12 December, 2017
Discovery Smartphone Telescope: A Hands-On Review
While telescopic zoom add-ons for smartphones have been around for some time, it’s nice to see a branded one from a well-known group like the Discovery Channel. So let’s see what’s included:
In the box we have the telescope (with lens cover on each end), poseable tripod, smartphone holder for tripod, attachment clip, lens cleaning cloth and some instructions. Take a look at their promo video and then read on for our review:
It’s very easy to set up and the instructions weren’t really needed. You simply screw the telescope onto the clip, place the lens over your smartphone camera lens and that’s pretty much it! Actually, I tell a lie – I did use the instructions because the image was out of focus and I realised that the focus dial was mentioned in the instructions…
When you first put the scope in place you will notice that there’s a black circle around the image – this is a bit annoying initially as it means the image looks nothing like the one on the packaging. However, to be honest, it’s not a major issue as it’s easy enough to use the zoom on your phone enough to get rid of the black, circular borders.
The clip itself is quite strong – easy enough to add, adjust and remove – yet still stays in place during use. The parts that physically contact your phone have foam padding so there won’t be any scratches either. The tripod is adjustable and also had bendable legs so, if needed, you could wrap it around a branch or pole to hold it in place. It also has rubber feet to help keep it steady.
Once you zoom past the black border and get over the fact that you’re walking around with a very large protrusion on your phone, the overall result is positive. Here are a few photos to show the differences – normal phone camera, digital zoom on phone camera, optical zoom with Discover Smartphone Telescope.
With an RRP of £19.99 (although you can get them at Argos for just £14.99) the quality of the Discovery Smartphone Telescope is actually pretty decent. Obviously at this price point you’re not going to be anywhere near the quality from a professional zoom lens on an SLR camera, but it does do the job. The fact that it’s 10x optical zoom makes a big difference too – not many smartphones have optical zoom, instead relying on digital zoom that results in pixelated photos; Retro-gamers and Minecraft-lovers aside, no one really wants things too pixelated, do they?!
If you’re looking for a slightly different Christmas gift idea then this could be one worth looking at.