Meade has managed to do the impossible; create an affordable telescope that also offers top of the line performance. The optical ability, durability, and helpful features like an EQ mount make the Meade Polaris 130 EQ telescope an overall excellent choice. When combined with a high-quality set of lenses, the optical potential of the Meade is quite impressive. Stars, planets, and galaxies – no celestial object is too small or far away. The Meade does more than deliver optics. The durability is also outstanding. Several parts of the scope, including the body and frame, are constructed from steel. Even the core cables running from the mount to knobs consist of metal. Despite advertisements, the Meade Polaris telescope is suitable for beginners and intermediate users. A sturdy EQ mount and reliable red dot finder provide value for all stargazers. Meade also offers one thing many other companies cannot – affordability. Typically astronomical devices with comparable features would cost a small fortune. The reliability and optical performance make the Meade a solid contender.
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Designed with beginners in mind the Meade Polaris 130 EQ sports a simple design and interface. Many of the features available cater to newcomers and more advanced users. From the EQ mount to clear and powerful optics, this scope stands out from its competitors. The optical potential of this scope is worth the purchase alone. When paired up with the right eyepieces – watch out. In other words, any hard to see details, like the moons and rings of planets become visible. No celestial object is too distant for the Meade . Meade has also introduced a handful of helpful tools tailored towards beginners. These allow stargazers to get the most out of every session. The knobs used to adjust the RA and DEC are easy to turn, thanks to their large design. Both the equatorial mount and red dot finder help users locate and track celestial objects. The Meade also comes packaged with some helpful extras. A tripod, three different sized eyepieces, Barlow lens, instructional DVD and astronomical software all come included. At this point, the Meade sounds pretty expensive. Many first time buyers underestimate the importance of price. Quite often the final decision comes down to the price tag. Meade has created an affordable telescope without compromising quality. Devices on the market with similar specs would be double to triple the price. All in all, the Meade Polaris 130 stands as a great “beginner” telescope providing everything necessary to get started.
The Meade Polaris 130 has several issues. The first problem is the size and weight. If you’re looking for a “grab-and-go” telescope, this device probably isn’t for you. The entire package, accessories and all weighs about 30 lbs. A larger frame also adds to the problem of transportation. People who prefer to stargaze further away from home will want to look for something lighter. A major problem exists with the instructions and astronomy software. The instructions are confusing and hard to follow. Some illustrations found inside the instruction booklet do not line up with the text. Additionally, some diagrams lack the detail required to inform readers. The astronomy software only covers the basics. Field guides are a vital investment for anyone wanting to learn more about stargazing and astronomy. While the Meade offers impressive optics, some areas need improvement. Meade does provide three different eyepieces. However, only the 9mm and 26mm display a clear image. Stars and other celestial objects appear blurry when using the 6mm lenses. Buyers hoping to use the Meade for both space and on earth will be disappointed. As a refractor telescope, the Meade does not function well when it comes to anything land-based.
- Package Deal – The Meade comes with everything needed to get started. These items include; three eyepieces, a Barlow lens, tripod, and astronomy software.
- Optical Quality – The Meade offers strong visual potential. Both the 9mm and 26mm eyepieces visually capture most objects found in space.
- Beginner Friendly – An EQ mount and red dot finder help track celestial objects. Adjustment knobs are easy to locate and adjust, making it possible to get a crystal clear focus. No overly complicated features or settings.
- Price – A high-quality telescope at a reasonable price. Many companies selling similar products are far more expensive.
- Collimation – When correctly collimated, settings are nearly perfect. Images appear sharp and focused.
- Durable – The Meade has impressive durability. The scope and frame consist of steel. Most core cables consist of metal and are covered in a strong, plastic coating. Broken wires are no problem. Additionally, the heavy cast steel EQ mount is durable and stable.
- EQ Mount and Red Dot Finder – Both assist in tracking and locating celestial objects. While scanning the night skies, the EQ mount helps the Meade maintain a steady focus. The red dot finder works by producing a small red laser. Stargazers can use that laser to keep track of objects in the sky.
- Long Life Span – The outstanding optics, durability, price, and learning potential of the Meade will last for many years.
- Manual – The instructions are a problem for several reasons. One area that needs improvement is the manuals flow. Multiple sections containing illustrations and text are hard to follow, making them difficult to match up correctly. Another issue is the pictures and diagrams themselves. A lack of detail makes it challenging to learn about collimation and other essential areas properly.
- EQ Mount – Beginners may face issues when setting up the EQ mount. Additionally, the instructions do a poor job at clearly explaining how to collimate the mount. Users who have trouble may want to use a different guide.
- Astronomical Software – Basic, run of the mill software. Only provides standard astronomical information. Beginners will want to invest in a field guide or star chart.
- Size – The large and bulky size of the scope makes it a problem to transport. Weighing just below 30 pounds, the Meade is too big to be considered a “grab-and-go” telescope.
- Original Eyepieces – The 6mm eyepiece is of low quality. Both the 9mm and 26mm lenses produce decent optical power. However, buyers seeking stronger optics will want to invest in a higher quality lens set.
- Terrestrial Viewing – The Meade works well for astronomical viewing. However, the same does not apply to land. Reflecting telescopes utilize backward images. As a result, reflecting telescopes are unable to produce images that appear right side up.
- Astrophotography – Only specific camera models are compatible with the Meade .
Overall the Meade Polaris telescope displays impressive specs but does have a few flaws. Let’s start off with the good. When it comes to price Meade wins hands down, costing less than other devices. Despite the lower price, the Meade still hold its own regarding durability, performance, and functionality. Numerous companies sacrifice quality to lower costs. Not the Meade telescope. Instead of using plastic and other cheap materials, the frame, core cables, scope, and EQ mount consist of metal. Buyers should also take note of the extra accessories that come included. The lightweight mount is stable and holds well under the weight of the telescope. The scope also comes packaged with three eyepieces; 6mm, 9mm, and 26mm. Although only two out of three eyepieces work, they still provide a starting point for beginners. Next, it’s onto the functionality of the Meade . Marketed as a “beginner” telescope, Meade has done their part in incorporating several helpful features. The EQ mount and red dot finder work wonders for tracking hard to find celestial objects. The large RA and DEC adjustment knobs allow for maximum precision. The simple design makes the Meade easy and straightforward to use.
Now let’s take a look at the cons. The instruction manual and software both need work. A good set of instructions is a fundamental part of any product. Unfortunately, the Meade falls short in this area. Two problems exist with the current instructional manual. First things first, the text. Certain sections of the manual do not line up with the illustrations. Following along with these passages becomes hard to understand. Also, some diagrams lack detail, once again making following procedures a challenge. The astronomical software requires a major update. Beginners will quickly outgrow the provided learning material. Buyers looking for a portable telescope should look somewhere else. The large and heavy frame of the Meade makes it hard to transport long distances. In total, the scope weighs around 30 lbs.
Finding the perfect telescope to meet all your needs can be a challenge. However, the Meade comes in at a close second. Buyers looking for something affordable, durable, and of decent quality should consider giving the Meade Polaris 130 a try!