Top critical review
12 people found this helpful
It works, but is frustrating. Low resolution and focus difficulties make photos blurry.
on June 22, 2015
I really wanted to like this scope. I love the concept, and it seemed perfect for my use (identifying and sharing photos of insects). Plus, I was surprised to find that Plugable has terrific customer service -- can't be beat. But in the end I bought one of each versions and had to return both.
First, 3 clarifications re: confusion between models.
1) There are two models of this inexpensive digital microscope, both in one listing on Amazon. The improved 250x version can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Handheld-Microscope-10x-250x-Magnification/dp/B00XNYXQHE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435090189&sr=8-1&keywords=Plugable+digital+microscope+250x
Plugable did a great job of comparing the new and original side-by-side on their website:
On their website, Plugable compares the two models side by side, and describes in detail the improvements made in Model II (shorter, and 250x). http://plugable.com/2015/06/01/the-new-and-improved-plugable-usb2-micro-250x-digital-microscope. They seem to have addressed, at least partially, most of the design flaws of Model I. I see no reason to buy the 200x Model I
2) Beware of cheap knock offs of the original 200x version in Marketplace. I bought a "like new" one. It was a disaster, and had to be returned.
3) Since both the new and old model appear in the same listing on Amazon, so you can't tell which reviews pertain to which model.
After returning the cheap knock off of the original 200x model, I was so impressed with Plugable's customer service I decided to try the improved 250x Model. All the problems areas were improved, but not completely resolved. After trying to make it work for hours, I decided to return the 250x Model too. Here's why:
-- It works. With some fiddling I was able to generate OK photos.
-- Two levels of magnification, plus dimmable light.
-- Snap (shutter button) is very touch sensitive; an improvement over model I.
-- Price. In this price range, no digital photo microscope comes close.
-- The stage with grid is useful, and suction cut works well to hold the stand.
Cons. Unfortunately, it was just too frustrating to try to get this to work. After hours of experimentation, I reluctantly gave up, and here's why (plus some tips for workarounds):
-- Stability & focus. At high magnification, even the slightest movement throws off the focus. To keep the scope steady while focussing, you have to press it firmly onto the stage, while trying not to move anything except the focus knob.
-- Bendable stand is useless. As soon as you release it, it "rebounds" and throws off the focus. Workaround: Dump the stand, and place the scope over your specimen, flush on the stage.
-- Snap button for taking photos often simply did not work; I hand to snap photos with the software. Other times, it snapped repeated photos even when I wasn't touching it. Never could figure out why.
• Resolution – The 2 mp photo resolution is disappointing, much blurrier than even the cheap non-digital handheld scopes without cameras. In microscopy, resolution is usually more important than magnification. For example, the $12 “Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x” allows me to see, clearly and sharply, each individual hair on the leg of an ant. With the Plugable at 250x, I can see some hairs but they are blurry.
• Lighting is hard to control due to automatic adjustment by the camera. With a dark specimen against the bright white stage, there’s too much reflection off the stage, so the image is too dark. But if you try to adjust the light, the camera itself automatically “readjusts” itself, so the specimen is always either too dark or too light. Workaround: Find a hard, smooth, non-reflective black surface to place the specimen on.
• Glare – The light comes straight down, not from the side. As a result, if the specimen is at all shiny, there are spots of glare that obscures part of the specimen. Workaround: Use an exterior light source to shine in from the side.
Bottom line: Great concept. Great price. Flawed design. All the the design flaws are relatively simple to fix. Model III, if it ever comes out, could be excellent. For now, I decided to go with the $10 clip-on-to-your cellphone 60x scope for shareable photos, the Carson 60-120x Microbrite to see details, and a higher end, more stable digital microscope for more serious study.