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Showing 1-10 of 266 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 282 reviews
This little microscope works great. I used to own the entire ProScope kit which I used in honors High School Biology class. That was a great camera but when I retired a few years back I could not see having it sit around so I donated it to a school.

I have wanted another microscope over the last few years when I stumbled upon this one. I have a fair number of Plugable products in my house so when I saw they had this little scope at a very reasonable price I decided to give it a try.

Now for my little warning above. If you are a mac user the functionality that you get from the provided dvd disk is a cheap NO function app that is not worth even installing on your computer.

After looking around at Plugable's web site and various web searches I finally found the FREE software that turns this scope on FULL BLAST. You will want to go to:
download MicroCapture 1.0 for mac. I think this is a UK site.
download it and BAM you have full functions to take pictures, video, etc....
I had intended on returning it before my searching resulted in this above download.
GET this little scope....it's fun and easy to use.
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on September 2, 2013
Here are some quick facts that you might want to know about this microscope:
1. The lens is actually a type of zoom lens but not the kind you might be used to. See below for more details.
2. A significant range of the magnification settings require the object you are looking at to be inside the body of the microscope!
3. The magnification numbers assume you are using roughly a 19" diagonal 1280x1024, or 25" diagonal 1920x1080 monitor.
4. The overall image quality is very good but not perfect
5. The frame rate is 30 frames per second at 640x480 and only 5 frames per second at 1600x1280 if you use the driver they supply because it removes support for MJPEG encoding. If you don't use their driver you can get up to 15 frames per second at 1600x1280.
6. The supplied application only works with their driver installed.

Now for some details:

After ordering this on Amazon, and before even receiving it, I got an email from Plugable instructing me to download the latest software through a provided link. I think this shows a level of support you might not get from other sellers on similar items.

Other reviews have said the lens on this microscope is focusable but not a zoom lens. It appears to actually be a varifocal zoom lens with some unusual properties, some good and some not so good. There is a magnification adjustment wheel in the side of the body that is labeled with numbers that they refer to as "magnification" in the software. The wheel can be turned one full rotation. At one end of the rotation, there is an unlabeled region. From the end of this region to the other end of the rotation there are numbers from 20 through 230. Turning the wheel changes the distance from the lens to where an object will be in focus. If this were just a focusable lens, and not a zoom lens, one end of the rotation would focus very close and provide a high magnification and, as the focus is adjusted, the focus distance would increase and the magnification would decrease. That is not the case with this lens. In the unlabeled region, the focus distance goes from past infinity, where nothing at any distance is in focus, to about ⅜" from the end of the clear ring at the end of the microscope when you get to 20, the first labeled number on the wheel. As you continue to turn the wheel, the focus distance continues to decrease until you get to about 39 where the focus distance is level with the end of the clear ring. From 39 to 205, the focus point is actually inside the clear ring so what you are looking at needs to be small enough to fit into the ring and the ring cannot be detached from the rest of the unit. Over most of this range, the focus distance is between ¼" and ⅜" inside the ring. From 205 to 230, the focus distance goes from the outside surface of the ring to about .1" past the surface. If the ring could be detached or the focus didn't move so close I would have given this 5 stars. Perhaps this issue is just a sample defect in the unit I have.

The video quality is very good for a $40 device. At low light levels, there are some horizontal and vertical lines in the image that shouldn't be there in addition to random noise one would expect at low light. At normal light levels and those provided by the built in lights, the lines can't be seen and the image quality is surprisingly good. The uniformity of focus at the edges of the image isn't perfect but its very good for the price. When the center of an image of a flat object is in focus, the edges are a little out of focus but it's not bad. If you are viewing shiny objects, there is some glare from the built in LED's but you can always provide your own light from the side if this is a problem.

Without the provided software driver, the microscope appears as a standard UVC USB webcam with multiple resolutions supported. The UVC support allows the camera to be used without drivers on many devices. I tried it on my Chromebook and it works but I have no way to change resolutions. Unfortunately, the driver they ask you to install only outputs YUV data, not MJPEG. This limits the frame rate it can achieve at higher resolutions. Although it can produce 30FPS at 640x480, it can only do 5FPS at 1600x1280. With the provided driver loaded, a few additional resolutions are supported but, without their driver supported, MJPEG is supported and the frame rate at the higher resolutions goes up to 15FPS.

Under Windows, the included software requires the included driver to be loaded before you can use the microscope. The software allows you to view the video and take pictures and capture video. It should also allow you to take pictures by pressing the button on the camera but the button on mine does nothing. Presumably it is defective. You can also measure and annotate the pictures it has captured but you cannot measure things in the live video preview. The measurements are calibrated by entering the magnification setting on the zoom wheel into the application. Strangely, it only takes numbers from 1 to 220 even though the wheel goes up to 230. Unfortunately, the magnification number must be an integer and this does not allow enough resolution when measuring things at a low magnification. The software allows you to mark up the image with measurements, lines and text and then save it to a new .jpg file.
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on August 23, 2013
Very pleased with this purchase! Arrived the next day after ordering. Googled the product name, downloaded the latest driver/software from the manufacturer's website, plugged in the microscope via the USB cable, and installed the software. About one minute later I was up and running flawlessly (on a Windows 7 laptop). All the pics in this video were taken with this device, holding it in my hand (did not bother with the stand), using only ambient light and the max setting on the LED's on the scope. Low-to-medium magnification requires you to position the scope a few inches away from your subject, then adjusting the focus/zoom wheel, while for max/high magnification you should place the scope directly on/over your subject before using the fine focus wheel. For the price, I'm astounded by its capability. My kids are going to love this. Highly recommended.
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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.
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on November 9, 2014
This is a superb device, especially for under forty buck!

I primarily use it under Linux (with the program guvcview) where it has been flawless. I also tried it with Windows 7 and it worked fine, too. No issues with drivers or software, etc.

The included stand is functional, and works great for quick captures. However, for more precise work, I recommend this: http://www.amazon.com/Aven-26700-311-Microscope-Universal-Backlight/dp/B004M8SQ7A. Don't even bother using this microscope handheld, except of checking out your skin where you can press the hood firmly against it which keeps it steady relative to your target.

I have had a ton of fun with this guy. Images of my skin are disturbing (see photo of my 5 o'clock shadow)! Everyday objects take on a whole new form. Check out the photo of some foam from a Pelican camera case (open cell Polyurethane)--I didn't expect that. Or see what my cotton camo cargo shorts look like. Andrew Jackson on the US $20 was a fun target. It is great for looking at the nibs on my fountain pens. And check out the photos of the house fly! My 3-year-old loved that one.

The depth of field (DOF) is much better than I expected. When zoomed out, the focus is a little soft at the edges (see the zoomed out photo of the twenty dollar bill). However, when zoomed in, the image is respectably sharp across the whole field.

I initially bought the Celestron handheld microscope (model #44308) because it had the nifty looking stand included and it appeared to be better built by the photos, but I was disappointed with the image quality. So I returned it and gave this guy a try. The Plugable unit blew the Celestron out of the water. The optics on the Plugable are superior. They are both about the same in ease of use. The software is essentially the same.

There are so many fun things around us to look at.
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on March 17, 2015
It's rare that I'm so impressed by a product that I'm compelled to go out there and drop what I'm doing just to review it but this is one of those products.

I use this product to solder tiny surface mount parts that are about the size of a speck of dust. If you're in the industry, the size I'm soldering is 0201 which is 0.2x0.1mm. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to fit a soldering iron under the microscope without melting it. With the protective cover removed however there's roughly 2 inches (5cm) between the work surface (printed circuit board) and the microscope when zoomed in sufficiently to see these components.

A picture is worth a thousand words so here are two photos:
1) what I see on the camera screen: as you can see it is sufficiently zoomed and sufficiently clear
2) photo showing the position used for the first photo: as you can see there is 2 inches between the microscope camera and the work surface

As the title states, for $35 the performance is nearly as good as a much more expensive microscope and probably less hard on the neck too. There is one slight disadvantage and that is that (at least with my machine) there's about a half a second lag time. This means that hand to eye feedback critical in small movements is slightly retarded. If you get used to moving a little slower though it isn't a huge issue. I hope that they can reduce the delay to under 50ms.
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on February 16, 2015
Not a bad product at all. Especially when looking at jewelry markings, specimens, engravings, proof marks, coins, you name it. Beats the old jewelers loupe by a mile when at home. Makes it clear even for the elderly when images are displayed full screen, or demo for a group when projected. Easily integrated with my laptops webcam software, just select the correct device and go. Have not got the snapshot button to function so will try another type of software like VLC and see what I get. Sometimes especially on highly reflective surfaces like crystals or polished stones the LED reflection is unwanted so either backing off the object or using an alternate light source works better. I would recommend to a friend.
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on January 8, 2015
I bought this device based on a review of another user using it for soldering SMDs on circuit boards since I do cell phone repairs and that's what I was looking for. I choose a device such as this because I also use a stereo microscope to do my work but the thing that irritates me is that on some devices, it's very hard to or impossible to do a repair due to the actual unit being in the way. Either the soldering iron would hit the light ring and melt the plastic or the part is just too big to get it under the microscope.

Well, I haven't had extensive use so far with this device but I gotta admit that I am really liking it so far. Luckily you don't have to get RIGHT up to the device or part in order to see it properly. Surprisingly you can be pretty far away from the part or area you're working on and just turn the focus dial to get the picture nice.

I have so far used it to see what I'm doing when soldering on charging ports and even used it along with a projector hooked up to my laptop for training classes.

The microscope is very clear despite it's lowly advertised resolution. I had no issues seeing the area or part that I was working on. Also maneuvering the unit is pretty easy as you can tighten the clamp down to firm up or loosen it.

There is a dial in which you can control the brightness of the LED's and also a button that allows you to snap a quick picture without having to do it on your laptop.

The software that comes with it is very straight forward and very easy to figure out. You can rotate the picture up to 90 degrees at a time so it can orientate what your working on that makes it easier for you. It will not only take pictures but record video of what ever it is you're working on which is also great!

My only gripe though when working on circuit boards, is the LEDs themselves. They really light the surface up and there is a bright reflection which can make working somewhat irritating. Even with the brightness turned down, it still reflects very easily. I wish that it was a "soft" white light like the kind they use when taking pictures instead of the really bright white LEDs that they use. Luckily there is a workaround, using light tents that they use for photography so it won't reflect so easily.

So other than that, I'm really happy with the purchase and it works really good!


Edit: 1/19/15

Ok, so after using this thing for a little while to do what I originally intended, I have to change my review and rating. This may be good for other things or even some board work but it's not great for super small soldering. I'm talking about parts so small that it looks like a fleck of dust on a piece of paper.

Don't get me wrong, this thing can see the parts and the soldering points but because of the lower resolution, it makes a difference. So sadly I will be returning this unit since it doesn't serve my original purpose. Guess I need to look for something with a higher resolution.

This is sad because I had really really high hopes for this product and what I thought it could've done for me. So please keep in mind that within it's limitations, this thing is great. But when you need it for super small and detailed work, then it won't be right for you.
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on November 20, 2014
I received this item and find it a good value for the price paid.

I plan to use it to examine gun parts as well as edges of knives that are being sharpened.

An email from the seller before delivery pointed me to their site to load the latest windows drivers. Had no problems with this at all.
I've included a photo of a knife edge. You can see the grind marks and it's clear enough to see that more work needs to be done.

It would be a little nicer if their software had a way to correct color as the LEDs are a little on the blue side.

It's not good enough for professional quality, but I think it's worth the price paid.
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on January 13, 2014
Works with Windows 7 Ultimate, and in this case, is broadcast through a Dell laptop to an 82" HDTV, which would show any major deficiencies quickly. And it has some. Focus is very tight, so to see even a relatively flat object at high levels of magnification, you'll need to focus a little -- not a big deal, but the focus ring is on the device itself, and the somewhat flimsy stand means it takes a steady (probably not a young kid) hand to do a good job of real-time focusing through a 3D subject. The integrated LED was surprisingly adequate. The software is not great, but it's no worse than most proprietary installs of that kind. Recording seems to work. Haven't tried the still image feature at high resolution, but it seems that a physical button (if that's all there is... not much of a manual-reader here) might risk some blur as, again, touching a perfectly-focused and framed, at times fragile and easily-unbalanced item like this to take a precise image or to focus seems like a risk. But, a pretty small risk, and, it's fast and popular. Slides, mirrors, lack of digital outputs, and so on have made dusty relics of "real" microscopes, but this one gets used quite a bit by all members of the household.
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