Review Snapshot
Pros

It's a good hobbyist's telescope that allows consumers to view up to 40,000 unique planets and stars.

Cons

Battery life is poor and the cost is hardly budget-friendly.

Verdict

This is a great, but costly, telescope for the star-viewing hobbyist.

Reviewed by:
Annie Oh : I am a 20-something freelance writer who specializes in technology and health re...Member Reputation 124 • 110 active Krits
Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope from Celestron
Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope Review
Annie Oh rates this 4/5
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Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope detailed information
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FULL REVIEW: Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope

Despite its sky-high price ($1,405.95), the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope makes up for it in convenience, easy portability, and a powerful lens that allows people to comfortably view planets and stars in great detail.  Though it isn't a good professional model for astrophysicists who require lengthy viewings, it should please the curious consumer.  Here is my review.

Pros
  • Easy to move and use
  • Programmed to automatically find planets and stars
  • Allows you to view nearly 40,000 space objects

Cons
  • Isn't professional grade; not designed for detailed exploration
  • Is very pricey at just over $1,400
  • Battery problems are a constant problem

Design

Designed for function instead of aesthetics, the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope is, as advertised, an easy-to-maneuver telescope, which can be moved and adjusted easily to the consumer's preference.  The telescope itself is mounted on a tripod so it can be set against any hard, level surface; the controls can be adjusted to accommodate the consumer's height.  For added organization, the telescope's main electronic buttons--it comes with a built-in "finderscope"--are tidily kept on the side of the telescope mounting.  

Unfortunately, all of these elements comes with a price: A heavier, and oftentimes bulkier telescope, weighing in at 30 pounds.  Though stronger and more able-bodied individuals won't find the weight a huge issue, younger people, say teenagers or children, may find it impossible to move around.  Overall, the telescope is finely designed, but may be just a tad too bulky and heavy.

Features

Unlike older telescopes, the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope comes fitted with a new feature: A finderscope, which quickly locates most planets or stars in the galaxy.  Curiously, this feature is also seen in Celestron's NexStar 8 telescope.  When a planet or star is typed into the telescope's button interface, located on the side of the telescope, the finderscope works quickly to aim the scope in the planet or star's location--oftentimes within minutes, according to consumers.  The scope also focuses in on the planets and stars in slightly fuzzy but clear detail; consumers should at least be able to view the basic details of each planet, such as Saturn's rings or the marbled surface of Mars.

"Overall, I am very pleased with this scope," says one customer. "And, unless you are more than casually into this hobby, I think you will be, too."

In addition to the finderscope, people who buy the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope also get a free bonus: NexRemote, computer software that allows you to control your telescope via PC.  You can also download custom star charts with additional software bundled with the telescope, which should install onto any basic PC computer.

To keep the telescope running, the Celestron either runs on battery or a local AC adapter, both of which have their flaws.  The battery may allow people to use the telescope whenever they please, but the battery life is disappointingly short, cutting away at most long star-viewing sessions.  This issue can be easily fixed by using an AC adapter instead, but this too has issues: Using this limits the telescope's range of motion.  Still, this remains the telescope's only significant issue.

Functionality

Functionally, the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope holds up well.  During star-viewing, customers reported that it stayed stable and didn't lose focus during use; even when the telescope was tapped forcefully, it regained its focus after a couple of seconds.  The telescope itself also appears to move easily without any fuss--it rarely squeaks or has any "sticky" points, making a good telescope for long-term use.

Unfortunately, the issue here once again is the telescope's battery problems.  Although the telescope is finely crafted, it's a big battery sucker, and people shouldn't expect a battery to last more than one session.  This, as you can imagine, can add up cash-wise, which is why many consumers recommend using the AC adapter instead.  

"The NexStar 6SE we used was driven off a large battery," says one customer. "And from my previous experience with the other large NexStars, I knew a fresh set of AA batteries was only good for one night of observing."

Worse yet, the telescope has no low battery indicator--instead, the telescope's precision worsens once battery life runs low.  This is hardly convenient.

Verdict

Although a string of battery and cost issues may make this telescope less appealing, it's still a great-quality telescope that will serve the star-viewing hobbyist quite well.  Its quality probably isn't ideal for serious astrophysicists, but its ease of use and design will allow consumers to view many planets and stars in sharp, smooth detail.  I highly recommend this product.
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2012, 10:48 am
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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