Review Snapshot
Pros

It's easy to use and assemble; comes with StarPointer technology.

Cons

Battery life is very short. The telescope is made out of plastic.

Verdict

It's a decent telescope that could use some improvements.

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 8 SE Telescope from Celestron
NexStar 8 SE By Celestron REVIEW
Annie Oh rates this 2.5/5
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REVIEW:NexStar-8-SE-by-Celestron

Although it isn't ideal for astrophotography, the Celestron NexStar 8 SE telescope allows people to easily view planets, stars, and other cosmic entities without much fuss or hassle.  Its also transportable: The mount is easy to move and surprisingly light, weighing in at under 35 pounds.  Unfortunately, short battery life also plagues this telescope.  Here is my review.

Pros
  • Light and easy to move
  • StarPointer technology allows you to find cosmic objects immediately
  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Not a good telescope for astrophotography
  • Short battery life

Design

Though it looks bulky, don't let appearances deceive you: This telescope is deceptively light.  Weighing in at 33 pounds, it's one of the lightest telescopes on the market; this can be mainly credited to its plastic mount and telescope cover, which keeps the telescope light and easy to maneuver.  On the downside, the plastic won't be able to hold up to as much wear and tear, so you'll need to be more careful--storing it in an optional protective case is highly recommended.

Design-wise, the NexStar 8 SE is an improvement over the NexStar 4--being both bigger and more powerful--but roughly looks the same as its smaller predecessor.  As expected, the telescope itself is thick and orange, yet easy to move; it pivots up and down on a plastic tripod, which you'll need to assemble first.  For those worried about assembly, don't be--all you need to do it attach the telescope to the tripod using three thumbscrews and you're good to go.

Overall, I wasn't pleased that this device was made out of plastic, but still remains an easy telescope to assemble and use, at least design-wise.

Features

Feature-wise, the Celestron Nexstar 8 SE doesn't contain many.  One of its major improvements comes from its lens, which now can locate up to 40,000 celestial objects in clear, but slightly fuzzy, quality, which should entertain the average user well.  It's not a good fit for budding astrophotographers, however, as the quality isn't quite crystal clear.  For better quality, upgrading to a more expensive model is a must.

For users familiar with Celestron's products, this telescope showcases another familiar feature: StarPointer, a built-in program that allows you to quickly locate nearby stars or planets in the sky by inputting a command into the telescope.  Simply input the code that corresponds to the celestial object on the side of the telescope; it quickly locates and focuses in on it.  There's a downside, however--unless you buy a better magnifying eye piece (sold separately), you probably won't see the amount of detail desired, such as Jupiter's red spot.  To see these details clearly, you'll need to invest in a 11mm Plossal eyepiece, which gives up to 200 times magnification.

"I can't stay enough good things about it," says one customer.  "Not only does it find the stars and planets for me it is also teaching me as it goes."

The Bad Stuff

Although the Celestron NexStar 8 SE is sturdily built and easily zooms in on celestial objects, it's not a long-lasting device: Battery life runs abnormally short, so if you're expecting long viewing sessions from this telescope, don't keep your hopes too high.  

"Lots of space taken up for batteries, but batteries only work for a few minutes," says one customer. "This thing eats batteries, and doesn't come with a power cord!"

On the upside, users can also use an AC adapter for telescope use, but this too is riddled with errors: Using it can throw the telescope out of equilibrium, making it hard to balance the telescope correctly.

Verdict

Although it remains an improvement over previous Celestron models, the Celestron NexStar 8 SE still has some critical issues--mainly its short, and often disappointing, battery life.  It's a good telescope, but just not designed for long-term use.  Recommendation: Get it if you must, but there are certainly better telescopes out there.
Date Reviewed: April 25, 2012, 9:07 am
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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