MaxKuei 80HD and the Phoenix 80S travel telescopes

Convenience, low cost, and good optics make for a fine pair of travel scopes.
By | Published: May 19, 2009 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
MaxKuei 80HD and the Phoenix 80S travel telescopes
The optics of the Phoenix 80S and the MaxKuei 80HD are the same. Each telescope is a 3.2-inch (80mm) f/6 achromatic refractor ideally suited for travel and quick setup.
Astronomy: William Zuback

This review, “Have lens will travel,” appeared in the March 2006 issue of Astronomy magazine

How easy a telescope is to set up usually determines how often it will be used. Two small scopes — the MaxKuei 80HD and the Phoenix 80S — make fine traveling companions. With one of these quick-setup scopes, wide-field Milky Way views are only a minute away.

Several trends exist in today’s telescope marketplace. One is the inexpensive, short-focal-length refractor. This trend began more than 15 years ago with the introduction of the Orion ShortTube 80. Today, we are seeing the next wave with the introduction of small, mid-price refractors costing between $400 and $600. Some of those upwardly mobile short-tube achromatic refractors include the Vixen 80M, the Stellarvue Nighthawk, and the Zenithstar 80 from William Optics.

Recently, I tested two other tiny titans — the MaxKuei 80HD and Phoenix 80S. Both are manufactured by ODM Engineering, a little-known company in Taiwan. (Unfortunately, as this review was going to press, the North American distributor for these scopes announced it no longer will carry them. Astronomy will notify its readers when a new distributor emerges.)

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