Let’s start this latest guide here on Internet Eyes by asking a relatively simple question. What does hunting, golfing, fishing, birdwatching, wildlife spotting and trying to look at things in the distance all have in common? The answer is that a smartphone telescope, particularly a smartphone monocular telescope could improve your experience of all those activities.
A monocular is a kind of refracting-style telescope that’s normally used in the process of magnifying images of objects that are some distance away. It does when light is passed through several prisms and lenses. They are also very similar to binoculars but are less bulky and heavy. That essentially means you can often find a monocular telescope with a similar magnification to a pair of binoculars, but for less money too.
What’s more, monocular, by their very design, work well with smartphones. Fortunately, many of the best monoculars work well with smartphones, using a smartphone telescope adaptor. How do you know what is the best smartphone telescope for you? You check out our guide.
We’ve taken the hard work out of your search and present in this guide reviews of the best smartphone monocular telescopes. To further help you make the best choice we’ve also included a helpful buying guide that outlines what features you should be looking for and the important components and aspects of a monocular you should focus on.
First things first though, let’s get stuck into that top 10.
Best Smartphone Telescope 2019
AUCEE 12×50 Monocular Telescope for Adults with Smartphone Adaptor
First in our guide is the high-powered monocular from ACUEE. This offers a 50mm object lens diameter with a full 12x magnification, providing you with a bright and crystal-clear image. It also boasts a wide field of view of over 211-feet. So, it’s perfect for any application, whether its part of your sightseeing, camping, hiking, birdwatching or even hunting.
Its multi-coated lens and BAK-4 prism makes it one of the market leaders with exceptional brightness and light transmission at a maximum of 99.5%. Although you can’t use it to see things in complete darkness, it does have a lower-light night vision option. That’s not all because it is fully designed with shockproof, dustproof, fog proof and waterproof properties, which are enhanced by the O-ring sealed optics and the lens dust cover incorporated into its design.
As is the point of our guide, the AUCEE can be connected to your phone via the smartphone and tripod adaptor and will work with most modern smartphone brands and models. When you purchase the monocular, you also get a cloth bag to keep it in, a hand strap, the user’s instruction manual and a cleaning cloth, along with a 12-month warranty.
DFlamepower 10×42 HD Monocular with Full Optical Prism and Dual Focus Telescope
Next up we have this very affordable option from the company DFlamepower. This provides ever so slightly lower magnification at just 10x, and a slightly smaller object lens of just 42mm. However, it is still capable of images with a field of view of 128-feet and 16-megapixels. Similarly, to the above, it does feature a moderate night vision option, but this will not work effectively enough to capture images in pitch-black conditions.
DFlamepower have taken glasses wearers into consideration with the design of their smartphone telescope by making the eye cup adjustable. Whether you wear glasses or not, you are able to adjust how it sits against your face with either a simple twist up or downwards. This monocular also has a multi-coated lens and BAK-4 prisms and can achieve light transmittance as high as 99.5%.
With two ways to focus, a one-hand operation focus wheel and anti-drop hand strap, this waterproof monocular is a pleasant addition to your smartphone setup that will enable you to get the best out of a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Unihoh 12×50 High-Power Monocular with Smartphone Tripod and Mount Adaptor
This monocular from Unihoh is very similar to the first we reviewed from AUCEE. As it has the same object lens diameter and magnification. This in combination with the almost standard for modern monoculars of multi-coated lens and huge BAK-4 prism lens, allows more light to transmit through the whole spectrum producing more vivid images with deeper clarity in different colours.
Despite its diminutive and compact nature, it’s been built to handle a lot of rough and tumble. Shock, dust and waterproof, it has rubber armouring that also provides it with something reliable to grip onto when you’re using it. Much like the DFlamepower model, the Unihoh model has adjustable eyecups for a supremely comfortable user experience and its 20mm wide-angle lens provides a field of view that’s generously wide and ideal for helping you to setup those marvellous shots and to see exactly what’s going on ahead of you, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
SGODDE 12×15 Monocular Smartphone Telescope
Following in the Unihoh and AUCEE models footsteps, this option from SGODDE, this super-clear smartphone-connectable high-powered monocular provides you with a 50mm lens and 12x magnification for great images. You get the benefit of a generous 430-feet field of vision, which is more than enough to enjoy scenery, wildlife or to help with playing golf, climbing, hiking or even hunting.
Th phone adaptor is compatible with more modern phones including various Sony, LG, Galaxy and Apple products and many more. As you’d expect, it features a multi-coated lens and BAK-4 prism lens to make those colours really pop out from the screen, whether you use it as just a live telescope or to take photos or record video.
Adjustable eyecups and one-hand focusing with the centre-focus knob, make this extremely user-friendly. Its portability, along with its solid, shock, fog and water-resistant design make this worth the risk considering its low-ticket price. Its completed by a nicely textured rubber armoury that gives you greater peace of mind when holding it that it won’t slip or fall from your hands.
Zenoplige 12×50 Smartphone-Compatible Monocular Telescope
Another monocular, another similar product. But, wait, although this does have the same object lens diameter of 50mm and the same level of magnification of 10x as others in our guide, as well as BAK-4 prism, there is something that sets this model apart from others.
It features four unique functionalities. So, as well as being a monocular, it also provides you with lighting, laser and compass functions. This makes it great for night illumination when necessary, aiming at targets during the darker conditions at the end and start of the day and for judging the distances of objects and targets.
It’s pretty much business as usual in other areas of this smartphone-compatible telescope. As well as being built to protect against most weather conditions, dust, fogging and shock, the eyepiece and lens also have their own individual covers or additional protection.
Evershop Monocular Telescope
Although this is also available in the lower priced 10x magnification option, we’ve chosen the 12x magnification model as it will sit better alongside the other models in our guide. You know the drill by now, it’s got a 50mm lens, BAK-4 prism and a the lens itself benefits from multi-coatings that all work to provide not just a clearer and crisper image, whether it’s a live one you are after or recordings and photographs, but also with true to life colours that will dazzle you.
It is important to point out that the 12x magnification is a fixed level and not adjustable. With the use of the smartphone adaptor, you still have a very versatile piece of kit in this Evershop Monocular Telescope. Will work well with most models of phone, including Huawei, Samsung and Apple and is built top protect against all kinds of outside elements such as the weather, dust and shock. Another great option, for another great price.
Gosky 12×55 HD Monocular Telescope with Quick Smartphone Holder
Okay, so this is a little of a jump in price compared to others in our guide. However, it’s with good reason. Because, although it still features the standard of 12x magnification, it has a slightly larger and wider lens diameter of 55mm. This means that for a bit more money, you can benefit from greater visibility, regardless of whether you are using it while camping, bird and wildlife watching, hunting or mountaineering. It also means you’ll be able to see more and have a better handle on your shots when playing golf.
The wider lens allows a greater amount of light in too, so not only is the field of vision improved, but so too is the clarity and how true to life the colours of objects in the screen are. In addition to these features, the twist-up eyecup design that you’ve come to expect from other models is present, and with a sealed design and 100% nitrogen filled lens compartment, this monocular is protected against debris, dust, moisture, rain, fog and shock.
Mijiawatch Monocular Telescope 40×60 Dual Focus
Okay, so this is an interesting one. After so many with 12×50 as the standard offering, this offers 40×60, that is 40x magnification and 60mm objective lens. It still benefits from the BAK-4 prism lens with their all-optical FMC broadband green film that provides exceptionally high light transmittance of 99.5%. Due to the magnification and wide-angle lens though, this offers an impressive field of vision and high-quality focusing which provides you with some stunning images to work with.
Whether you are using those images for spotting or to take superb, professional-quality snaps or videos, the choice is yours. As is standard with many of these devices, you get a tripod and smartphone holder that can help turn your smartphone and its okay camera into something more sophisticated.
As you’d expect, it’s a completely sealed affair with fog, water, dirt and debris proofing to protect the delicate parts and give you a great return on the small investment it costs to buy this piece of kit.
AECCN Monocular Telescope with Smartphone Mount
The final product in our guide is another 12x magnification and 50mm wide objective lens, for a very similar price to the others in our guide. FMC coated optical lens and BAK-4, as ever, are utilised by this monocular, as is adjustable eyecups which makes it easier and more comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
Really, with so many products very similar in features and specification, it will come down to personal choice. We really like that this offers O-ring sealing and nitrogen-filled compartments to ensure its as waterproof as it should be. The multi-function bracket that can be used to attach it to your phone is designed to reduce the amount of shake that occurs when you are trying to take pictures with your phone.
With the impressive field of vision and focus, you can take some very professional-quality photographs and videos with this monocular. But, even if you are just wanting to use it as a wildlife spotter or for hunting or golfing purposes, it will perform well in those respects too.
Best Smartphone Telescope – Buyer’s Guide
Now we’ve looked at our choices for the top 9 monoculars and telescopes with smartphone compatibility on the market right now, it’s time to provide further help for you in your search for the best option for your own needs. We are going to do that in this handy and practical buyer’s guide.
As we know many of you, even those interested in using such a device, will be unfamiliar with a lot of the terminology and components of a monocular telescope, we are going to discuss these in a bit more detail.
Features That Are Important
Perhaps the first and most important feature of a monocular telescope is its size. This is indicated by two numbers, the magnification power and the objective/front legs size. While it’s true that the magnification power rating is ultimately very important, this is something people focus on way too much and neglect the lens size. Let’s take each of them separately to understand them better.
Now, the magnification power is why you are probably looking at monoculars in the first place. You want to be able to see things that are in the distance up close and in front of you, don’t you? What’s more, you want them to be as clear as they would be if they were just a few feet away from you.
The range of magnification power available for most monoculars is somewhere between 4 to 25 and is always represented in numerical form, like 10x or 12x.
You need to remember when considering the magnification power, that as that number increasers, the field of view you have shrinks. While you can offset this ever so slightly by using a wider lens, lenses with higher zoom capabilities will always have narrower field of views than those with lower zoom capabilities.
Another consideration to keep in mind with regards to magnification power is that the higher power rating means a higher ticket price. Any that claim to have a higher than expected magnification power for a low price, are probably cheap for a reason and should be avoided.
Even if it’s not entirely noticeable at first, you should know that lots of manufacturers often sacrifice other qualities when they are trying to make their monoculars have higher magnification power. So always make sure the monocular you are looking to buy meets your needs and has the ratings you’d expect.
Objective/Front Lens Size
When it comes to the objective lens size, the rule is, the bigger the lens, the more light can be gathered in by it. Which in turn means the higher quality and clear images are possible when using higher zoom levels. On the other end of the scale, it also means the visibility is better during dusk and dawn.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that you should always go for the monocular with the widest and biggest objective lens possible, because although the quality will be better, other aspects are also affected. Monoculars with larger lenses tend to be heavier and bigger to compensate for that component. This makes them much harder to handle and if you are looking specifically for a very portable and compact option, then the largest lens you can possibly afford isn’t always a good choice.
Field of Vision/View
Another feature of monoculars that’s important is the field of view or FOV. You will notice this is mentioned in the description for most monoculars and other pieces of viewing and photography equipment. It refers to the image diameter of what you can see downrange.
As we’ve already noted, when you increase the magnification power, the field of view is reduced. To counter this, the way the monocular has been constructed, the size of the lens and the prism-type can all have an effect. There is no escaping the fact that higher priced lenses capable of greater zooms will have much better fields of view at those higher zoom settings than the less expensive models.
Coatings for the Lens
You will find that many optics feature a lens coating of some kind. To simplify things a little, the best lens coatings will often be able to reduce or even stop fogging, improve the image visibility and shed water. There are different levels of lens coating to consider ranging from a simple layer of coating to a multi-layered coating.
Prisms are part of what makes a monocular work the way they work. The three different types of prisms you are likely to come across include:
- Roof prisms, which are often found in high power models and ideal for longer ranges
- Galilean are best at closer range
- Porro prisms are the best for close and mid ranges.
So, now you know what to look for when looking at the best smartphone telescopes and smartphone monoculars. You know what our favourite products are and have the lowdown on the features that are most important. The only thing that’s left to do, is get that monocular and transform your smartphone into more professional spotting scope or camera.