My experience has shown the Monarch's to be pretty good binoculars but not great binoculars. I'd put them in a class with the Bushnell Legends and the Leupold Cascades--serviceable, utilitarian, affordable, and reliable. If I was just going to own one pair of binoculars and didn't want to spend $300, they've got enough features and provide good enough color that I'd be happy with them.
I don't think their image is as sharp or bright as a pair of $250 porros like the Swift Audubons or the Pentax PCF's, but their size, twist up cups, water proofing, and roof style all work in their favor if you're going to hunt more than you birdwatch.
They wouldn't come to mind if we were listing 'brightest' or 'sharpest'. I'd probably take issue with having to "spend over $1000 to get a lot better." For $360 off of SWFA's sample list you could get tremendously better optical performance on a pair of Kahles 8x32's. Sharper image, 100' wider field of view, 3' short focus, and noticeably brighter optics for about a hundred dollars more than the Monarchs.
The hundred bucks would be very, very well spent.
Just my two cents...
Take the long way home.