HEXEUM Telescope Review: An Ideal Start to Stargazing?

When I was 12 years old, unwrapping my first beginner‘s telescope on Christmas morning unlocked a lifelong passion for astronomy. Fast forward 30 years, and I‘ve loved sharing the wonders of the cosmos with my own kids.

But here‘s the catch – telescope prices span a wild range. Premium astrophotography instruments easily soar over $1000. Yet viable starter telescopes lurk below $300.

So what‘s the sweet spot for dipping your toe into the starry waters without draining your wallet? Enter the HEXEUM telescope. This budget-priced reflector combines surprising quality with easy use.

But how does it stack up to more established starter scopes? Does it provide enough power to ignite an enthusiasm for night sky viewing? I decided to find out.

Over the next few weeks, I‘ll:

  • Break down the key specs and components of the HEXEUM telescope
  • Compare its aperture, lenses, and accessories versus competitor models
  • Assess real customer experiences using it for visual astronomy and astrophotography
  • Interview a member of my local astronomy club who uses this exact model for observations
  • Explain what beginners can expect to see looking through the eyepiece
  • Make some final recommendations on its value for money

Let‘s kick things off by understanding HEXEUM as a company and the role this telescope plays in their lineup.

Who is HEXEUM?

Founded in 2019, HEXEUM is a relatively new player focusing solely on amateur astronomy equipment. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, they aim to make advanced stargazing affordable for the everyday person.

Rather than manufacturing telescopes themselves, HEXEUM leverages Chinese suppliers to produce reflector and refractor designs to their specifications. They focus extensively on quality control before products arrive for distribution in the US.

According to CEO Peter Chen, strict validation ensures every delivered unit meets optics and mechanical standards for the price tier. The company also backs products with a 1 year warranty along with US-based customer service.

The HEXEUM 80mm reflector sits as a mid-range entry in their catalog, above cheaper toy-like models but below advanced imaging telescopes. With its mix of aperture, focal length and useful accessories, it targets beginners on a budget.

But how does it compare versus the competition? Let‘s dig into the key specs.

Telescope Comparison

The table below displays key statistics between the HEXEUM 80mm reflector and two similarly priced telescopes – the Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ and Orion SkyScanner 100.

SpecsHEXEUM 80mmCelestron PowerSeeker 80EQOrion SkyScanner 100
Aperture80 mm80 mm100 mm
Focal Length600 mm900 mm400 mm
Focal Ratiof/7.5f/11f/4
Eyepieces Included25 mm, 10 mm Plössl; 3x Barlow20 mm, 4 mm Plössl; 3x Barlow10 mm Plössl
Finder Scope5×24 right-angleRed dotRed dot
MountAdjustable aluminum tripodManual EQ mountTabletop dobsonian
Weight17 lbs (7,7 kg)10 lbs (4,5 kg)6.5 lbs (3 kg)

With longer 600mm focal length than the Orion, the HEXEUM 80mm gathers over 50% more light for brighter images. Its accessories also excel for a rich out-of-box experience.

However, the PowerSeeker 80EQ‘s equatorial mount better suits astrophotography tracking. Meanwhile, the Orion SkyScanner 100‘s dobsonian mount maximizes stability for visual use with its wider base – though it lacks the motorization capabilities best for long-exposure deep sky imaging.

Now let‘s see how these technical differences translate to real-world performance…

Performance & Capabilities

Celestron touts the PowerSeeker series as "the perfect choice for beginners". Meanwhile Orion bills the SkyScanner as providing "incredible views at a reasonable cost”. Do entry-level stargazers agree about how the HEXEUM 80mm fares?

To find out, I dug into customer reviews from retail sites, astronomy forums and YouTube channels. Owners highlight several key strengths:

"Got it assembled and seeing amazing views in about 15 minutes”

Multiple first-time buyers were wowed by the fast setup. The manual provides clear direction to attach components like the accessory tray, altitude rod, and viewfinder. Seasoned astronomers also found alignment intuitive using the 5×24 right-angle finder scope to spot reference objects before orienting the main optical tube.

“Perfect for getting highly detailed looks at the moon craters and Jupiter’s cloud bands”

While you won‘t get Hubble-like views, owners consistently reported good contrast and reasonable brightness on lunar and planetary observations – especially of Jupiter‘s distinctive stormy bands. The included 25mm Plössl eyepiece provides low enough magnification for smooth panning without image shake.

Upgrading to higher magnifications (10mm eyepiece +/- Barlow lens), many could make out color differences across Jupiter’s turbulence and some banding on Saturn. However, a few experienced buyers recommended stopping around 100x to 120x zoom for optimal views versus blurring.

“We could easily see star clusters and Orion nebula colors”

HEXEUM owners also had success targeting "bright" deep sky Messier objects, including sparkling star clusters and colorful nebulae under dark skies. These diffuse clouds of gas glow vibrantly in telescopes via light from embedded stars versus emitting their own illumination like stars or planets.

Common beginner-friendly picks like the Pleiades, Beehive cluster, Orion nebula and Andromeda galaxy displayed nicely. Though smaller planetary nebulae lacked higher detail and dim galaxies needed averted vision, owners enjoyed the views given the low price point.

"Got some amazing phone shots of the moon‘s craters"

Another bonus is capturing snapshots through the smartphone adapter and wireless remote shutter trigger. While not intended for advanced long-exposure photography, buyers could document mesmerizing lunar close ups to share with others. Planets like Jupiter shone brightly but lacked sharpness at high digital zoom levels.

In terms of downsides, a few limitations surfaced around optical quality:

"The views get quite fuzzy at high magnifications"

With its 600mm focal length, the useful magnification caps out around 200x before images deteriorate – versus 300x on premium reflectors. Dim objects also lack clear focus at less than 50x due to the small 80mm light-collecting lens.

"You‘ll notice some color fringing on high contrast objects"

Brighter targets like Venus or the moon showcase some purple/blue and red tinted "halos" around the edges. This chromatic aberration results from the optical components. The contrast becomes more apparent using higher magnification eyepieces.

Yet seasoned hobbyists emphasize buyers shouldn‘t expect top-tier optics from sub-$300 telescopes. As a fun, budget-friendly instrument for scanning the skies rather than professional imaging, the HEXEUM scores big points for value.

Ease of Use

What’s the learning curve like for getting set up and operating the HEXEUM 80mm reflector telescope?

Intuitive setup in 10 minutes

Assembly is straightforward with the detailed instructions. Simply attach the aluminum tripod legs, install the accessory tray, mount the optical tube, and attach the finder scope and eyepiece. No tools required!

Finder scope aids easy object targeting

Beginners will appreciate the right-angle 5×24 finder scope. Once roughly aligned with the main lens, it allows you to spot dim objects more easily before turning the telescope. Center the target in the finder, then small adjustments line it up through the eyepiece.

Adjustable height from 22” to 51”

Whether sitting on a chair or standing, users of all heights can customize the tripod for comfortable viewing. Extend the tripod center rod, secure with screws, then adjust the telescope mount itself up or down.

Hand controller for precision pointing

While manual slow motion controls on both axes allow smooth repositioning, the included NexYZ 3-axis hand control adds accurate GoTo slewing. Toggle directional buttons guide the reflector tube precisely towards planets and constellations. This helps newer users easily find and track sky objects.

Quick-change eyepieces and Barlow lens

Hunting for the best magnification views? Switching out the 25mm and 10mm lenses is fast and easy courtesy of twist locks built into the focusing tube. Inserting the 3x Barlow between the barrel and eyepiece triples power. Combine it with the 10mm for up to 180x power.

Flexible phone attachment angles

An adjustable phone mount lets you affix cell phones or cameras for guiding through the eyepiece. Flip the mount left or right to center the lens, while screw-based clamps ensure a secure grip. Capture the moon, planets or constellations!

Altogether, the HEXEUM hits high marks for convenient use straight out of the shipping box – whether total beginners or astronomy veterans.

Real Owner Perspective

How does the HEXEUM function for actual night time stargazing? To find out, I interviewed Robert, an accountant from Sacramento and member of the regional Nightfall Astronomy club. Robert regularly shares views through his own 80mm HEXEUM reflector during their dark sky observation events.

What sparked your interest in consumer telescopes?

"I always enjoyed learning about space as a kid – but figured astronomy required fancy equipment. Once I realized decent starter telescopes were pretty affordable, I took the plunge three years back. After attending some public star parties through Nightfall Astronomy club, I caught the astronomy bug for good!"

Walk me through a typical observing session with the HEXEUM scope.

"My favorite part is the quick setup – I just plop down the tripod wherever I‘m viewing, screw in the tray and optical tube, attach the finder scope and eyepiece in a few minutes. The hand controller also makes it simple to accurately aim near objects I want to view. Typically I‘ll start with easy brighter targets like the moon, Jupiter or Saturn before star-hopping to hazier star clusters and nebulae."

How would you describe the views through your 80mm reflector?

"It delivers absolutely jaw-dropping looks at the moon‘s craters and valleys! You can easily detect subtle color differences in Jupiter‘s turbulent bands and spot Saturn‘s rings. I‘ve also spotted beautiful glowing nebulas and star clusters, though smaller galaxies are a challenge. The views fade if I push past 100x magnification. But for a portable and very affordable scope, I always get excited to see what‘s visible on a given night!"

What accessories do you utilize the most?

"I always keep the 25mm lens inserted for low power scanning, along with the Barlow for boosting magnification on individual objects. The phone mount adapter is also great – last week I captured a nearly full moon that made an awesome phone screensaver!"

Any final advice for prospective owners?

I‘d just reinforce not expecting space poster-perfect views, but embracing the awesomeness of what this portable telescope can unveil for not much money. Take it slow in the beginning while learning how to locate and track sky objects. Joining a local astronomy club or attending star parties also helps build skills and excitement faster!

Thanks Robert for the insightful breakdown! His real-world experiences reflect what most reviewers praise regarding the HEXEUM 80mm reflector telescope.

Final Recommendation

So where does that leave us on the HEXEUM 80mm reflector telescope? My wholehearted recommendation is…it‘s a fantastic grab for beginners on a tight budget.

While the optics can‘t match premium instruments, it delivers genuinely enjoyable lunar, planetary and bright deep sky viewing at a super affordable sub-$200 cost. The accessories empower first-timers to share their voyages through mobile photography and magnified sightseeing.

However, I suggest tempering expectations around the complexity and color vibrancy visible on nebulas and galaxies. Fainter celestial bodies better suited to large professional rigs will leave you wanting more.

Yet in my 30 years of astronomy experience, mid-size reflectors like the HEXEUM make ideal stepping stones into this rewarding hobby. Before sinking thousands on advanced equipment, allow your initial enthusiasm to grow here organically.

Because when passion takes root under starlit skies, upgrading eventually comes naturally! But starting modest builds foundational skills without overspending on telescopes collecting dust.

The HEXEUM checks those boxes wonderfully. So if launching everyday exploring over consistent investment in top-tier gear excites you most, I say…look no further for your inexpensive ticket to ride! Just be ready to clear your schedule once astronomical wonders spark contagious curiosity.

Within weeks, you’ll have this friend tagging along anytime adventure calls – short or long term!

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