The Best Telescope Review of 2017

The Best Telescopes Review of 2017 Banner

Wow, 2017 really flew by! This year’s  Best Telescopes Review for 2017 includes newly released telescopes such as the Celestron Inspire Series telescopes which set the scene with new features such as an integrated smartphone adapter and better optics. Longstanding favourites such as the Celestron Astromaster Series and Saxon Dobsonians also appear in the list again due to its great value for money and quality that stands the time. Compared to last year, we consider a few more categories for new telescopes users, such as best land viewing telescopes, best manual telescopes for kids, and more. Read on to see our ratings.

Our Scoring Criteria for Best Telescope

This year, we have included a new addition – Suitable for Kids. While ‘Ease of Setup’ does suggest that it more suitable for kids, it does not fully capture popular kid’s needs and wants

Ease of Setup

A telescope that is easy to set up is definitely a crowd pleaser. For most of our customers, they want something that can be used pretty much out of the box. That is, they want to get the action, not spend hours trying to configure the scope before using, which is completely understandable. This is why we are looking for a telescope that is easy to set up and can still deliver on optical quality.

Ease of use

Particularly for amateur astronomers, whether or not you would want to continue using a telescope depends the views that you will see. If you can see amazing views through your telescope, you are likely to be more inclined to continue so you can explore even more of the night sky. However, if you are too overwhelmed or frustrated when trying to use the telescope,  you will never get there! Thus, an important factor we have considered is ease of use. The easier it is to use, the more likely you will use your scope for a long time!

Cost

Most of our customers are looking for good value for money telescopes. This is why for each of the categories we take into consideration the price of the telescope in relation to the the industry average. We are focusing on telescopes that are worth the money you pay for them.

Upgradability

A good starter telescope should have the capacity to upgrade. In the case that you may want to try astrophotography or more advanced observation in the future, you want the first scope you purchase to allow you to test the waters before you buy a full fledged, sophisticated telescope.

Suitable for Kids

This criteria measures the degree to which the telescope is able to fulfil the needs and wants of kids. The best telescope is not too large or dangerous for kids, is easy to use so they can enjoy it with minimal assistance, is not too expensive that would prevent you from letting the kids play with it, and is powerful enough for kids to see details of stars, the Moon and Jupiter and more.

 

Category #1 – Best Telescope for Land/terrestrial viewing

Saxon 1025AZ4 Refractor Telescope

Saxon 1025AZ4 Refractor Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★★★☆

Ease of Use:★★★★★

Cost: ★★★☆☆

Upgradability: ★★☆☆☆

Suitable for Kids: ★★☆☆☆

The Saxon 1025AZ4 Refractor Telescope is a user-friendly telescope ideal for casual observers, especially configured for land-viewing. Maneuvering your scope is fuss-free, with an easy rotation of the handle you can glide up, down, left and right. The stainless steel tubular legs with rubber tips is quite sturdy and reduces vibrations significantly, compared to an AZ3 mount, which makes it great for those hoping to leave their telescope in high traffic locations.

 

Celestron Astromaster 90AZ Refractor Telescope

Celestron Astromaster 90AZ Refractor Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★★★★

Usability:★★★★★

Cost: ★★★☆☆

Upgradability:★★★☆☆

Suitable for Kids: ★★★★★

The Celestron Astromaster 90AZ Refractor Telescope is a greater all-rounder telescope for beginners. The handle controls enables you to maneuver the scope quickly and smoothly, great for land-viewing. However, this could also be detrimental if the scope is purely for astronomical viewing (less attuned for incremental adjustments).

Category #2 – Best Budget telescope

Saxon F767 Reflector Telescope

Saxon F767 Reflector Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★☆☆☆

Usability:★★☆☆☆

Cost: ★★★★★

Upgradability:☆☆☆☆☆

Suitable for Kids: ★★★★★

The Saxon F767 Reflector Telescope is our staff’s go-to budget telescope for someone looking for basic planetary viewing. The large of accessories (3 eyepieces, 3x barlow, moon filter, 1.5x erecting eyepiece) that come included enables this simple telescope to become a family favourite, and keep kids entertained for hours. It’s small size also enables it to be easily packed away when not in use.  

Saxon F1149EQ Reflector Telescope

Saxon F1149 EQ Reflector Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★☆☆☆

Usability:★★★☆☆

Cost: ★★★★★

Upgradability:★★★☆☆

Suitable for Kids: ★★★☆☆

The Saxon F1149EQ Reflector Telescope is a greater starter telescope that is suitable for upgrade in the future. With its original configuration, the 900mm focal length and 114mm aperture renders it quite capable of detailed planetary observation without the hefty price tag.  It is much more powerful than the Saxon F767 Reflector Telescope (our second favourite budget telescope, and is only around $100 more expensive! Great deal for beginners!

Also available with a stainless steel tripod and with a motor drive.

Category #3 – Best Kids Telescope

NEW FOR 2017 Celestron Inspire 80AZ Refractor Telescope

Celestron Inspire 80AZ Refractor Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★★★★

Usability: ★★★★★

Cost:★★☆☆☆

Upgradability:★★☆☆☆

Suitable for Kids:★★★★★

The Celestron Inspire 80AZ Refractor Telescope is Celestron’s latest release which is built specifically for kids. It is a great upgrade from the Celestron Astromaster (our all-time favourite kids telescope), and features innovative tweaks that makes it more portable and usable than ever before. For example, the usually overlooked lens cap doubles as a smartphone adapter for kids to take pictures which is easy to get ready. This setup actually produces greater clarity and minimal distortion compared to traditional smartphone adapters that retail at over $100. Other features include: built in line, improved StarPointer finderscope and tool-less setup and portability. Our new favourite.

Celestron Astromaster 90AZ Refractor Telescope

Celestron Astromaster 90AZ Refractor Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★★★☆

Usability:★★★★★

Cost: ★★★☆☆

Upgradability:★★★☆☆

Suitable for Kids:★★★★★

This is the second time the Celestron Astromaster 90AZ Refractor Telescope has graced our favourites list. Even considering the new releases by its competitors, the Celestron Astromaster 90AZ Refractor Telescope remains superior in quality and ease of use. This telescope is appropriate for both land-viewing and astronomical viewing, and very simple to use – great for kids.

Category #4 – Best Telescope for Hobbyists

Saxon Velocity 2001EQ5 Reflector Telescope

Saxon 2001EQ5 Reflector Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★☆☆☆☆

Usability:★★★★☆

Cost: ★★★★☆

Upgradability:★★★★☆

Suitable for Kids:☆☆☆☆☆

The Saxon Velocity 2001EQ5 Reflector Telescope is an extremely powerful for a low price. Out of the box, this telescope will produce glorious views of planets, the Moon’s craters, nebulae and galaxies. This telescope is great on its own, but very upgradable. Add a GOTO system to the EQ, replace the OTA with a larger scope, add a single or dual-axis motor drive, there are many options available!

Also available with a steel tripod, and GOTO.

Category #5 – Best Computerised Telescope for Casual Observers

Skywatcher 127mm Mini AZ WiFi Computerised Telescope

Skywatcher 127mm Mini AZ WiFi Computerised Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★★★

Usability:★★★★☆

Cost: ★★★☆☆

Upgradability:★★☆☆☆

Suitable for Kids:★★★★☆

The Skywatcher 127mm Mini AZ WIFI Computerised Telescope is an innovative telescope design for amateur astronomers looking for the easiest telescope to control. It is a lighter, more durable and more compact computerised telescope compared to most all telescopes that we have seen around. Download the SynScan app on Android or iOS onto your smartphone or tablet to control your telescope – it’s that easy! Going travelling? That’s fine. With a tripod weighing only 1.23kg, there’s no unnecessary bulk.

Celestron Nexstar Evolution 6 Computerised Cassegrain Telescope

Celestron Nexstar Evolution 6 Computerised Cassegrain Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★☆☆☆

Usability:★★★★★

Cost: ★★☆☆☆

Upgradability:★★★★☆

Suitable for Kids:★★★☆☆

Celestron Nexstar Evolution 6 Computerised Cassegrain Telescope is new to this list for this year, and for a very good reason. Compared to the Nexstar SE series, the Evolution adds a boost of usability with its integrated supply that lasts up to 10 hours long and WiFi compatibility. In fact, it is the first schmidt-cassegrain telescope with full WiFi functionality to be released in Australia. Simply download the SkyPortal app on Android or iOS and control your scope using your smartphone or tablet! Astronomy is getting even easier. Available in three sizes: 6″, 8″ and 9.25″.  

Category #6 – Best Manual Telescope for Beginners

Saxon 13065EQ2 Reflector Telescope

Saxon 13065EQ2 Velocity Reflector Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★★☆☆

Usability:★★★☆☆

Cost: ★★★★☆

Upgradability:★★★★☆

Suitable for Kids:★★★☆☆

The Saxon 13065EQ2 Reflector Telescope is a great telescope for beginners with a desire to do more than just point-and-shoot observation. The Saxon 13065EQ2 Reflector Telescope’s specifications are well equipped for planetary observation as well as deep sky observation.

Also available with a motor drive and motor drive system.

Saxon 8” Dobsonian Telescope

Saxon 8" inch Dobsonian Telescope

Ease of Setup: ★★★★

Usability:★★★☆☆

Cost: ★★★★★

Upgradability:★★☆☆☆

Suitable for Kids:★★★★★

Known as the ‘Bang For Your Buck’ telescopes in our store, the Saxon 8″ Dobsonian Telescope is capable of breathtaking deep sky and planetary observation. While the dobsonian mount is simple to use, it does reduce the usability of the telescope as tracking can be frustrating if your goal is to just point and look. However, no one can deny that a brand new 8″ scope at around $500 is a bargain and as powerful as you can get without breaking the bank.

Concluding Remarks

Did your favourite telescope make the list? This year a good range of Celestron, Skywatcher and Saxon have made the list. Do you have any questions about these telescopes? Enquire now at 1300 884 763 or contact support@opticscentral.com.au. We’re here to help!

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