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Celestron 70mm Travel Scope Review – Not Recommended

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. Funny enough, Meade managed to accomplish 2 out of 3 of those objectives (albeit barely) with the Infinity 70AZ – which, while not exactly my favorite telescope, is a world apart in quality from the Travelscope 70.

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, but if you must know why we hate the Travelscope 70 then read on.

How It Stacks Up

Ranked #23 of 26 ~$75 telescopes

Rank 1
Rank 23
Celestron Travel Scope 70


The 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 – I’ve had good 50mm scopes that do well at twice that magnification! Even the cheapest, wobbliest, most plasticky refractors I’ve ever looked through have had a decent objective lens – and the Travelscope 70 fails at even this.

Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope

The lens has only a single-layer coating, so between this and the crappy optical quality it loses a fair amount of light compared to even moderately more expensive refractors.

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.

The bottom of the tube has a small foot which will allow it to be

People seem to like using the Travelscope as a birding/range scope when mounted on a good photo tripod, but even at its price point there are far better options for this than the Travelscope 70.

How Good Are The Accessories?

The scope’s finder is a plastic 5×24. These 5x24s have a singlet(!) plastic objective lens, an aperture stop to control the resulting aberrations that makes 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 is 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. The construction of both is largely metal, the field of view 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 mediocre optics.

Mount Capabilities

Of all the nasty issues of the Travelscope 70, the one that plagues it the most is the mount. The mount lacks slow motion controls, for one. With a longer focal length telescope I’d probably have more to complain, but the Travelscope 70 is designed to be a rich-field sweeper used at low power.

The mount for the Travelscope 70 is little more than a dinky, mostly plastic camera tripod sold for small digital cameras and the like. It suffers from balance problems depending on where the scope is pointed in 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 already not the steadiest. With the legs extended, the tripod has the stability of a wet noodle and vibrates noticeably to the untrained eye, with distractingly shaky images at even the lowest magnifications.

Final Verdict

To summarize this review of Celestron Travel Scope 70, with bad optics, glare problems, plastic abound, and a tripod that holds itself up about as well as a wet noodle, I 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.

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.

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.


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