on August 24, 2011
The concept of a "go nearly anywhere", portable microscope with both its own power supply, built-in LED lighting, capability to display a viewed image on both a built-in LCD and/or a connected computer, and with image capture ability via a 3MP/12MP internal camera, all for less than $100 is like the holy grail of tech gadgets. Unfortunately, until they do a little tweaking of their design and the QC program at their factory, this will remain for me in the same category of the gadgets like "X-ray glasses" that they used to advertise in comic books.
The item ships from Amazon in a "Smiley" box :) with additional standard packing, but internally is also hermetically sealed in an exceptionally rugged manufacturer's clam shell package. Said package could probably be towed underwater accross the Pacific behind a cargo ship, or alternately delivered by circus cannon from the manufacturing plant to its final destination with no further damage or harm in transit. Combined I give 10 stars for concept and packaging. HOWEVER, I don't believe most of these leave the factory in working order.
My first order was received intact in said bombproof packaging. It appeared as advertised, clean, sleek, exceptionally designed to all outward appearances. Additionally, it even had a nylon carry case. Inside the packaging was an instruction booklet that was well written and concise, explaining by words and pictures the features, options and set-up. Per instuctions, I installed the batteries, turned on the scope and quickly checked standard features like lights, focus, action, then selected set-up and made my menu choices. When finished I saved changes and exited set-up to begin my much awaited use of this dream machine. The screen went blank, and that was that. Thinking that maybe this was a reboot or restart with selected options, I turned it back on. The screen blinked, then went blank. I would like to say that that was that, but it wasn't, I tried repeatedly to "reboot" the little gem. I changed batteries, not once but twice. I reread the book until I almost had it memorized, then I gave up, repackaged it, and returned it to Amazon for a replacement, being absolutely convinced that had it worked, I would have had the self-purchased Xmas present of a lifetime.
Before the return package could cross the state border via USPS, the replacement arrived.
Like with the first package, the second scope arrived in what apppeared to be pristine condition, sealed inside its ATOMIC shell. Using a store-bought clam shell opener (same as with package #1) rather than my teeth or an ax, I opened said package, removed the scope, and having memorized the instructions from my "first" scope, set about installing the batteries. I placed them in the battery compartment, and tried to close the lid. It only partially shut(one side only), so I removed the batteries and examined the compartment and lid. It initailly appeared fine, so I reinstalled the batteries and tried again. Again it would not close properly. Taking the batteries back out and more closely examining the closer mechanism reavealed that about 1/2 of the very small catch that the compartment door had to latch and travel on was missing. That the catches and track are extremely small and very "delicate" compared with standard battery compartment latch mechanisms explained why it probably snapped off, but not where. Examination of the interior of the compartment, the table on which the scope was opened (and on which it sat), and the entire interior of the clam shell, led me to believe that it was packaged at the factory in that condition and was probably just a random manufacturing defect. A defect for sure, but totally different from #1. I therefore repackaged it, returned it to Amazon and once again requested a replacement vs. refund. (I never did get to turn it on, so I never discovered whether the scope actually worked or not, but I didn't want to mess with a product that I had to tape the battery door shut on, just to see it work. I'd do the real ops check on the "new" scope that Amazon was rushing to me once again. After all, third time's a charm.
Package #3 arrived, and the operation was worthy of CSI. The package was placed on a table with a white table cloth. The shipping material was removed and taken from the operating area. The clam shell seams were surgically opened and removed on both the top and side. The scope was gently lifted from the package and set on the cloth. The battery compartment was gingerly slid opened and----- I swore - for what I saw was an exact replica of scope #2. The compartment latched perfectly when the compartment was empty (no batteries inside) because there was no tension on the lid and the single functioning catch was sufficient to hold it closed. With batteries installed however, and kept under tension by the battery compartment springs, only one side held - and I suspect that wouldn't have been for long, given the fineness of the latch's molded catches. I returned #3 to Amazon and requested a refund.
What I saw and read of the scope impressed me. If Celestron can tighten up their QC program at the factory, checking their product better before packaging it and get the guy who designed the clam shell to redesign their battery compartment I think they'll have a winner, but I'm not buying one again until I read at least three 5-star reviews on Amazon. Instead, I'm going to see if anyone has come out with a new version of X-ray glasses!
on January 10, 2014
After reading some of the more negative reviews of this item we were hesitant to buy it. But it seemed like such a compelling product and we know the manufacturer well, so we took the plunge. There is an auto turn off setting to preserve the battery - in setup mode you can turn it off or make it longer than 1 minute before it triggers - no mystery there as some of the other reviewers were troubled by this; the battery door is fine for the purpose, just don't be rough with it and yes the battery polarity is marked on the door itself - you just have to look and not jump to the conclusion that it isn't marked; the batteries fit fine and the door wasn't broken putting them in; the images are crisp and clear and it focuses well - surprisingly well. We use it for viewing coins since my wife and I collect coins. It is fairly simple to use and intuitive - just please read the instructions before you use it - it is only a few pages of reading. A carrying case is provided.
Overall it is a wonderful instrument for the money - you just won't find anything else out there like it. And please, if you review products, for the sake of all of us who read these reviews - be fair, please read the instructions, please double check all of your factual conclusions (like the polarity isn't marked on the battery door) before you post them here. Most of the negative factual comments made in this forum were simply not true. Whether someone subjectively likes something or not is a different matter - everyone is entitled to an opinion. But please be fair about the facts - we almost didn't buy something that is truly helpful to us because some folks here misstated simple facts.
on October 17, 2011
Just got one, through a surplus site, and oddly paid $20 more... But came here after making the purchase, to see what others had to say, and what sort of deal I got. t
The case could have been a little more rugged, not something you want dropped. Probably wouldn't be a great thing, even if it was a metal case either, for the optics. The battery cover issue, turns out to be that it's not intended to be completely removed, it's hinged, and will come off if you use excessive force. I discovered this, from the experiences of the previous reviews, and very carefully opened mine, as not to break it.
The shutting off, is the power saving function. Haven't changed any settings, has given me ample time to focus and shoot a few pictures. Need to re-read the manual and see about a couple of things. Haven't tried the video mode, an SD card, or hooked up to the computer. Really just had it for only 20 minutes.
Really not quite as bad as previous reviews, should have been a little better quality, considering the company and price. It does operate smoothly, and will function as well as you'd expect. I'm not regretting this purchase, as much as I did after reading the bad reviews, little bit about the price I paid, considering the surplus site is generally cheaper than retail.
on June 29, 2013
i got it, got some batteries, and went to work. put my sd card in. took some pics of a coin, both extremely close up, 50x i assume, and about 4x. plugged the rig into my pc, it detected it, i looked at pics, said 'that's pretty nifty'.
the settings that i NEED to look at would be the auto off. when the image moves or something the timer is reset. but that doesn't seem to count when focusing. i think its on 5 seconds by default.
the resolution also.
i would like it to focus faster, and also a greater magnification. it is fine for what i need tho.
this seems to be a pretty good product. if it fails on me in the next few weeks, i will amend this review.
on May 31, 2014
I have read all the previous reviews. I believe that this product is a first-class item that really delivers on more than one level. I wish I had had something similar during the 30+ years that I taught various grade level students. This microscope is really an amazing learning experience! Once you become familiar with the proper operating procedures, the intricacies of focusing & getting the correct light levels, etc., & learn how to make videos & thumbnail, slide projections of your specimens you will wonder what you ever did without this enlightening device!!! I believe this little microscope can open up a whole new world, raise & answer many questions about seeing the everyday world, in miniature! I wish every child could get one of these before they reached 2nd-3rd grade. With this microscope, some adult instruction & supervision, every young human will gain a more enlightened vision & understanding of the everyday world around them. Mind-blowing, educational, entertaining & something on par with today's blossoming technology & will easily give facebook, & silly, time-consuming social media & senseless, violent video games a real run for their money--once the new participant sees their magnified world on a big screen t.v. monitor there won't be any stopping these young minds from making scientific discoveries of their own! GET ONE NOW--Young or Old, we are all novices in this great scientific world of technology these days. ENJOY! SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY! Open Your Mind