“We would have thought that our competitor was going to be at NASA, somewhere in the US or in China, but no, he is in Montpellier at 200 kilometers from us. It’s pretty crazy. “ These words are those of Laurent Marfisi, CEO of Unistellar, and the competitor he is talking about is Vaonis, a young company from Hérault founded by Cyril Dupuy. To find the full interview with Laurent Marfisi, go to Journal du Geek.
Behind these two French start-ups facing the sky, there is a huge market, which could eventually weigh millions of dollars. But for the moment, we are not there, and the two companies are only at the beginning of their respective adventures. While last spring we tested the Vaonis product, the Stellina, we were forced to trust the “other” French telescope firm smart: Unistellar.
The idea during this test is not to make a pure comparison between the two products. If the two products can be put back to back on many points, they are also quite different, if only by their look. If we said the Stellina was straight out of a science fiction movie, the eVscope came from the heart of a telescope enthusiast.
The product does not seek to revolutionize a form factor which has been proven since Galileo and the Unistellar bezel incorporates all the codes that one expects to see on a telescope , even smart. With its long tube and 4.5 inch mirror, the eVscope has everything it takes to offer the best possible view of the sky.
The eVscope also works in town, which is more than rare for a telescope © Unistellar
eVscope: A smart telescope, quite simply
When you unpack your eVscope box, you discover first place a backpack, worthy of an experienced hiker. Inside, 9 kilograms of French engineering await us. Neatly stored in this bag, which makes transporting the telescope child’s play, the eVscope looks great.
Once mounted on its tripod, the telescope does not only needs to be turned on to deliver its first images of the sky. As for the Stellina from Vaonis, and for all smart products of this kind, an application has been designed for use. The latter is easy to use, it allows the telescope to rotate on itself using a small joystick.
After an installation phase that never lasts more than a few minutes, the telescope knows where it is, in which direction it is oriented, and it can then go directly to a point in the sky that is interesting to observe. If the slightest Google search allows you to find an interesting spot to spend the evening, here again the eVscope does the work for you, the telescope having, in its dedicated application, a whole catalog of galaxies, nebulae and other planets ready to be observed. in the sky.
The famous nebula of ‘Orion, magnificent at the end of the year, seen with the Unistellar eVscope telescope © Unistellar x Presse Citron
Two clicks and we find ourselves in the stars
Just ask then on his application to go there with the “Go it” button and now the telescope begins to turn quietly on its tripod. Once the target is selected and locked, the images will begin to pile up on the telescope. The computer embedded in the foot of the latter will then make calculations with the shovel so that the images are superimposed and that more and more light and therefore details reach us on the screen.
If some people may find it “too easy”, thus distorting the experience of looking at the sky, the eVscope offers them a fallback solution with the “eyepiece”. This small part of the telescope allows you to see “inside”, like on a conventional telescope.
This is a real advantage of the eVscope compared to its competitor which doesn’t have that little eyelet, which puts some distance between the telescope and you. The image then seems to come from a search on the internet rather than from the telescope.
The rendering is all the more immersive with the eVscope when you observe points of the sky very bright like the Moon, or the Great Orion Nebula, which is very easy to see at this time of year. Moving towards this point, it only takes a few seconds to have strong light and color images. You can then throw your eye into the “eyepiece” and enjoy the show.
The Pleiades seen with the Unistellar eVscope telescope © Unistellar x Presse-citron
Perfect images for beginners
It’s hard to know what to expect when you start out in the world of astronomy and end up with a telescope like the eVscope. Its modest size does not make us hope for the Moon, but expectations remain high given all the capabilities of this product. We think it will surprise us, and in a way it does.
Indeed, the images are not worthy of a Google search and professional devices. Spoiler, you don’t have Hubble in your hands, that’s normal. Nevertheless, the product does the job very well, offering a very nice rendering, detailed and above all, very quickly.
After a few seconds of pause, the device manages to draw the contours of what will become a galaxy or a nebula. When we already have an image in mind of what we want to watch, it’s fascinating to see the image being built before our eyes in this way.
Note that the real plus in this kind of observations is the presence of the eyepiece. This small lens, which isn’t really a lens, allows you to have your head “in” the telescope and see the image being constructed. I find that this little device makes all the difference, it is the one that offers a “natural” rendering while taking advantage of the telescope’s ability to compile images and always have more light on its observation.
Because in astronomy, light is the sinews of war. Indeed, observing the deep sky, areas of our sky that appear black to the naked eye is a feat at all times. And the eVscope rises to the challenge perfectly. If some people may be “disappointed” by the rendering offered, expecting to end up with images worthy of NASA, I can only advise them to try to observe a nebula or a galaxy as I did with the eVscope, but with a conventional product. The difference between the two devices is beyond measure.
The triangle galaxy seen by the Unistellar teams © Unistellar
The perfect happy medium
In Regarding the rest of the use of the eVscope, I was very pleasantly surprised by the ease of use of the backpack, which allows you to take your device wherever you want. Very practical, not very bulky in the end when you know what it contains, it demonstrates what Unistellar wants to offer its customers: an experience.
The idea of Laurent Marfisi who is behind this project, it is not only to offer the best possible telescope to a niche of people in perpetual search of the best image. On the contrary, the idea is to offer a gateway to space, for as many people as possible.
By giving them a product that is easy to handle, but also a whole environment. With the eVscope nothing is complicated. Whether transporting with the bag, placing the telescope with the tripod or handling it via the application, everything is done in simplicity.
Ease of use which is however not the hallmark of conventional telescopes, which require great expertise to be handled as it should be. This is surely Unistellar’s greatest success with its product. They managed to find the perfect balance between product accessible to all, and high quality rendering.
A piece of the Moon is offered to us , at the end of the night © Presse-citron
eVscope or Stellina: the big question
The idea of this test was never to make the comparison between the Unistellar eVscope and the Stellina from Vaonis, because, although very similar, they are not, in my opinion, competing products. Indeed, I think that there are two different markets for these two products. So if you are a pure neophyte in search of sensation and the first thrills that space observation offers, then I can only advise you to turn to the Unistellar eVscope. The product is complete and thanks to its eyepiece (which is sorely lacking on the Stellina) you will be able to feel in total immersion during your observation evenings.
On the other hand if you are a star lover, always looking for the best rendering, the most beautiful image, then you have to turn to Vaonis and its products. The latter are undoubtedly less immersive than the eVscope, so I recommend them rather to amateurs who have already had a conventional telescope and who do not want to bother with calibration, and other optical adjustments at each exit.
© Lemon Squeezer
A slightly more affordable product
Another important point : the price. With an advertised price of 3799 €, Unistellar wins the tariff battle by a short leg (the Stellina is at 3999 €). If this difference of 200 € should not condition your choice, it can be an element to be taken into account in the calculation of the pros and cons.
Finally, as I had mentioned in my test on the Stellina, the biggest problem in my eyes with this telescope: it was its battery. Although the autonomy is more than correct, it was not installed internally and it was necessary to use small external batteries that were connected to the telescope.
Inconceivable thing on the eVscope which held several observations before having to go through the recharge box. The battery is for its part integrated directly into the device and it is continuously displayed on the application in order to warn us when it is necessary to stop recharging.
Our opinion on the eVscope
You will surely have understood it during this test, we have really enjoyed using the eVscope. The product offers a superb gateway to the world of stars and can very well suit a neophyte who wants to discover the sky. Note that the small explanations on each object of the sky that we want to look at are also a real plus, the application which I have spoken very little about in this test is also very well done.
It pretty much sums up my overall opinion of this product, an intelligent telescope, one of the simplest to use, which gives satisfaction very quickly and which offers very beautiful images.
If we look at the black points of this product t, we can say that unfortunately the rendering may be too accurate on certain observations. The device indeed suffers from the comparison with the Stellina which surpasses it in terms of observations and raw renderings.
But the real asset of the eVscope is not the. The product is able to impregnate us in the observation. I had been on my hunger when using the Stellina, feeling myself a spectator of an observation that does not need anyone to do this. This is not the case with the eVscope, but on the other hand the rendering seemed to me simpler than on the Vaonis product.
You therefore have to choose between an immersive experience and the most perfect experience possible with breathtaking images.
image quality 8.0/10
ease of use
value for money 9.0/01