Celestron Travel Scope 80 Review: Could be Worse
This is a functional travel scope with well-coated lenses, but nothing more.
Celestron Travel Scope 80 is a telescope that was manufactured to be as cheap as possible. This brings with it a lot of plastic parts and low-quality optics.
Around this price range, it is really hard to find a compact telescope that is able to provide stability and optical quality. A tabletop reflector is the closest thing to perfection for 100$. But it is a tabletop after all and less convenient than a tripod telescope. Particularly if you are going to use your telescope for camping.
Celestron Travel Scope’s don’t provide the best optics for the price. But that is not what they are built for. These telescopes are made to be carried around as easily as possible, and people who use them don’t really care that much about whether there is color defects in the image or it is hard to focus at high magnifications.
The build doesn’t feel sturdy and durable.
This telescope is mainly for kids and people who like to use it for hunting or bird viewing. In short, this is not a device built specifically for astronomy. It is just a scope on a plastic tripod that is easy to carry around. That is the reason why it comes with a backpack.
The optical quality, as I’ve said before, is not that good. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a toy. The lenses are glass, and they are fully coated. The problem is the optical tube is not high quality with lots of plastic parts, and it is particularly short. This results in inevitable color defects and lowers sharpness overall.
The optics are “decent”.
You can see the Moon’s of Jupiter and Rings of Saturn as a yellow disk barely distinguishable from the planet. You won’t get much else from the Solar System. Don’t buy this telescope for planetary detail.
The Moon looks pretty good as it does with most other telescopes. This is the strongest aspect of this telescope. It is a nice device for viewing the Lunar Surface in the spur of the moment or while camping outside. Viewing the Moon is fun for kids as well.
You can get views of exceptionally bright deep space objects. But don’t expect a decent performance in this area.
The mount is the most frustrating part of this telescope. I usually don’t expect anything rock-solid with tripods or mounts at this price range. But to make the tripod fit in the backpack Celestron built in a lot of screws that create instability on all levels and the mount is plastic. The base is simply annoying.
The mount is weak but lightweight.
If a low-quality base is a sacrifice you are willing to make for a tripod that fits in a backpack, you will be OK with the mount. If not, this model is not for you.
Celestron Travel Scope 80 comes with 10mm and 20mm Kellner eyepieces. They are decent eyepieces for the price, and they come with most other beginner models.
The accessories are dreadful.
The 5×24 finder is useless. A telescope this size doesn’t even need a finder, much less a toy.
The 2x Barlow works. That is all I can say about it. For high-magnification viewing, you might as well get a good eyepiece. But that would increase the cost of the telescope.
The diagonal lowers the image quality. It is usable for daytime viewing.
The optical quality and the stability of the mount is sacrificed so that the telescope is easily carried around in a backpack.
The 5×24 finder is useless.
The reason I am giving this telescope a good rating is that it is low-priced and it comes with a backpack. I understand that some people just want to look at the Moon or view the Earth in the daytime.
Those kinds of people don’t have the time to think about whether the optics are well collimated or the focuser is well-made. They just want to use the scope from time to time and don’t care about it other than that. Or they just want to buy something for their kids, and they want something safe and easy to use, but they don’t want a toy either.
This is well-priced portability, not astronomy.
Celestron Travel Scope 80 is a strong recommendation from us for those people. Its optics are not the best they can be, and the tripod is shaky. But it is able to show what a telescope can do, and you don’t have to worry about technical, boring stuff while using it.