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Celestron 70mm Travel Scope Review – Not Recommended

The TravelScope 70 is a barely-functional astronomical telescope, a moderately useful spotting scope at best, and overall poor value for the money.

NOT included in the Ultimate Telescope Shortlist

Celestron’s Travelscope 70 is yet another example of Celestron using their brand name, reputation, and clever marketing to unload a glorified toy telescope onto buyers. The TravelScope, however, is a unique twist on those, as it is sold as both an astronomical telescope and a terrestrial/spotting scope. It is more or less a failure at both. 

The Travelscope 70 promises that for under $100 (or even under $75!), you’ll get a good refracting telescope on a good mount – with the bonus of fitting in a backpack. What Celestron has basically done is slap their name on the Barska Starwatcher 400×70 and swap in better eyepieces and a full-sized tripod. Both scopes are utter junk and we don’t recommend either.

How It Stacks Up

Ranked #13 of 27 ~$75 telescopes

Rank 1
3.7
Rank 13
Celestron Travel Scope 70
1.9

NOT included in the Ultimate Telescope Shortlist

What We Like

  • Decent eyepieces
  • Fits in a backpack
  • Works


What We Don't Like

  • Some of the worst optics I’ve seen in a refractor, ever
  • Plastic everywhere
  • Useless mount
  • Useless finder


Bottom Line
Not Recommended Telescope

With bad optics, glare problems, plastic abound, and a tripod that holds itself up about as well as a wet noodle, we simply cannot recommend the Travelscope 70 for any purpose other than terrestrial spotting – which there are much better telescopes for both around and above its price range.

Optics of TravelScope 70

The Celestron TravelScope 70 is a 70mm f/5.7 achromatic refractor. Due to this short focal ratio, the scope displays a lot of chromatic aberration (false color) on bright objects—in fact, more than it should. Celestron cheaped out big time on the objective lens, and it seems to use rather low-quality glass and be manufactured to rather poor standards. The scope struggles to deliver sharp images at 40x. The scope’s plastic dew shield is so short that it’s practically useless, and the inside of both it and the tube are shiny, causing glare and reflection problems. The tube also seems to have little, if any, internal baffling to stop glare and reflections.

How Good Are The Accessories?

The included finder is a plastic 5×24. These 5x24s have a singlet(!) plastic objective lens, an aperture stop to control the resulting aberrations that make the image unusably dim, and an eyepiece with a drinking-straw-like field of view. It is less effective than those toy pirate telescopes made for little kids. Not only is the finder useless, but it’s also completely pointless, as the scope’s wide field at low power means it doesn’t really even need a finder. It basically acts as its own finder.

The included 45-degree erecting diagonal is not only uncomfortable to use for an astronomical telescope but also extremely low in quality. The entire body and housing is plastic, as is the barrel for inserting it into the focuser drawtube. The prism seems to be plastic too.

The Travelscope 70 comes with 20mm and 10mm Kellner eyepieces, providing 20x and 40x, respectively. The construction of both is largely metal, the field of view is decent and the images reasonably sharp, although not as good as a decent Plossl or wide-field eyepiece. However, the choices in focal lengths were poor on Celestron’s part. The 20mm Kellner provides a little too much power for the scope for low-power sweeping, while the 10mm, though decent in quality, provides too much magnification for the scope’s poor-quality optics.

The Tripod

The tripod for the Travelscope 70 is little more than a dinky, mostly plastic camera tripod sold for small digital cameras and the like—hardly a mount fitting for a true astronomical telescope. It suffers from balance problems depending on where the scope is pointed at altitude, but the more serious problem is just how undersized it is. With the legs fully retracted (and thus only suitable for use on a table), it’s not the steadiest. With the legs extended, the tripod has the stability of a wet noodle and vibrates noticeably to the untrained eye, producing distractingly shaky images at even the lowest magnifications.

Alternative Recommendations

There are a few decent telescopes available at similar prices to the TravelScope 70:

  • The Zhumell Z100 and Orion SkyScanner provide significantly more aperture than the TravelScope 70, with brighter, sharper views and rock-solid, easy-to-aim mountings.
  • The Orion FunScope is another option for a bit lower of a price, but without the high-quality optics of the 100mm tabletop telescopes it’s a bit harder for us to recommend.

What can you see with the Celestron Travelscope 70?

As a spotting scope, the Celestron TravelScope 70 works. It would be okay for use at a shooting range or for casual birding. The tripod is stable enough when pointed horizontally, and the optics are sharp enough with the low-power eyepiece for the views to be of some value, and aiming the telescope by sighting down the tube works well enough.

Astronomical use is a different story. The tripod refuses to stay put when the telescope is pointed above the horizon, and it constantly tips downward or upward unless the altitude axis is locked, which then prevents any sort of fine pointing. And at 40x with the 10mm eyepiece, the image is fuzzy and glare-ridden. The Moon looks nice, Jupiter’s moons are visible, you can tell Saturn has rings and Venus has a phase, and a few of the brightest deep-sky objects are recognizable – provided you can stay pointed at them and don’t break your neck trying to view them with the erecting prism diagonal. Don’t expect much else.

Pricing and Availability

When we first reviewed Celestron TravelScope 70 back in January 2019, the price was $65. There’s a good chance you’re now looking at a higher cost due to Covid related disruptions. To know the current retail price, visit High Point Scientific (*not an affiliate link).

Performance Score Of Celestron Travel Scope 70

1.9

Quantitative measurements of how the telescope performs in various performance categories:

Optics

2/5

Focuser

2/5

Mount

2/5

Planetary

2/5

Rich Field

3/5

Accessories

3/5

Ease of Use

1/5

Portability

5/5

Value

1/5

Not Recommended Telescope

Where to Buy?

Amazon, HighPointScientific

We get no money from sales of "not recommended" telescopes from our website because we have decided not to make the aforementioned retailer links affiliate links, though we had the option to.

An amateur astronomer and telescope maker from Connecticut who has been featured on TIME Magazine, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, La Vanguardia, and The Guardian.

9 thoughts on “Celestron 70mm Travel Scope Review – Not Recommended”

  1. I bought this recently from Amazon for ten thousand Indian rupees. Had i have viewed your comments I would not have bought. Ur comments are true and factual. Even the tube plastics not debured leaving sharp protudings. Thanks for ur comment.

    Reply
  2. Imma say its a good guidescope,,i have it on my lx200 classic with no problems..some folks get spoiled i guess

    Reply
    • Yeah, but a guide scope pretty much has one singular job and doesn’t really need glare control, decent optics or much of anything

      Reply
  3. Zane Landers, Thank you so much for taking the time to review this piece of Crap Celestron telescope, your review is 100% Accurate & very true about the Junk telescope Celestron model # 21035 Travel scope. I got my on Aeroplan Miles and is a Piece of Pure JunK, exactly as you describe it. I always been fascinated with the distance stars and Planets and also terrestrial observations. Which telescope for Looking at Moons,Stars and planets,Terrestrial Observations and a good pair of Binoculars for Bird Watching would you recomend? Thanks

    Reply
  4. Dang! I just ordered this one for 50 dollars on prime day. Surely I can find some use for 50 dollars I hope? I don’t have high expectations, just looking for a cheapo to learn a few things on before I spend a lot more, which I will do at some point. The review has me thinking I should give it to my 5 year old to play with!

    Reply
  5. In these days, Celestron has launched a new exclusive telescope called “SCTW” which I guess, exactly like the Travel Scope model. Those SCTW70 or SCTW80 could be seen everywhere near China, Taiwan or South East Asia online shop, with the same focal length of 450-500 mm. And yet, not a single review about them, although I’ve seen it for a while.
    WONDer about it quality? Can any one give me some suggestion? Thanks.

    Reply
  6. I appreciate the review of this scope. I’m only here to learn the fact of this scope. I bought it a few years ago but didn’t use t much at all. For that solar eclipse in ’19 and lately i’ve had it out pretty frequently for Saturn and Jupiter. the only scope I ever had was a cheap Sears Roebucks hobby scope in the early 1970’s. Compared to that, this was AMAZING! sooooooo.

    I’ve had some decent results seeing the moons of Jupiter clearly and Saturn on display. Finally in a position to get a decent hobbyist scope in the $500 range.

    So I wanted to see what the actual focal length and specs of this Celestron was. Sad to see this was a cheap Chinese scope, but what should I have expected fro less than $50??? I’m actually surprised how much I could see with this. And a I’ll be able to use it as a daytime spotting scope, I think.

    That said, I’m about to pull the trigger on a MAK-Cass 127mm from Orion and having read this review, I have pretty high expectations of the clarity deep space bright object discovery moving forward. Hope that is true.

    Thank for your review.

    Reply
    • A Dob would be much better than the 127mm Mak for deep-sky. You will be fairly disappointed by the deep-sky views through a 5″ Mak.

      Reply

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