The Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope is a decent telescope for children, beginners, and the occasional telescope collector as well. The quality of the Meade telescopes is well-known, and this model is no exception, especially considering its extremely affordable price. Generally, the Meade telescope reviews you can find online agree that the scopes are more than decent to observe celestial objects, and even do some astrophotography as well, especially with the more advanced telescope models of the Meade series.
In this article, we will review the Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope, looking at its features, pros, cons, use, warranty information, accessories, and more.
What is the Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope?
This is an entry-level telescope that could have been one of the best refractor telescopes in the ultra-budget price segment, based on the quality of its optics, if it weren’t for a woefully inadequate mount and tripod. With a 70mm aperture, and several decent eyepieces, the scope is a good one for the price range, but you might find yourself having to hold it in your hands after the support breaks, which is not so convenient for an astronomer.
While many Meade 70mm Altazimuth refractor telescope reviews don’t mention any of these problems, and seem to be perfectly happy with the product, enough of them do to make the fact worrisome.
(Click image to see more pictures on Amazon)
Despite the fact that the tripod looks quite sturdy, it carries many plastic components in between, and many reviews mention that these snap off quite easily, leaving the owner with a scope that cannot be elevated.
Things are even worse when it comes to the mount, which is almost all plastic, with gears that grind down after little use, parts that just snap with no provocation, and more than one Meade 20218 NG-70SM telescope review mentioning that they received the box with parts of the mount already damaged or missing. In their defense, Meade was quick to replace those parts, but there is only so much they can do.
|29 x 11.8 x 5 inches||9.8 pounds||–||70mm||700mm||Autostar Suite|
Pros & Cons of Using the Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope
- Decent scope. The most infuriating thing about this telescope is that it could have been one of the best Meade telescopes on the market, with affordable, yet adequate optics that would have made a great gift for a beginner astronomer or a child. Not only do the two 1.25’’ eye pieces (SP9.7mm/103X and SP26mm/38X) greatly assist in astronomical observations, but with the right additions, you can up the power of this telescope by a few magnitudes.
- Good price. Not only is the Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope price quite low, but you can also find it at a discount. If you feel like the risk of having your mount or tripod break, or if you are ready to go through all the procedures of getting them replaced if they do, this is still, by any measure, a good price for this telescope.
- Low-quality mount and tripod. Some critics say that the Meade Refractor Telescope is somewhat dragged down by its mount and tripod, which are just not as good as the scope. The tripod is indeed made out of solid steel, and the Altazimuth mount is described as a great one, with slow-motion capabilities and precision rotating, yet many of the parts that make up the two are cheap, plastic pieces that may indicate why the price is so low. Besides, as every telescope owner knows, plastic parts can be sturdy and reliable; this is simply not the case here.
- Shaky focus. Focus, particularly when using the telescope at its full potential, can be shaky for quite a while.
Where to Find the Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope
You can find the NG-70SM Refractor Meade Telescope on Amazon, which offers one of the best prices on the market.
(Click image to see more pictures on Amazon)
As mentioned before, there was quite a large number of Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope owners who did not encounter the troubles that some of the unluckiest ones did. While the cheap materials that were used are surely the main reason for the faults, the lack of proper maintenance can also be one. Taking extra care of the fragile parts during use and storage could make you the lucky owner of an intact Meade 20218 telescope.
The Meade refractor telescope comes with several items of varying usefulness. First, there are the two eyepieces which contribute greatly to what makes the optical part of this instrument so good. Second, there is a Red Dot Projection Viewfinder, a decent tool in its own right, and lastly there is the DVD, which not only helps beginners figure out how to use the telescope, but contains a copy of Autostar Suite, and a Moon Chart as well.
Warranty and Guarantee Information
The warranty for the Meade 20218 NG-70SM telescope can prove very useful if you are one of the unlucky ones, being offered for 1 year, for parts and labor, and a replacement of up to $200. Reading any Meade telescope review lets you know they are quite diligent about their warranty duties, as well.
When it’s all said and done, the Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope is a decent telescope that is severely brought down by some cheap parts that may or may not break down in your case. If you feel lucky enough or determined enough, the price makes it tempting, and it might just prove a happy ending, but truth be told, there are many other telescopes, even other Meade telescopes that can do a better job for about the same money.
If you’ve ever owned such a telescope, or at least used one, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.