2 Stars By HoldMyPoodle on 2017-01-28
Coulda been a contenda...
This microscope could be exceptional, but after only short use I've discovered two pieces of production carelessness that reduce it to a toy, and one confusion or deception, I'm not sure which. The confusion/deception is the "up to 500x magnification manually" claim in the description. The dial on the microscope goes up to 200. I enlarged the picture in the manual and then every manual on the CD (it includes manuals for eight different models) and none of them show the dial going above 200. I don't want to hear about how I can use the software to zoom in or any other underhanded prevarication -- they say "manual magnification" and that means without using the software. I also don't want to hear that the dial says 200 while magnification is actually 500 -- how hard is it to relabel the dial to avoid this confusion/suspicion/annoyance/refund request? This is the fifth digital microscope I've tried and I'm out of patient with seller deception. I will say that the magnification is incredible, and focusing is very easy at the lowest resolutions, even if the scope is directly on top of your object, even if you're using it handheld. The clarity is much better than the next best scope I tried, which claimed 250x, but I don't think it magnifies twice as much. Even if it does, the plastic diffuser around the lens and LEDs prevents you from getting close enough to an object; you'd have to put it inside the diffuser, and even with the lights at their lowest setting, you get a sort of washed-out/overexposed effect. Or maybe the lens steamed up because I blocked the opening. That's a lot of words to explain that the manual says 500x but the dial says 200.
Regarding the carelessness: first is the measurement function in the software -- there's a bug in the code that forces shutdown after a minute or two. If you don't open the Measurement section it's fine, but that's half the utility of the software -- it's one of the few that promises a measurement function that works in Windows 10. It doesn't. Even without the ability to document the size of your objects, the software is pretty spiffy, but it's defeated by a manufacturing defect in the microscope itself - get to that in a second. In the main app, "Full Screen" mode doesn't increase the picture size, so you're stuck with the default, but changing the resolution changes the size of your object and, unlike other microscope apps I've tried, you can actually focus in further. (I now need new pillows, my dog will no longer be sleeping with me, and I need to bomb the house. Possibly with an incendiary bomb, not an insecticide fogger. People with bug phobias maybe shouldn't play with microscopes.) This is where the defect comes in, which is also the second piece of production carelessness referenced in my introductory whinge. The lens is very slightly tilted, so when you turn the focusing knob and the lens moves up or down, it also points in a slightly different direction as it rotates. It's not much of an issue at lower magnifications, but if you're looking at something really small, and have increased the resolution to expand it and then try to focus further, it will jump out of frame. Maybe someone with excellent spatial ability could predict which way to move the scope to find it again; I had to give up.
In summary, this microscope has excellent magnification and focus, but I can't document size or use the full magnification capability because the software and lens are flawed. Those are pretty basic elements of a digital microscope. I could maybe suck it up for a $20 scope, but this cost six times that, which makes me a little more picky.
4 Stars By Mikki on 2017-10-03