For what it's worth I had the razor and traded it for a Swaro 65 Non-HD (which is for sale now in the classifieds but I'll gladly keep if it doesn't sell) and my rationale was after spending quite a bit of time behind both was that I liked the color behind the Swaro better and I liked the size better. I didn't feel like I was giving up much in brightness.
I can justify just about anything if I think about it hard enough.
The HD Swaros are optically awesome (the non-HDs are pretty damn great themselves). They are also really light for their class. They also say Swarovski right on them. Any one of those things could be worth the expense to someone.
You don't hear of a lot of "lemon" Swarovskis. The quality control is top notch.
The Razor 85HD I owned, and the several others I looked at were also optically excellent. IMO, they were similar to the Swarovski HD in image quality. Some agree with me on this, others disagree. The Vortex was significantly heavier than the comparable Swarovski.
Vortex has the best warranty in the business. They don't even ask what happened, they just fix the problem, and fast.
You will have to decide for yourself what the difference is worth.
I currently have both the Vortex and a 20-60x80HD Swaro and though I have not spent hours in the field testing them I can tell you that you would have to spend a great deal of time comparing them side by side to tell any difference between the two if it even exists. In the end I am keeping the Swaro because on my scale it weighs 12oz less and I got a great deal on it. I can tell you for a fact I would not spend $1000.00 more for it. For what it is worth the eye relief is better on the Vortex and I prefer its focus knobs.
I have owned a Swaro 65 non-HD and looked through the Razor 85 a bunch when comparing after I had bought the 65 and I liked the Sawro a little more for a few "small" reasons. The main one being the color when looking through the 2, colors just looked "off" through the Razor and the weight... I happened into a smokin deal on a new Swaro 80HD just towards the end of the 2012 season and jumped all over it and have no regrets, I LOVE that thing! I guess if you're on a budget and willing to settle IMO, the Razor cannot be beat for the money, but then you might be thinking "I should have waited, or I should have thought about this scope or that scope." And might drive you nuts to the point of upgrading, I know many people I have talked to and read about like and are more than happy with their Razor while they have them but eventually down the road they end up upgrading to a Swaro or another "alpha spotter." Which tells me something... Then again you may be 100% satisfied with a razor forever and not have any second thoughts or regrets, it all just boils down to personal opinions and preferences. Good luck with your decision!
That post seems like ages ago dotman. Nowadays, I do get quite a bit more detailed in my examinations, and I definitely prefer real field time with a spotter, than the outside-the-store comparisons. It takes time for the Gremlins to come out.
ive had the razor 85 and the swaro 80 both hd right next to each other. i honestly think the razor is just as good.from what ive read where your going to see the difference is in certain colors, but im not birding im hunting and th vortex warrenty is insane. i went with the razor. ive done the same with 10x42 bino's. swaos and razors. the swaros take it hands down but the razors are still impressive and for a little better than a grand less, with an uncondtional warrenty.
I was leaning towards getting the Razor HD until I got that smoking deal on the 80mm Swaro at Cabelas...799.99 with the eyepiece. I absolutely love it. My wife and I were looking at the moon last night and she asked me..."I think if there was someone walking up there we could see them."
She was obviously kidding...but I think you get the point. You can find the Swaro's for a couple hundred bucks cheaper right now used because lots of people bought them at the discounted price from Cabelas...that is the route I would take.