The StarScope Monocular is advertised as both a hand-held scope and incredible zoom lens for smartphones accompanied by some rather unbelievable performance claims. Krazy Ken of YouTube Channel Computer Clan first looks at the ads and dissects the promises before putting the scope to the test himself.
To say the claims put forth by the Starscope Monocular marketing team are far-fetched is a bit of an understatement. The company promises a “military grade” scope that can no only compete with the quality of modern cameras and full-size lenses, but can do so for a fraction of the price. The press release the company published in early February even claims that the “technology” inside it, namely the BAK4 Prism, is “normally found in high-end binoculars that cost around $1,000.” Considering the product is available for less than $100, that seems like a discount that is too good to be true.
In the video above, Ken breaks down a marketing video for the optic that is hilariously ridiculous at best and heinously disingenuous at worst. Though the specific video he references wasn’t available at the time of publication, a separate video found on the company’s website and Amazon listing both continue to show the lens used in ways that set unrealistically high expectations for what is essentially just a 10x monocular.
Below is a marketing video published on the company’s website.
Some of what the company promises this monocular can do are wildly inconsistent with the laws of physics. Ken goes into more detail above, but the below image should give you an idea of outrageous performance the company says the product can deliver:
The company’s depiction of its product is also confusingly inconsistent. In the video above, Ken shows a few places where the company doesn’t seem to use the same product at different points in its own marketing video, but that’s not the only place this is a problem. Even looking at the Starscope’s press release published on Global Newswire shows both this photo:
As well as this one:
Needless to say, those are not the same product. Added to that, arguably neither of these two images actually does show what the product actually looks like, which is the below (from the Starscope website):
Additionally, the video Ken examines shows zooming capability that, if you ignore the footage is most certainly from a Nikon P900 example and not shot with the Starscope, appears not to be a feature of the Starscope at all: it doesn’t have a variable zoom.
Ken spends most of the video above breaking down the false marketing claims which he clarifies are a set of hypotheses ahead of actually reviewing the unit itself. Curiously, he was unable to buy the product directly from Starscope and had to go with an Amazon listing which, according to Starscope’s own words, should be “considered illegitimate and fake by any means” if bought on eBay, Amazon, Walmart, or Best Buy. That said, the same video that leads the Starscope home page can be found on the Amazon product listing and it appears to be identical (which is more than can be said about Starscope’s own inconsistent imagery of the product).
Warning: The theme song that Starscope appears to have actually commissioned for its product (the 39-second long video on the Amazon listing) is incredibly catchy and will get stuck in your head.
Any photographer with even a little experience who would see the claims made by Starscope would likely immediately to disregard them as blatantly false advertising, but it’s important to note that inexperienced hobbyists might actually fall for what Starscope is attempting here. Luckily, Ken shows what the product can actually achieve and it’s a lot less exciting than the product’s over-the-top marketing. Hopefully potential buyers do their research before dropping $70 on this device.