Pocket microscopes – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’re short on time and you just want to find the best pocket microscope, this concise paragraph should help you get exactly the model you need. According to our findings, the Plugable USB2-MICRO-250X is the best because it’s a compact unit that won’t take too much space in your bag or backpack and will prove to be a good helper when you need it the most. This product comes with a 2-megapixel camera and has a magnification range of up to 250x. Besides, the microscope has been outfitted with a LED halo light of which the brightness can be adjusted depending on your momentary requirements. In addition to all of this, it’s worth noting that the camera driver is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac laptops and computers. If the Plugable USB2-MICRO-250X is unavailable, your second option should be the Colemeter USB Handheld Digital.
Looking for the best portable microscope? These tools have become rather popular these days as they’re compact, easy to carry around, and will assist you in tackling both amateur and professional tasks. If you’ve been trying to separate the wheat from the chaff and select the right model for what you have in mind, perhaps you ought to have a look at our step-by-step buyer’s guide. It’s packed with all the info you should bear in mind when prospecting the market for such a device.
Magnification and image quality
It stands to reason that the capabilities of even the best handheld digital microscope are limited when compared to the features of a full-size compound alternative. That’s why you need to keep your buyer’s journey as realistic as possible. There’s a high chance that you’ll come across a plethora of units of which the magnification range goes up to 250x or, if you’re lucky, up to 500x.
The fact of the matter is that the cheapest options usually don’t have high-quality optics, which is why the quality of the picture that you’ll get to lay your eyes on will decrease as the magnification increases. In short, you’ll have to have minimum expectations and try to select your preferred microscope based on the user feedback that it has received over time.
Convenience and ease of use
Albeit being portable, some devices are easier to use than others. For instance, both AmScope and Celestron make several full-size models that are smaller than others, but you’ll have a hard time transporting them to the place there their services are needed. The controls that you will be using have to be as usable as ever, in that you shouldn’t be forced to read a 500-page manual in order to learn how to make the most of the product.
Fortunately, many manufacturing brands have nowadays adapted their products to the needs of the modern consumer, in that they try to make them as simple to work with as possible.
Camera resolution and software compatibility
The greatest disadvantage of a handheld microscope is that you won’t be able to utilize it without a mobile device or laptop. The construction of such devices includes no eyepiece to speak of, which is why you’ll have to connect them to a computer using a USB or any other port. To allow you to visualize the structure of the specimens that need to be examined, these microscopes come with built-in cameras. While a 1.2-megapixel resolution is satisfactory for hobbyists and beginners, it might not be enough if you’re planning to showcase the images of your sample in a scientific paper, for example.
The second factor you need to take into account while analyzing the quality of the camera that the chosen product has been equipped with is whether its software works well for the type of computer you own. In most cases, the driver is provided in the box or at least made available on the official website of the manufacturing brand. Nonetheless, you might come to notice that few models are compatible with Mac and Linux computers and laptops strictly because the number of such users is smaller.
Will the model withstand the test of time?
Even the best handheld microscope is made of plastic components, nowadays, and so this type of build is quite common. The trouble with this kind of structure is that it rarely is long lasting. Unless you take great care of the device, you might come to damage it some way or the other. If it’s not an impossible feat, we advise you to devote some time to read several customer reviews in order to tell whether or not the product you might be eyeing is a winner in terms of durability.
Top pocket microscope reviews in 2018
Some of the best pocket microscopes we were able to stumble upon have been showcased below. These models have all acquired the widespread appreciation of the people who have purchased them, so it might be a good idea to give them a look if you haven’t made up your mind just yet.
This Plugable option has shown up on our radar because it is one of the critically acclaimed choices available for sale out there. It’s easy to use and versatile and will make a neat gift for an eager science learner.
Whether you intend to use it yourself or give it to a beginner or young student, this model can inevitably meet and even exceed your expectations.
The neat thing about the USB2-MICRO-250X is that it has a magnification range of up to 250x, which means that you won’t be forced to use it only with larger specimens.
The camera resolution is 2 megapixels, and from what we have gathered, it appears to be compatible with Linux, Mac, as well as Windows laptops and computers.
Also, this particular unit comes with an integrated light source consisting of a LED halo light of which the brightness can be customized depending on your preferences.
The microscope has built-in lighting, essential for any small, portable microscope. You can adjust the brightness levels of the LEDs. It uses a diffuser to combat glare and shed even light on the object.
It is easy to take pictures when using this microscope. It has a capacitive capture button that saves you from trouble when you need a clear shot. You can also use the software for image capture, videos or time-lapse.
The Plugable USB-MICRO-250X has superior compatibility. You can use the microscope with Windows, OSX, Linux, Chrome, and Android. The Android, of course, would need an OTG cable.
It has remarkable capabilities for the price. Many customers were pleasantly surprised as it’s hard to get such good performance and reliability for the same money.
When you adjust the focus, you can accidentally trigger the capacitive button.
Some customers are having a hard time getting a better resolution.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.95)
Colemeter USB Handheld Digital
There are several reasons you should consider this model, as well as the previously described unit.
On the one hand, this Colemeter option provides a higher magnification range, in that you’ll be able to look at your samples and increase their size by up to 500x.
This feature is downright impressive as it can be found quite rarely in many other products in the same line.
In addition to this, the Colemeter USB Handheld Digital comes with an adjustable built-in illuminator consisting of a white LED light. This way, you won’t have to use an external light source to get some brightness on your specimen.
The 2-megapixel camera resolution seems to be more than enough under most circumstances. The only drawback is that this unit does not support Mac and Linux systems, so in a sense, it is strictly intended for people who own and use a Windows computer or laptop.
This microscope has a great camera. Endowed with a Super Hi-Vision 2MP HD camera, it gives you the possibility to see the objects in great detail and take great pictures. Even more, you can store the photos directly into the device.
To ensure proper quality of the image, the Colemeter USB Handheld Digital is fitted with 8 built-in LEDs. The intensity of light can be adjusted according to your needs.
This is a great gift for kids. Considering the unit is very well adapted for work in class or for hobbyists, kids will be the first to appreciate the opportunity to explore using the device.
It comes with a metal stand. A handheld microscope is great for portability, but having a stand is really great since you can use the stage to have a better look at the objects.
It’s hard to get a focus at 500x.
Some users had difficulties in getting better resolutions for their image.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
This budget-friendly alternative should also be given some thought to as it has gathered rave reviews. The Monoprice 11613 is an easy to use USB microscope that does what it’s supposed to do and does it well.
Despite the fact that we weren’t able to find out too much about its camera resolution, it appears that the unit can be utilized for capturing video in 640 by 480 pixels VGA and stills in 1600 x 1200 pixels UXGA.
As such, it’s easy to see that the product does have several limitations, but it is, nonetheless, a bargain that’s hard to say no to.
The neat thing about the model is that it is compatible with a wide range of operating systems, Windows and Mac included. Also, the Monoprice 11613 comes with a built-in lighting system made available by four existing LEDs.
Besides, the maximum magnification is more than reasonable, what with you being capable of increasing the image of your sample by up to 250 times.
The Monoprice 11613 is really easy to use. Setup and use are intuitive and allow even users without experience to maneuver it without any problems. Even changing the power is fast and effortless.
It has a very useful stand. Other microscopes have the type of stage you would normally use in the lab, while this one is well adapted to the purpose and features an observation pad, with a measured surface.
The microscope has good compatibility with both Windows operating system and the Mac OS. in the package, buyers receive a software CD and user’s manual that facilitate installation.
It has good magnification and the ability to capture images and time lapse frames. You can even record images when the object under observation shows significant changes you wish to file.
The stand has a limited capacity to hold the microscope because it has a small suction cup.
The focus is a bit tight.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($30)
Celestron is one of the leading companies in the industry of manufacturing equipment intended for optics purposes. That’s why this product is in complete accordance with the quality standards imposed by the brand.
Despite being more than reasonably priced, the Celestron 44302 comes with a 6-LED ring illuminator, a 2-megapixel camera, as well as a magnification capability of up to 150x.
Also, the metal stand that the unit has been mounted on makes it possible for you to take crisp and clear shots of your subjects.
One of the details that sets this product aside from its competitors is that it comes with a driver with the help of which you’ll be able to perform measurements of the areas of interest on your specimens.
However, Mac users are advised that the software that they require for their computers is not provided in the package.
The microscope has a good camera. With 2MP, you can practically get everything you need. With optical zoom and software magnification, you can get some great images.
It’s a handheld microscope that you can carry with you wherever you want. The stand is small enough to be portable and the microscope itself can be held and operate with only one hand.
The press and shoot feature is cool, as the trigger button is placed at the top. By pressing the button, the images are saved on the PC.
You can take still pictures by using the adjustable metal stand we have mentioned. Keeping the device in one hand can be effective, but a stand always adds some efficiency and precision.
The illuminator uses 6 LED lights, enough to bring light on the specimens. Quality images are the result of a good camera coupled with effective lighting.
The compression takes away some of the quality given by high resolution.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.99)
Unlike some of the models we have talked about earlier on, the Shekar EN0101 is made of metal. While this detail might not be an important factor to consider, at first glance, it actually matters a lot as USB microscopes tend to heat up quickly.
What this means is that you’ll be able to utilize the device for as long as you want without having to turn it off from time to time.
The magnification ratio of this model is 10x to 200x, so in some respects, it has several limitations when compared to other alternatives.
Nonetheless, given that the software made available by the manufacturing brand is compatible with Windows, Mac, as well as Android devices, you’ll be able to look at the images of your samples even using a tablet or smartphone.
A small number of accessories can be found to be part of the deal with this option.
The device has a stylish design, with stainless steel, waterproof camera body. That is cool and good for durability at the same time. Even if you’re not going to submerge the microscope and investigate underwater, you can be sure droplets won’t damage the tool.
This instrument gives you the possibility to plugs into almost any USB device. It is compatible with tablets, PCs, laptops and Android devices, so you can feel free to use it whenever you have an electronic device at your disposal.
Thanks to the 1MP CMOS camera, you can capture great quality pictures. The maximum resolution is 1280×720 and you won’t be disappointed by the images.
The designers had the idea of bestowing the microscope with a 2 in 1 USB. It has a standard and an integrated micro USB. Instead of changing wires, you can use the same accessory.
The focus knob is attached to the camera body, and that makes the image shake every time you need to adjust it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($36.99)
Other interesting articles that might be helpful:
2) A list of the best dissecting microscopes
3) Models for SMD soldering