Celestron Inspire 70AZ is not a bad telescope by any means, but its price tag is too high.
The thing is, at the beginner level of telescopes, prices change all the time. Although Inspire 70AZ has a 150$ price tag at the moment, you can find it for half the price for second hand, or some website may sell it for a lot less. So don’t rule Inspire 70AZ out. If you find it for a reasonable price, it is a great starter telescope.
If you manage to find Inspire 70 at a reasonable price, it is a great choice.
A 114mm reflector would collect %80 more light.
The optical power of Inspire 70AZ is at the lowest, acceptable level. 70mm is fairly narrow; therefore, the brightness and sharpness levels are not that impressive. This is the fundamental reason why this telescope should be priced much less.
Inspire 70AZ – Zhumell Z114
Aperture is key at the beginner level. The difference between the image qualities of Zhumell Z114 and Celestron Inspire 70AZ is vast. You can simulate the difference in the telescope simulator. The images will have almost two times the resolution, and they are being sold for the same price. The choice is a no-brainer. Just get the Zhumell.
With the optics of the Inspire 70AZ, you will be able to distinguish the Rings of Saturn from the planet, see the moon’s of Jupiter, and get a good amount of detail on the Moon.
The brightest deep space objects will be visible such as the Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula.
Due to the long optical tube, color inaccuracies are fairly low, which is appreciated.
Although the optics are low-powered, Inspire 70AZ deserves some recognition for its sturdy base and smart accessories.
The mount is mostly plastic, but that is what you should expect from a beginner refractor. Only tabletop models have rock-solid mounts with butter-smooth motions at this price range.
The handle that is built into the mount solves most problems that come with plastic parts. It enables you to move the telescope more delicately. Although it is not as precise as an equatorial mount, it provides enough precision for a 70mm telescope.
The mount doesn’t have slow-motion controls, but you wouldn’t use them a lot with a telescope this size anyway. For that reason, the mount passes the test.
The tripod is sturdy and doesn’t shake easily in the breeze. It is foldable as well. I would say it is a fairly well-built part of this telescope.
Overall the base of Inspire 70AZ is more than enough. The sturdiness is on point, and the smoothness is adequate.
The tripod is made of stainless steel.
The accessories that come with Inspire 70AZ are useful, and this is a rare aspect for most budget telescopes.
The eyepieces are the most important accessories that come with any telescope. The ones that come with Inspire 70AZ are Kellner’s, which are of acceptable quality. At this price range, Kellner eyepieces are the best you are going to find. I don’t have anything negative to say about the eyepieces.
The 10mm eyepiece provides 70x, and the 20mm eyepiece provides 35x magnification. The image quality with the 20mm eyepiece is much better than the 10mm, though the 10mm eyepiece is usable for high-magnifications. A better, mid-level quality eyepiece would vastly improve the image quality.
The red dot finder is common among budget telescopes, and it is a useful device. It is much better than plastic scopes that are there to look good. A red dot finder is easy to align and easy to look through.
The focuser is mostly plastic and is more wobbly than it should be with a budget telescope. But Inspire 70AZ is able to perform at lower powers, so the wobble is not that big of a deal.
The 90-degree diagonal is useful for terrestrial viewing. It is not usable for astronomy since it lowers the image quality.
The Lens Cap and the Red Flashlight
Celestron includes these accessories with their Inspire telescopes, and I think they should include them with their other beginner line-ups as well.
They are not high-quality material accessories. But they are smart. The red flashlight is a nice convenience for especially dark nights, and it doesn’t create any light pollution.
The lens cap serves two functions: an eyepiece holder and a smartphone adapter for amateur astrophotography. It’s just a nice device. The only problem is it doesn’t work with large smartphones, such as Note 9. But you can always borrow someone’s phone and send yourself the pictures.
Inspire 70AZ is a good refractor, but unfortunately, Celestron prices its beginner telescopes too high. I understand this decision from Celestron; a company needs to make money to expand and proceed into the future. But there are better much, much better products for the same price, such as a Zhumell Z114 or a larger refractor.
The only thing that lowers Celestron Inspire 70AZ’s rating is its price, other than that it checks all the boxes. Its lenses are coated well, its mount is sturdy and smooth enough, and the accessories that come with it are the best in its category. The build quality of the optical tube and the focuser could be a little better, but it is not bad. I recommend this telescope, but only if you find it for cheaper than its official price.
If you want to get a closer look at Inspire 70AZ, you might enjoy this gentleman’s review. His English accent is weirdly comforting.