Leica 2800.COM Initial Hands On Review

catorres1

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Back in the early fall, I was asked by Leica to test and provide feedback on a new their new rangefinder, the 2800.COM, that was announced today at SHOT. As I understand it, mine was one of the first 5 built and brought into the US, so was not a pre-production, but earlier still in the process, more like a prototype. I ran it under many conditions for about 3 months, testing it side by side with other RF’s, and wanted to provide some insight into what Leica is bringing to market.

It’s important to note that my unit was literally at the very front end of development and part of my role was to find problems and make suggestions for engineering to resolve/consider. So what comes to market will probably be a little different than what I have had for the past months, but the features and performance I’ll cover below should be uneffected. Overall, this is an impressive and competitive piece of kit they are bringing to market, and I can’t wait to see the production model.

What’s new
The 2800 shares most core features with the 2700b. Ranging and glass are the same, which is to say, excellent. Rather than rehash that data, check out my review on the 2700b. I tested both side by side, and they are the same, although my 2800 outranged my 2700 slightly, but I think it was just unit to unit variation. It is a tiny bit larger than a 2700, but it still fits the same tripod mounts etc.


The 2800, on the right, is slightly larger than the 2700, but not so much that accessories are not interchangeable.

The 2800 also retains all the environmental instruments and ballistic computing capabilities onboard, just like the 2700b, so it’s every bit the stand alone device the 2700 is. The changes are all about the ‘com’….communication. Where Leica made significant changes is by adding Bluetooth connectivity with two-way communication, bringing new for Leica capabilities to the table, most significantly, in the ability to connect to a Kestrel wirelessly.

So, starting with the basics, there is now an app that allows you to connect the 2800 to your phone. Through this app, you can make firmware upgrades to the RF (opens the door to easy future upgrades and improvements), as well as create and store curves for various loads. Gone is the card slot that the 2700 used for storing a curve, as you can now build and store various curves in the app and upload the one you want to run at any given time onto the RF via phone. This also negates the need for using Leica’s curve builder on the web. That capability is now in the app. Useability wise, it’s a big improvement over the 2700.


The 2800, on the right, lacks the SD card slot that is present on the 2700, as it is no longer needed.

Once you have uploaded your curve, the 2800 operates just like the 2700, as the 2800 retains all the environmental instrumentation that the 2700 had. So temp, pressure, and angle are all considered to give you a solution out to 1000 yards. So as a standalone RF, it gives up nothing to the 2700b, but adds app connectivity, firmware upgrades, and a better way to build, store, and upload custom curves to your RF.
While the aforementioned changes are great and most welcome, the biggest capability improvement comes via its connectivity to a Kestrel. When in this mode, the RF will send range, angle and compass heading to your connected Kestrel. Yes, they added a compass to the 2800 so that DOF is automatically populated to the Kestrel. The Kestrel computes the solution, based on the curve selected in the Kestrel, and returns that full solution which displays in the 2800. The solution includes elevation adjustment as well as wind holds, including both the constant and gust holds that the Kestrel calculates if you have it set that way. And for those that like to shoot long, when sourcing the solution from the Kestrel, it will display your solution to as far as you can range on the 2800.

So the workflow here is pretty straightforward. For use without a Kestrel, just build your curve in the app, load it on the RF and run it like a 2700. All enviromentals are onboard just like on the 2700, so you are good to go to 1k.


Like the 2700, the 2800 easily ranged off this plate at 1120 yards, and was able to range a 12” white plate at over 1500 yards.

For use with a Kestrel, power up your Kestrel and leave it running. If you keep it in a pouch away from your body heat (like in a chest rig or whatever) temp drift due to sun or handling should not be a problem. And if you come from a hot truck to the cold, the Kestrel can quickly be cleared, then left running in the pouch so temp is always correctly updated. When you find your target, range it. The Kestrel’s solution will come up in your RF, and you are ready to shoot.

For many shooters, you won’t even need to handle the Kestrel once it is turned on, as DOF is set based on the RF compass reading, so Coriolis etc. will be correctly calculated without having to manually set DOF on the Kestrel. Of course, wind will need to be dealt with, but different shooters have different methods for wind estimation. Obviously If you want to take a wind reading, you’ll need to pull the Kestrel out. But some shooters just manually set a 5 mph full value and a 10 mph full value gust in the Kestrel, and then adjust the displayed hold accordingly when shooting.

Summary
Overall, the 2800.COM is a significant upgrade to the 2700b and looks like a winner. The workflow is faster due to the 2800’s connectivity , but it retains the 2700’s performance in terms of ranging and optics, while taking nothing away from the shooter in terms of features. With the 2800’s additional capabilities, Leica can now offer a fast and efficient workflow to those shooters who regularly shoot long, and in pairing with AB, they are leveraging a partnership with a trusted industry leader in ballistic solutions.

If I can get one of the production units, it would be very interesting indeed to compare performance, capabilities, and workflow to similarly connected devices like the 2400 BDX and the Vectronix X. On paper, they all have their areas of particular note, and I’d love to wring them out side by side to see what each one uniquely brings to the table. I’ve been running a long term test on the 2400BDX and it’s impressive (part 1 of the review will be up in a few days), and I’ve heard great things about the Vec X, so hopefully a comparison will happen later this year. But for sure, it’s a good time to be in the RF market, competition is spurring manufacturers to really up their game in terms of what they offer, and we consumers are reaping the benefits. MSRP for the 2800.COM is $1099, and its scheduled to start shipping this week.
 
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skierhs

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I’m excited to hear your thoughts on how this compares to the 2400BDX. I have a 1600-r and the connectivity of the BDX to the foretrex 701 has me very intrigued. I absolutely love the glass and quality of the Leica range finders.
 

catorres1

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I hope to have a 2400 review up by end of week, part one anyway. It expanded when I got ahold of a BDX scope to pair with it, and that really adds another dimension to consider.

When I am done with that, then I plan on doing a direct comparison, but initially, while they overlap in most areas, they do have distinct strengths. Throw in the new 3000 bdx, and the water muddys further. Obviously, all of them will be a great upgrade, but what other devices you have/want, how you use your RF, and what you will use it for will probably define which is the best way to go. At least, that is what I am thinking, gotta finish my testing before I can say for sure.

But if you have specific questions on either, feel free to ping me and I'll do my best to try and help you get the right solution for you.
 
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catorres1

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Sure thing, FYI, there is a video review by Xring, IIRC, on youtube about these. Oddly, he does not mention that it feeds back into the unit, so you don't need to look at the Kestrel, could be his did not have that functionality at the time. But it's still interesting to watch if you want to see it in action.
 

skierhs

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It was shown in the video by AB that it reads on the foretrex.
 

catorres1

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Gotcha, yeah to clarify, the review I mentioned was a video review on the Leica 2800. His did not appear to populate the solution back into the RF, but mine did, so they got that sorted. At this time, the 2800 does not connect to the Foretrex, though that is one of the recommendations I made to Leica, and AFAIK, this is possible through software, so it should still be possible.

I am also about to post on the 2400. When I got it, it did not connect to the Foretrex, and I asked if they would be making that happen and was told it was on it's way. Apparently, it is done, so that's awesome. For the 2400, it too feeds the solution back into the RF, so you don't even have to look at the Kestrel display either. I assume the Foretrex does the same, but I don't know.

HTH!
 
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Jperk0278

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Appreciate the review as I am looking into RFs. Hopefully, after the next few weeks I’ll be able to pull the trigger.
 

catorres1

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Man I want to see how this compares to the Terrapin X laser performance wise.
I can't say for sure, but I am fairly sure the Terrapin X will beat it. The reason is the 2800 has the same size lenses as the 2700, so it is limited under current specs, at least that is what I was told. Heard similar from Sig on some of their products too. The Terrapin is a little larger so has more range capacity.

However, and this I don't know if it's the case anymore, but the X did not feed back into the RF when it was first released, IIRC. In other words, you had to range, then look at the Kestrel separately to get your solution. Not so with the 2800, it's two way, data out, solution back into the RF. I had heard that that was coming to the X as well, maybe it got into production already, don't know. But for me, I like that quite alot....can just leave the Kestrel running, as long as batteries hold, and range and get my solution all in one place. Grab rifle, dial, and fire.
 
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catorres1

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Appreciate the review as I am looking into RFs. Hopefully, after the next few weeks I’ll be able to pull the trigger.
You bet, hope it helps. To muddy the waters further, I just posted a monster long term review on the 2400 BDX too, a couple minutes ago. It's a long review, but been running that one for months, so had lots to say.
 

Rhed

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Couple of months old post. But just wanted to say thanks for this review. Interested in a 2800.
 
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Soulezoo

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Very happy with mine. The reviews are accurate so I won't repeat them. But I am more than satisfied with the performance once I can get it paired with the kestrel. That is really my only complaint.
 
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seansmd

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Hopefully they fix the firmware, specifically to cycle the shooting solution, it times out too quickly and does not repeat.
 
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catorres1

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These are exactly the change recommendations I put in when we went over the 2800...specifically to cycle the shooting solution as the Sig's do, and to increase both the speed and stability of the bluetooth connection. Hopefully, we will see that, as both are possible through firmware upgrades.
 
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Rhed

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So the 2800 has BT stability issues when pairing with the Kestrel? Maybe both the RF and Kestrel has to have a firmware update? Wonder if the Terra X has BT stability issues as well.
 

catorres1

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All of the RF's I have used that connect to the Kestrel or an app will drop occassionally, or have connectivity challenges at times. Sig has had BT connectivity with their RF for quite a while, so their a little more mature, and in that respect, their performance is a better. But even those will occassionally drop or have connectivity issues with either the Kestrel or the app. The Leica does it more often, but neither are perfect. Though I have not used the Terra X, I'd guess they are about the same but can't say for certain.
 
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seansmd

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So the 2800 has BT stability issues when pairing with the Kestrel? Maybe both the RF and Kestrel has to have a firmware update? Wonder if the Terra X has BT stability issues as well.
I have not seen bt stability issues unless you seperate then after connecting, i don't think it handles reconnecting well. I had it set up paired, and connected for hours with no stability issues. If i walked one away it let one power off it may require power cycle on the kestrel. The kestrel does not have this issue with the sig or with the phones.
 
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Rhed

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Btw, what’s the farthest non-reflective shot the 2800 will do?
 

catorres1

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I've hit right to 2800 on a rock face that I would not call reflective. I've hit in the 2700's on trees, but it's rare, under perfect circumstances and from a tripod.
 
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FA Duk

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Back in the early fall, I was asked by Leica to test and provide feedback on a new their new rangefinder, the 2800.COM, that was announced today at SHOT. As I understand it, mine was one of the first 5 built and brought into the US, so was not a pre-production, but earlier still in the process, more like a prototype. I ran it under many conditions for about 3 months, testing it side by side with other RF’s, and wanted to provide some insight into what Leica is bringing to market.

It’s important to note that my unit was literally at the very front end of development and part of my role was to find problems and make suggestions for engineering to resolve/consider. So what comes to market will probably be a little different than what I have had for the past months, but the features and performance I’ll cover below should be uneffected. Overall, this is an impressive and competitive piece of kit they are bringing to market, and I can’t wait to see the production model.

What’s new
The 2800 shares most core features with the 2700b. Ranging and glass are the same, which is to say, excellent. Rather than rehash that data, check out my review on the 2700b. I tested both side by side, and they are the same, although my 2800 outranged my 2700 slightly, but I think it was just unit to unit variation. It is a tiny bit larger than a 2700, but it still fits the same tripod mounts etc.


The 2800, on the right, is slightly larger than the 2700, but not so much that accessories are not interchangeable.

The 2800 also retains all the environmental instruments and ballistic computing capabilities onboard, just like the 2700b, so it’s every bit the stand alone device the 2700 is. The changes are all about the ‘com’….communication. Where Leica made significant changes is by adding Bluetooth connectivity with two-way communication, bringing new for Leica capabilities to the table, most significantly, in the ability to connect to a Kestrel wirelessly.

So, starting with the basics, there is now an app that allows you to connect the 2800 to your phone. Through this app, you can make firmware upgrades to the RF (opens the door to easy future upgrades and improvements), as well as create and store curves for various loads. Gone is the card slot that the 2700 used for storing a curve, as you can now build and store various curves in the app and upload the one you want to run at any given time onto the RF via phone. This also negates the need for using Leica’s curve builder on the web. That capability is now in the app. Useability wise, it’s a big improvement over the 2700.


The 2800, on the right, lacks the SD card slot that is present on the 2700, as it is no longer needed.

Once you have uploaded your curve, the 2800 operates just like the 2700, as the 2800 retains all the environmental instrumentation that the 2700 had. So temp, pressure, and angle are all considered to give you a solution out to 1000 yards. So as a standalone RF, it gives up nothing to the 2700b, but adds app connectivity, firmware upgrades, and a better way to build, store, and upload custom curves to your RF.
While the aforementioned changes are great and most welcome, the biggest capability improvement comes via its connectivity to a Kestrel. When in this mode, the RF will send range, angle and compass heading to your connected Kestrel. Yes, they added a compass to the 2800 so that DOF is automatically populated to the Kestrel. The Kestrel computes the solution, based on the curve selected in the Kestrel, and returns that full solution which displays in the 2800. The solution includes elevation adjustment as well as wind holds, including both the constant and gust holds that the Kestrel calculates if you have it set that way. And for those that like to shoot long, when sourcing the solution from the Kestrel, it will display your solution to as far as you can range on the 2800.

So the workflow here is pretty straightforward. For use without a Kestrel, just build your curve in the app, load it on the RF and run it like a 2700. All enviromentals are onboard just like on the 2700, so you are good to go to 1k.


Like the 2700, the 2800 easily ranged off this plate at 1120 yards, and was able to range a 12” white plate at over 1500 yards.

For use with a Kestrel, power up your Kestrel and leave it running. If you keep it in a pouch away from your body heat (like in a chest rig or whatever) temp drift due to sun or handling should not be a problem. And if you come from a hot truck to the cold, the Kestrel can quickly be cleared, then left running in the pouch so temp is always correctly updated. When you find your target, range it. The Kestrel’s solution will come up in your RF, and you are ready to shoot.

For many shooters, you won’t even need to handle the Kestrel once it is turned on, as DOF is set based on the RF compass reading, so Coriolis etc. will be correctly calculated without having to manually set DOF on the Kestrel. Of course, wind will need to be dealt with, but different shooters have different methods for wind estimation. Obviously If you want to take a wind reading, you’ll need to pull the Kestrel out. But some shooters just manually set a 5 mph full value and a 10 mph full value gust in the Kestrel, and then adjust the displayed hold accordingly when shooting.

Summary
Overall, the 2800.COM is a significant upgrade to the 2700b and looks like a winner. The workflow is faster due to the 2800’s connectivity , but it retains the 2700’s performance in terms of ranging and optics, while taking nothing away from the shooter in terms of features. With the 2800’s additional capabilities, Leica can now offer a fast and efficient workflow to those shooters who regularly shoot long, and in pairing with AB, they are leveraging a partnership with a trusted industry leader in ballistic solutions.

If I can get one of the production units, it would be very interesting indeed to compare performance, capabilities, and workflow to similarly connected devices like the 2400 BDX and the Vectronix X. On paper, they all have their areas of particular note, and I’d love to wring them out side by side to see what each one uniquely brings to the table. I’ve been running a long term test on the 2400BDX and it’s impressive (part 1 of the review will be up in a few days), and I’ve heard great things about the Vec X, so hopefully a comparison will happen later this year. But for sure, it’s a good time to be in the RF market, competition is spurring manufacturers to really up their game in terms of what they offer, and we consumers are reaping the benefits. MSRP for the 2800.COM is $1099, and its scheduled to start shipping this week.
One item I found surprising is that there isn’t a mounting thread/solution. Strange. Anyone else note this or come up with a aftermarket solution?
 

ophious

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One item I found surprising is that there isn’t a mounting thread/solution. Strange. Anyone else note this or come up with a aftermarket solution?
Funny you should ask. Yes I do.

 

Rhed

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Pulled the trigger on one of these and the Leica tripod adapter. All through sportoptics.com. Always great service and pricing there. 849$ Black Friday special. Might wanna give them a call for availability if any of you are interested. I’m pairing this with a Kestrel 5700 elite also purchased through them.
 
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Molon77Labe77

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So far I love my 2800.com and how fast it takes the range and provides a solution in the kestrel. The only issue I’m having is the elevation and wind reading that pop up in the 2800.com do not match what’s in the kestrel. Example: I range a target at 1500 yards, it populates the kestrel with 50 moa elevation and 10 moa of wind, but what pops up in the RF is 17 moa of elevation and 3 moa of wind. Has anyone else ran into this, or can maybe provide me with some insight on how to fix it?
 

seansmd

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I have not seen this, and the range, angle, DOF the Kestrel is seeing from the LRF is correct? Does it do this on all range results?

The Kestrel is the math engine, and working on the data the LRF gives it, so I would start there, is the data from the LRF right, if it is and the dope seems correct for the distance, wind, etc. then something is wrong with what the LRF is either receiving from the Kestrel, or displaying. Are you sure the LRF is displaying in MOA and not MIL?
 

Molon77Labe77

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Yes, from what I can tell all the inputs from the rangefinder are correct and it’s giving an accurate callout in the kestrel. I confirmed the LRF is in US and imperial units, as well as the kestrel, it’s just giving the wrong output elevation and wind in the LRF.
 

seansmd

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Does it always give the wrong dope on the LRF but correct on the Kestrel(again assuming the dope on the kestrel is correct)?
 

seansmd

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I looked to see if there is a factory reset for the Leica and can't find one, I would suggest clearing all settings on the Leica back to the defaults(look in the manual it does show what the defaults are I believe), and turn off all ballistics on the Leica. I would then also delete the pairing from the Kestrel side, and re-pair once the Leica is back to default.

If the Kestrel data is trusted and always right, and the Leica is new to the equation, I would remove it and start over.
 

Cheeseburger1976

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Sorry on a different subject. I can’t find anywhere online about storing it for a fairly long time with the battery installed? Like 6-8 months-ish
Anyone have any input?
same question regarding my 5700 Elite.
thanks for the help. I wouldn’t want to cause an issue.
 

gr8fuldoug

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Sorry on a different subject. I can’t find anywhere online about storing it for a fairly long time with the battery installed? Like 6-8 months-ish
Anyone have any input?
same question regarding my 5700 Elite.
thanks for the help. I wouldn’t want to cause an issue.
Why do you want to store anything with a battery in it? Always best to remove the battery when storing. Battery corrosion has killed more expensive products than accidents