As one of the lower costing telescopes on the market, the Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope is a good way to get into the hobby without spending a ton of money. It has adequate power and should hold up enough for doing basic and midrange task concerning outer space. Buyers that want something long lasting will look at this model and not be interested, but it has a firm support base to keep from confusing would be buyers. There is a good amount of work that went into the design and the making of this telescope, and it is a solid buy for anyone that just wants to get started without a huge hassle in the making.
Available in one style, this is a small portable reflector telescope that could probably fit in a really baggy jean pocket, although that isn’t recommended. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of a really large hand, and the colors are a simple black and white with silver and black bolts. There really isn’t anything too fancy about this model and it can blend in to just about any background. Due to its type it is best used on an office desk or near a window, but in reality can be used anywhere you want.
Because of the mechanics and price it is very much a beginner telescope that won’t pose any learning issues. There are few knobs and options to play with, so there is nothing confusing about the makeup of the telescope. Since this will most likely be used inside a home, it also benefits from not having any extra mount controls or a tripod to deal with. There are no electronic pieces or mapping software, and it really is what a see is what you get item. The only really fancy thing about it is the base, and that is still considered pretty vanilla by telescope standards.
The small size has many benefits which lends itself to durability issues being nonexistent. And with the telescope already being attached to the base, there is little chance of losing a vital piece that would end up being an expensive lesson later on. This is the perfect beginner size and with the small amount of accessories included, even on the go you are unlikely to lose anything of importance with it. The telescope itself is made a nice durable material and all without sacrificing the weight of the entire product. With the base being the heaviest asset, this is a solid product from top to bottom.
Being from the FirstScope telescope line, it is made for beginners so is built with them solely in mind. It features a 76mm aperture reflector optical tube, so even with its small size packs a pretty good punch. Don’t expect to see every bit of detail on the moon, but do expect to get your money’s worth for something this small. Moving the tube is smooth and doesn’t require a lot of pulling, and even after using the motion for years it will still hold its place without getting loose. With the base being tied to the telescope that is the last thing you would want, so they did a good job with ensuring it is bolted cleanly.
It’s so small that a lot of new users may actually throw it in a backpack without any regard to its safety. The small size also means less power and less configuration, meaning you may have the weakest telescope when gathering with an astrology group. It is made for inside and outside use but the way it is built makes it more suitable for inside use. More accessories should have been included, like software for beginner astronomers. Upgrade path brings customers into a completely different line of telescopes, which will be jarring for new users. Despite being out for a while, the price is low but has not gone down as much as it should, proving that there is still demand for the product.
Not really much to speak of here, just two eyepieces and nothing more. Celestron didn’t go crazy with included accessories in order to keep the price down, but considering there are other products in their inventory that hover around the same price and include accessories, it is a bit strange that this one doesn’t get similar treatment. It could be that the build quality is superior to the other offerings, but this is very much a barebones kit for the beginning astronomer. It will be up to the person who receives the scope to do their homework on astronomy 101 and how to get started.
Even without including extra accessories, it is still a tremendous value that should not be overlooked. As nice as it would have been to have those extra accessories, on its own it is a great value that will continue to be a hot item for years to come. Durability also gets points, leaving you with a better product rather than a cheap flimsy one. It will be able to take a beating where others can’t, so that has to count for something. The value is in how powerful this little telescope is and how Celestron managed to get crisp images on something this small. It wasn’t built to be a powerhouse but it hangs in there pretty well for its size.
The lasting appeal on this product is very short, and probably has a lifespan of less than 2 years for a developing astronomer. Anyone that is interested in the hobby will find that this is not going to be a long-term solution, or even an intermediate solution for someone that is interested in the stars. It has a lot of potential to be downgraded to a secondary scope, but even then that is pushing it. Expect to get a solid 2 years out of this product and nothing more, unless the user is a hobbyist and has no plans on using it extensively. Even at its best it will miss a lot of the important things in the sky, and it does not have comet following capability.
For double the price you could get the much improved Gskyer Refractor 60mm Apeture 350mm Desktable Tripod. This is a full sized telescope that comes with a bulk of accessories and has tremendous upside value. But of course with the price being double that of the FirstScope, it has no choice but to be that. This is a nice upgrade path for someone that is coming from the FirstScope but is still in the beginner stage. The natural transition from the FirstScope to this Gskyer will help out in their growth when looking at the stars, so consider this a secondary buy after getting used to the FirstScope.
As long as buyers understand what they are getting with this telescope then it can be considered a great buy. This is a good starting point for the young star gazer that just wants to get their feet wet in the world. There are some more attractive options out on the market, but none of them will come as low in price as this FirstScope product.