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Unistellar eVscope 2 review: Stargazing made easy

Unistellar eVscope 2 review
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £3999
inc VAT

An impressive reinvention of the telescope, but hugely expensive and with some irritating flaws


  • Easy to set up
  • Makes navigating the night skies simple
  • Built-in astrophotography features


  • Awkward to focus
  • Extremely expensive

The Unistellar eVscope 2 provides an answer to some of the biggest issues faced by back-garden astronomers. Stargazing can be hard work – especially for if you’re not au-fait with the mechanics of managing a mount and telescope.

First, there’s all the hassle of setting up the tube assembly and the tripod, then you need to track down your target, fiddle with the focus and try to keep your chosen object in the eyepiece while you view. When you’re still trying to find your way around the night sky, that can be a challenge. And, much as I hate to say it, the views can sometimes be underwhelming, especially if you don’t have the time or means to make it out of town and enjoy skies fairly free of light pollution.

The eVscope 2 takes nearly all the pain away. It’s all about convenience, combining a 21st century take on the classic Newtonian reflector telescope with a motorised mount and a smartphone app to make back garden astronomy about as easy as it gets. It’s not going to be the right telescope for everyone – not least because of its stratospheric price tag – but if you have a big budget and minimal time, it could change the way you look at the cosmos.

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Unistellar eVscope 2 review: What do you get for the money?

Nearly £4,000 buys you a 114mm telescope with a 450mm focal length and a heavy-duty Unistellar tripod. The motorised mount is integrated into the optical tube assembly along with all the Wi-Fi connectivity and supporting electronics, and slots into a circular hole in the tripod plate, where it’s secured with a couple of bolts.

The tripod has two levels of extension and a built-in spirit level, making it easy to get a good, solid platform for the telescope. At a total weight of 9kg it’s fairly portable, and Unistellar even bundled in a sturdy backpack with my review kit. Disappointingly, though, this will cost you an extra £329 to buy.

The telescope itself is unusual. It works mostly like a standard Newtonian reflector, where light is gathered in a primary mirror at the base of the telescope then reflected up to a secondary mirror that sends the image to the eyepiece. However, the eVscope 2 design replaces the secondary mirror with a Sony IMX347 CMOS sensor, while the eyepiece is a tiny OLED display embedded within a custom Nikon lens assembly.

What’s more, you’ll spend most of your time with the eVscope 2 not even looking into the eyepiece. Instead, you connect the telescope via its built-in Wi-Fi to the Unistellar app on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, then use the latter to move the telescope and point it at your chosen viewing targets. Of course, you don’t need to do so manually. Just ask the app to find an object, tap a button and the telescope will find it automatically.

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Unistellar eVscope 2 review: What does it do well?

In nearly every respect, the eVscope 2 is incredibly easy to use. It configures itself automatically when you first connect, based on your location, and all you need to do is point it at a clear area of night sky, then let it work out where it’s pointing.

From there, you can select stars, planets, nebulae, clusters and other deep-sky objects from a menu of highlights, tuned to what’s going to be best and brightest at the current time, or search for specific targets. Make your selection and the app will give you basic information, and all it takes is a tap to navigate there.

Moving – or slewing –  to your targets isn’t instantaneous, and you’ll have to wait while the eVscope hops from position to position, using its internal star map to zero in on your chosen object. And once you’re there the initial view might not be instantly amazing; we’re still talking about a reflector telescope with a fairly small 114mm mirror.

Give it time, however, and the eVscope processes and enhances the image, using a sort of real-time image stacking to add contrast and detail without excessive noise. Even on the outskirts of a small town with some light pollution, I was able to get good views of clusters, nebulae and some brighter deep-sky objects; and in locations with less light pollution you can expect better still.

What’s more, the eVscope 2 makes astrophotography easy. Tap the shutter button in the app, and it will capture the current view. You can adjust the exposure time and brightness gain, and while you won’t get the kind of results experienced astrophotographers can get with a DSLR, computerised mount and some expert image-stacking and processing, the images it produces can look pretty good.

I also like the fact that, if you get serious about astronomy, the app provides tools to share observations and images with the community, and with NASA and SETI research projects.

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Unistellar eVscope 2 review: What could it do better?

For me, the biggest issue with the eVscope 2 is focus. Manual focusing using the dial at the bottom of the telescope is a fairly painful process. The focuser isn’t smooth throughout its travel, and the digital eyepiece is, in some ways, harder to focus with than a conventional, sharp optical eyepiece.

To help, Unistellar provides a Bahtinov mask inside the dust cap you can use to optimise the focus, but using this is also a faff, and not ideal for making small adjustments. I’ve used significantly cheaper telescopes where it has been easier to get a crisp, clean view, particularly when it comes to viewing planets.

What’s more, the eVscope 2 has a cheaper sibling – the Odyssey Pro – that incorporates an auto-focus mechanism. It hasn’t quite got the same power or magnification as the eVscope 2, but it’s easier to get a nice, crisp image.

I also found that the eVscope 2’s automatic gain and exposure settings can be a bit overzealous, making it tricky to get a good view of bright objects without making your own manual tweaks. To make things worse, the sliders used for doing so can be tricky to manage with cold hands on a smartphone screen.

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Unistellar eVscope 2 review: Should you buy one?

This is the tricky bit. The eVscope 2 makes back garden astronomy truly accessible to a wide range of users, and with patience and a bit of tweaking you can get some excellent views.

However, it is also wildly expensive. At £4,000 there are some fantastic alternatives – large diameter telescopes, many with their own computerised mounts. You won’t get the built-in image enhancement or astrophotography features, but the light gathering capabilities and optics will be better and telescope-mounted camera sensors aren’t too expensive these days. I haven’t seen another all-in-one solution that works as well as Unistellar’s, but you’re paying an awful lot for it.

It’s also not going to please all amateur astronomers. Many will miss the ability to quickly change views by switching eyepieces, or just the sense that you’re looking at light from distant stars through a lens in real-time, rather than a view that’s been enhanced through digital means.

If you can afford it, convenience alone makes the eVscope 2 a compelling proposition. There’s something about being able to get your telescope up and running in under ten minutes, particularly when you’re just trying to pack a quick session in on an unexpectedly clear night. But if you don’t have the budget, don’t worry – you can still enjoy the cosmos without splashing this much cash.

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