Product Review (submitted on March 9, 2012):
I have been involved in astronomy off and on for over 40 years and have own several scopes from 2" refractors to 14" behemoths. You can not beat this scope for ease of set up and use. It is like a "mini-dobsonian" in this respect. On the very first night I use it in earnest (night of 25th; morning of 26th December 2012), I found and looked at four of the five planets visible with the naked eye, and 16 deep space objects (14 of which were Messier). I can not remember in all my years in astronomy of finding (for myself) any where close to this number. Only at the local astronomy club's "Star Parties" looking through various telescopes the the members set up have I viewed any where close to this number of objects.
As great as it is, it does have a few problems. The biggest one this that when using the base, the scope is very top heavy when using the dew cap. The base does not have enough friction to hold the scope in place past about 30 degree from the zenith. I have corrected this problem by bolting 3 rubber washer with outside diameters of 2" to 2 1/2" (inside diameter of the top one is 1/4" the bottom two have slightly larger inside diameters). The thickness of the top washer is 1/16" and the bottom two washers are 1/8". The screw is a 1/4-20 flat head counter sinking machine screw. If you do this be careful to tighten the screw down far enough not to scratch the telescope tube (ball). I semi-permanently attached the base to a Celestron tripod that has slow motion control cables. I use the base to position the scope's altitude and the tripod head to position the azimuth. It works great. By the way the dew cap works great. the Christmas night that I used the scope the tube was covered with a thick frost while the front (corrector) plate did not frost over until about an hour or so before sunrise.
For finding and viewing deep sky objects, this scope is great given the limitations of the small aperture. For viewing the planet not so good (but then again it was designed more for deep sky). If you want a good view of the planets you will need shorter focal length eyepieces and/ or a barlow lens. The review above that complained not having much more magnification than binoculars, obviously did not have much experience with telescopes. This scope is a "richest field" instrument, meaning that it was not designed for higher magnifications, but brighter views of dimmer, but larger deep sky objects. I plan to get another one in the near future for my budding scientist grandson.
It takes less than five minutes from getting out of the garage to seeing my first object. A bit more than five minutes to put it away again.
I hope this review helps the reader to make an informed decision when selecting a telescope.