I love space. I always have. Sooner or later I was bound to get a telescope to bring the stars a little bit closer. Not long ago it happened: I struck a deal with Levenhuk to review one of their “goto” telescopes (they gave me a significant discount). The result is that I am pleasantly surprised and also a bit disappointed. Let me explain.
So I’m new to the whole telescope thing. Before I started doing some research I didn’t know what I should be searching for. I did know I wanted a telescope that could automatically find cool stuff to look at in the sky (and assumed that kind of thing existed because hey it’s 2016). I found out that what I was looking for did exist: it’s called a “goto” telescope.
And of course the first thing I aimed my brand new telescope at was the moon. And my mind exploded. It was awesome — literally awe inspiring. We’ve all seen pictures of the moon and it’s craters but to see it up close with some extra clarity is really special. Dang.
With this particular telescope — the stock version without any added glass — other stars and planets are somewhat closer but aren’t nearly as exciting as seeing the moon. Luckily you can upgrade your telescope game and bring the galaxy even closer to your terrestriality (consider it coined).
So there’s a lot to like here: an upgraded view of space that’s really breathtaking (and upgradable), solid quality (I’m not worried about this breaking) and the fact that you can add a camera to this rig to snap some pics.
But there are also a few things that left me a bit disappointed.
For starters the tech feels pretty outdated here. Not unusable, mind you, but not as usable as it could be and as I expected. The “goto” functionality in this (and similar telescopes) is handled by a wired keypad that makes you enter in your latitude and longitude along with some other info before you can use it. This product is screaming to be connected to the Internet via a phone. All the info that lives in that little keypad needs to live online in the cloud.
And the setup was trickier than it needed to be. The instructions really were lacking and it took some trial and error to get things pieced together and figured out. I found a couple videos on YouTube that kinda helped. Kinda.
And I wish the tripod folded up for easier storage. There’s a plastic piece that fits in between the legs that makes it tricker than it needs to be.
At the end of the day I found this telescope cool. It did what it was supposed to and what it said it would do. But I feel like it’s a bit of a relic of the past. It’s like the telescope industry hasn’t quite caught up with the rest of the world. As much as I like this telescope I really like dreaming about what it could be in it’s next iteration (a smart telescope, if you will).
If you’re a stargazing beginner (like I was) looking for a “goto” telescope to help you see what’s up “out there” you will probably enjoy this telescope. The view might just alter the way you feel about… everything. But you should be pretty sure you want to take this hobby serious as dedication is required from start to finish.