The Unistellar eVscope 2 isn’t a conventional telescope. The second-gen reflector belongs to the nascent-but-burgeoning category of “smart” telescopes, which forgo many of the design elements of traditional scopes and replace them with more sophisticated components, such as a built-in camera system and AI-backed computer software.
Unistellar was kind enough to send us a demo unit of its latest smart scope, the eVscope 2, to play around and stargaze with for a couple of weeks. This is our review.
Right away, the first thing you’ll notice about the eVscope 2 is how good it looks. As far as telescopes go, this is a true showpiece. The gunmetal-gray-and-black tube is sleek and sophisticated and looks wonderfully futuristic atop its all-black mount and matching tripod.
One of our reviewers thought the eVscope 2 belonged on the hull of an intergalactic space cruiser. Another said it looked like the world’s coolest raygun. However you describe it, the fact remains: this is an objectively gorgeous instrument.
Gorgeous looks and solid, well-made design
Premium three-stage aluminum tripod
Nikon electronic eyepiece with micro OLED
Of course, the eVscope 2 isn’t just a pretty face. It’s also especially well made. The moment you lift the tube out of the box you can tell it is a premium product. The same can be said of the motorized mount and metal tripod.
In terms of physical dimensions, the eVscope 2 is a 4.5" (114mm) reflector with a 17.7" (450mm) focal length and fast focal ratio of f/4. It comes with a motorized alt-azimuth mount and three-stage aluminum tripod. Fully assembled, the entire unit weighs just under 20 lb.
Key Specs (OTA)
Aperture: 4.5" (114mm)
Focal Length: 17.7" (450mm)
Focal Ratio: f/3.9
Aesthetics aside, the eVscope 2’s most notable design features are its “smart” components: a built-in 7.7MP Sony CMOS image sensor and a Nikon digital eyepiece that features an integrated micro-OLED screen. The eyepiece isn’t required for viewing, but it’s a nice, albeit luxurious, touch for those in search of a more tactile experience.
Key Specs (Camera)
Image Sensor: Sony IMX347
File Format: PNG
The eVscope 2 can also come with its own premium travel backpack, which can accommodate the telescope, mount, and tripod, as well as additional accessories. While the backpack isn’t the selling point that the imaging system and eyepiece are, it’s a welcome touch and a nice backpack nonetheless, so it’s worth mentioning.
Setup and Use
Cost notwithstanding, the eVscope 2 might be the most accessible premium telescope ever made. Even those with no stargazing experience should have no problem setting the scope up and using it right away.
To mount the eVscope 2, simply slot the telescope into the top of the tripod and secure it with the two set screws. Be sure to lock the tripod legs before you mount the telescope. In our rush to use the eVscope 2 the first time, we forgot to secure one of the locks and almost had a nasty spill.
After you’ve mounted the eVscope2, you’ll need to sync it to the Unistellar app. The app supports Android, iOS, and iPadOS devices, and is easy to install—just follow the on-screen prompts. Once installed, press the lone button on eVscope 2 to power it on, let it sync to the Unistellar app, and you’re ready to go.
From here on out, almost everything will be controlled using the app. That being the case, you’ll want to make sure both the telescope and your smart device are fully charged.
It’s hard to overstate just how enjoyable it is to use the eVscope 2. Not only is it incredibly easy to operate but the ability to navigate to various local and deep-sky objects on your own—
without any prior knowledge of planetary alignment or constellations, etc.—is awe-inspiring and rewarding.
Using the app, you can manually position the telescope via the on-screen controls. Response time was quick and very smooth, and the only drawback was that live view image sometimes lagged a bit, which made it harder to focus.
However, to get the most out of your viewing experience, we recommend using the app’s Explore feature. Based on your location, date, and time of viewing, the app will suggest different objects for you to visit (galaxies, nebulae, planets). Select the object you want to look at and, like magic, the eVscope 2 will automatically reposition itself to bring that object into view.
We were also really impressed by the eVscope 2’s “Enhanced Vision” feature. Living in a big city with tons of light, the idea of using telescope always seemed far-fetched. But thanks to the magic of Enhanced Vision technology, we were able to see images that otherwise would be impossible to view because of light pollution.
In case it wasn’t clear, we absolutely love the Unistellar eVscope 2. If this is the future of telescopes, we’re very much looking forward to it. Not only is the eVscope 2 the most accessible telescope you can buy, but it is also arguably the most capable. On top of that, it looks incredible.
Of course, as with most smart telescopes, there is the question of price: the eVscope 2 isn’t cheap. But when you consider all that comes with it—the sophisticated imaging system, the Nikon eyepiece, the incredible Unistellar app—the cost seems warranted. If you’re in the market for a smart telescope and the cost isn’t out of reach, we believe the Unistellar eVscope 2 is the best smart telescope you can buy.