When it comes to the telescopes we review, our editorial board (which is comprised entirely of astronomers) make unbiased judgments. Please keep in mind that our performance rating system on this page is completely unrelated to any kind of monetary gain.
I want to like the Celestron TravelScope 70, I really do. I have had fun with it. But I just can’t recommend it to beginners for astronomy. And though I’m not an expert on daytime spotting scopes, I’d probably advise against getting one for that purpose as well. It is a nice optic ruined by poor mechanical design and accessories, and unless you’re willing to spend more time and money replacing its accessories (or if you have them already lying about, as I do), I can not recommend it.
The advertising on the box describes it as a nature observing telescope which can be used for casual astronomy. This seems to sort of explain (or disclaim) some of the... peculiarities of this instrument.
5/10: Downsides outweigh upsides
Score Breakdown (out of 5)
Moon & Planets: 3
Rich Field: 3
Ease of use: 2
Read our scoring methodology here.
I picked mine up used for $50, and I think at that price it’s just about right. But at full price? There are better options in most cases.
If you want a telescope that is small, lightweight, and very easy to use, consider the Orion SkyScanner 100 or Zhumell Z100, a 4” tabletop reflector. And at this price point, if you want to scan wide fields of view across the sky searching for bright deep-sky-objects and star fields, consider a pair of binoculars instead. A 10x50mm or 7x50mm pair of binoculars have the same overall light gathering.
If you’re already a telescope owner, this might be a good portable option for you, for the same reason as the ST80. I find the TravelScope 70 is lightweight enough that it plays much nicer on photo tripods than the ST80 that I own, and despite getting the ST80 specifically as a grab-n-go scope, I found that I would end up taking the TravelScope 70 outside instead, especially if I wanted a peek at something behind the trees, visible from a different part of my yard. It’s a bit like a ShortTube 70, in overall design and in application, and for an astro-tinkerer you may be able to fix some of its shortcomings.
But for a beginner? There are probably better options. Even Celestron’s TravelScope 80, though it has some similar bad accessories, has the beloved Synta-made ShortTube 80 optics and mechanical design, and it’s only around $20 more expensive. Meade’s AdventureScope 80 is like the TravelScope 80 but with a marginally better diagonal. (And if you’re considering getting a TS80 or AS80, why not go for the fully kitted out ST80-A or ST80-EQ?)
Just be sure, before you buy, that you’re ok with buying a telescope without a tripod or mount, because that’s effectively what you’ll be getting--the tripod must be replaced to do astronomy with it, and should probably be replaced even if you just want a daytime spotting scope. Treat it as an optical tube and eyepieces only.
Celestron Travelscope 70