Sat. May 18th, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • Easy setup and accessible features make the Unistellar Odyssey Pro a great telescope for capturing galaxies and planets effortlessly.
  • The mobile app simplifies navigation and focus, offering exceptional views of celestial objects for both beginners and enthusiasts.
  • Consider travel challenges due to weight and lack of case, but overall, the Odyssey Pro is a worthwhile investment for stargazers.


Instead of blindly sticking my phone into the sky to shoot the 2024 solar eclipse, I was seated inside while the Unistellar Odessey Pro (with a solar filter) starred directly into the sun. The experience was great, but even better was the telescope’s ability to shoot galaxies, planets, and other celestial bodies from my backyard.

Unistellar Odyssey Pro telescope

Unistellar Odyssey Pro

Perfect for those seeking versatility in observing planets and deep-sky objects with a single, portable telescope. Its optimal size and weight make it easy to transport anywhere, while its automatic features eliminate the need for adjustments

Pros

  • Little to set up and configure out of the box
  • Basic features are easy to get started with
  • Exceptional views and easy to capture photos
Cons

  • Telescope and tripod could be a little heavy to travel with
  • Some app features could use polish or refinement

Price and Availability

The Odessey Pro is the higher-end version of two similar models from Unistellar. The Pro model retails for $3,999 because of its Nikon eyepiece, while the regular Odyssey model sells for $2,499. The company sells more advanced models, but the Odyssey and Odyssey Pro are the units best suited to newcomers and longtime enthusiasts.

Specifications

Weight
8.8lbs

Field of view
33.6 x 45arcmin

Focal length
320mm

Storage
64GB

Battery life
5 hours


A Premium Telescope Experience

Unistellar Odyssey Pro outsiode pointed up
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

As a technology enthusiast, I highly appreciate the simple, connected nature of the Odyssey line of telescopes. There’s an eyepiece on the Pro model, but there are almost no manual controls. It’s meant to all be automatic, even to manual coordinates that can be added in the app.

The mobile app is a critical piece of the puzzle which will move, orientate, and focus the telescope. Beyond the wireless connectivity that simplified the use, I appreciated the sleek body. Despite handling a $4,000 product, I was never really worried about accidentally grabbing a sensitive piece or fragile knob. I even consider the single power button and limited ports a net win for ease of use. I never felt overwhelmed or limited.

Yes, the price is high, but that’s more of an impedance to impulse buying, rather than bad value or anything else.


As a tangent, high-quality computers like a MacBook Pro are pricey, but people passionate about breaking into the music or YouTube industries purchase that kind of tool all the time. The Odyssey Pro is an investment but should be a consideration for dedicated enthusiasts—amateurs welcome. However, since the Odyssey model is exactly the same as the Pro model, minus the eyepiece viewing, I would recommend opting for that one, unless you need the eyepiece for a specific reason.

Photos of the Sky

No matter the cost or the features, ultimately, a product’s worth comes down to its results. Simply put, I was thrilled with the reaches of the outer space that the Odyssey Pro was able to pull down into my yard.

Without much effort, I was able to see multiple galaxies, stars, and other heavenly objects.


Just like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location with a telescope. That’s one big caveat for anyone living in a place with limited sky visibility. The earth rotates and objects in the sky have times of better and worse observance, but if your location has a small sightline to the sky, nothing can really change that. You’ll need to pack up the Odyssey Pro and head out to a better vantage point every time you want to use it.

Jupiter and a couple of other planets were blocked by neighbors’ houses during my time with the telescope, for example, so I would have needed to head to a local park. I can only imagine the kinds of imagery people living in a rural area could get.

Here are some unedited photos I was able to get from my suburban vantage point.


In the app, you can choose to have photos labeled to remember what you’re looking at in the future—you can also snap labeled and unlabeled photos simultaneously. Here are some examples of the same pictures above, labeled.

A Good, but Not Amazing App

Even though the Pro model includes an eyepiece, the whole experience of using an Odyssey telescope relies on its mobile app, available for iPhone and Android. It’s the part you interact with frequently. Once the telescope is firmly planted outside, it’s all about the software.

I was disappointed by the app a few times, but it was never serious enough to question the product’s value. Mostly, I wished certain aspects of the app were more discoverable and easier to get to.


In a few instances, I craved more control from the onscreen buttons. There didn’t seem to be a way to zoom out from an object that was being observed. Although I got a perfectly framed image of the moon partially covering the sun during the eclipse, I would have liked to zoom out farther to see more of the sky in the frame.

The area for editing the picture, by manually adjusting the brightness controls, could be finicky with me, and in my skyline views, didn’t do much. These things didn’t impede using the telescope or getting a great automatic view, but continually poking and swiping on the touchscreen to uncover the manipulation method was confusing.

Of course, the best feature of the app is the catalog of objects that the telescope can be automatically navigated to. It can be overwhelming at first, with potentially thousands of items to spy on. This is where enthusiasm for space discovery is a necessity.


Travel May be a Chore

As easy as the Odyssey Pro is to use at your house, there’s a big temptation to want to take it out on camping trips or other excursions. Keep in mind though that the telescope itself weighs 8.8 pounds and the tripod weighs another 5.5 pounds for a total somewhere in the 14-pound range. That’s not heavy per se, but it’s also not lightweight. I really wish the Odyssey Pro came with a case, even just for storage, but it doesn’t. The backpack that Unistellar sells is in the $400 range too.

All that is to say, the telescope may not be the easiest to travel with for one reason or another. Keep in mind the telescope also requires power. Its built-in battery has an advertised 5-hour battery life. That rang true in my tests. I left the telescope on for about 60 minutes during the solar eclipse, having it track it and keep it in frame the entire time which resulted in about 20% battery drain. It started at 100% and when I stopped staring at the sun, through the device, it was around 80% full.


The telescope comes with an AC power adapter with a USB-C plug on the other end, but you can use other cables or even a power bank to recharge it if you’re away from the house.

You won’t be getting a lighter tripod either since the one it uses is specially designed to house the Odyssey line of telescopes. (It’s a nice, sturdy tripod though.)

Should You Buy the Unistellar Odyssey Pro?

Eyepiece on the Unistellar Odyssey Pro
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

The Unistellar Odyssey Pro is unquestionably a great device for reaching into the heavens. It uncovered a completely new perspective for me on the twinkling lights I often take for granted. I especially enjoyed its ability to be a shared experience as multiple people peeked over my shoulder at its sights shown on my phone’s screen.


If that’s the kind of space experience you’re seeking, one that fuels discovery, then I wholeheartedly recommend the Odyssey Pro. (The regular Odyssey may make more sense for most people though.) You don’t need to be a space expert yet, but if you’re interested in becoming one, this telescope may be a way to get there.

Unistellar Odyssey Pro telescope

Unistellar Odyssey Pro

Perfect for those seeking versatility in observing planets and deep-sky objects with a single, portable telescope. Its optimal size and weight make it easy to transport anywhere, while its automatic features eliminate the need for adjustments



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By John P.

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