found a very well-made/fully shielded (Kumo brand) microphone extension cable on Amazon. The addition of this cable makes the unit even more versatile; and I highly recommend getting one.
Elekon even offers one on their Web site Here.
The next factor that becomes apparent, is the size and shape of the Batlogger itself: It's not square! Yes, someone was "Thinking outside the box" on this one! It's hourglass shape fits very comfortably in the hand (their Batscanner sports the same shape, by the way). At 350 Grams, it's not too heavy either.
I also like the built-on, frame of rubber armoring, it provides a positive grip in the hand. It also seems to offer a bit of protection from the occasional accidental bump, etc. It features a very accurate, built-in GPS system (more on that in Part 2).
In addition, when the unit is updated to the latest firmware (Version 2.2) - It's ultrasonic pick-up range expands. It's able to tune all the way down to 2kHz (on the low end) and up to 155kHz (on the high end). The previous firmware version only went down to 15kHz, and up to 150kHz.
This is excellent for singing insect recordists - like myself! Now, one may specifically target many species of singing insects. For example: It can be set for: 2kHz - 25kHz when I'm after cricket and katydid recordings. But, for a more relevant example, the unit can be set for: 15kHz - 65kHz Which is how I keep the test unit set (for my local bats).
Offering the ability to update firmware on a high end bat recorder is wonderful - Because the manufacturer can always add some great new features!
I believe that this may be the best handheld bat detector I've ever had the pleasure of reviewing. I realize this is very high praise. Especially when you consider the World class instruments that I've been fortunate enough to test and review over the years...The reason why I can make such a statement, is: The Batlogger M is sensitive beyond belief - The range at which it can detect and record bats is unprecedented. Yet, at the same time, is almost impervious to man-made and other unwanted noises. So far, I have estimated the "pick-up" range of the unit, and it is often over 50 meters.
Also: The Batlogger M, with it's simple Menu system, is an absolute pleasure to use. It has all the features one would desire in a bat recorder (and none of the useless ones). It also produces excellent sonograms, as good as those produced by instruments costing thousands of dollars more.
The other (somewhat reassuring) factor is, there are other very experienced individuals (Bat Workers, Professionals, and others) - Who have reviewed the Batlogger M, and have come to similar conclusions. There are a couple of fairly well-known Professionals who have chosen it to be their primary bat detector - The only detector they use. They also happen to be Friends of mine. For excellent reviews on The Batlogger series of detectors, as well as The Batscanner, see the Blog of Roger Jones. To get an idea of how successful bat surveys and emergence counts have been performed using The Batlogger, see the Site of Jon Whitehurst.
And, they are not the only ones...
This bat detecting system is particularly well-suited for unattended monitoring/recording of bat activity. It's proven to be really excellent for my nightly recordings; during this test period. The included AC power adapter, effectively removes any concern of running out of battery power (if you have access to a mains power outlet). While on the subject of power: I really like the fact, that the unit is powered by a built-in, Li-Ion battery (3.7V 4600mAh). No AA's to re-charge!
I've kept the unit On/Monitoring for ~12 hours each night. I have found it to go almost 4 nights, before needing a re-charge.
I'm very fond of the display on the Batlogger M; and the way it constantly changes and updates it's current status. While detecting bats, it is calculating/indicating the peak frequency. It then displays the peak frequency of the last bat call recorded. Very nice! It's undoubtedly, the most aesthetically pleasing display I've seen, since the BatBox Griffin. Yes, I'll say it: It looks really cool! The brightness is also fully adjustable. Some additional Pro's and Con's:
- Built-in Li-ion battery, provides long up-time even in low temperatures.
- Incredible sensitivity / Able to create good recordings of bats at great distances.
- The most pertinent information is constantly displayed.
- The stock microphone is not weather or waterproof. Although, Elekon does offer two models of (optional) microphones that are (details in Part 2).
Happy bat detecting!
Review: The Batlogger M Part 2 Of 2