We love the Orion StarBlast 6i Intelliscope, our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award winner, because of its many strong capabilities. Its aperture alone is better than most beginner telescopes, and it can tell you how to find the best views, no matter the time of year. However, it doesn't come with a tripod, so you 'll need a table or some other steady surface on which to set it.
Although it is the only one of our telescopes for beginners that is not fully go-to capable, we are still quite fond of the Orion StarBlast 6i IntelliScope. The 6 is very important. That refers to the 6-inch aperture – which is a lot of light-gathering capability, especially for a starter scope.
With that much aperture, you will be able to see crisp views of the moon and planets, as well as deep-sky objects such as nebulae, galaxies and star clusters. With that much aperture, you would also be right to expect this unit to weigh more than other beginner telescopes, and it does – 23.5 pounds when fully assembled.
Your adventures with StarBlast will begin with an alignment process. Once the telescope knows where it is in the universe, it will illuminate digital arrows in your view through the eyepiece to direct you. You are the one who actually moves the telescope, but the telescope tells you where to move it. It’s like playing Marco Polo or Warmer-Cooler with the sky.
Orion has built 12 tours of the best objects to view into the system. Just tell the scope’s keypad what month you’re in, and it will push through a trip around the best that is visible in your sky. You can turn the tables on the computer too – hunt around the sky by eye until you find something interesting, push a key and the display tells you what you’re looking at.
This is the only telescope on our lineup that is not on a tripod, and that may be just right for users who prefer a tabletop configuration. Having the scope on a sturdy table can cut down on the wobble potential that you find in some tripod-mounted telescopes. But if the table wiggles – even a little bit – your images will dance like crazy.
For most beginners, this will not be as easy to use as a go-to scope, but the push-to feature will at least remove some of the mystery of the night sky, and the push-to function requires much less battery power. Some go-to telescope users will eventually want to invest in a portable power supply, but StarBlast never needs more than a 9-volt battery.
The StarBlast assembly process is not as easy as many products' in our lineup. We're not talking about rocket science or anything, but there are some fairly tiny parts and tools involved. The base comes pre-assembled, but you actually have to take a bit of it apart to add the encoders that make the push-to feature work. This assembly will take most folks quite a bit more time than the set up of our other telescopes for beginners.
However, it is still relatively compact, even when it's fully assembled, so it would be pretty easy for city dwellers to throw it in the front seat of a car and make their way to lands with less light pollution.
Orion support for this telescope, and all of its products, is helpful. So, if you do get stuck, you can always call the toll free number, e-mail customer support or jump on the live chat feature.
You won't discover planets unknown with this telescope, but you will discover a deeper passion for space. With the StarBlast 6i IntelliScope, you trade some ease of use for a large aperture. This is not a tradeoff we recommend for everyone, but this scope offers some gorgeous views. The tabletop design makes it convenient to position on a patio table on the spur of the moment, but since it is not tripod-mounted, it will require a table of some sort if you take it with you to the country for clear-sky stargazing.
The large aperture is going to bring in some great, bright views of the moon and planets, as well as deep-sky objects.
You have to move this telescope yourself to find targets.
This telescope will not move itself into position, but it will give you instructions to help you move it into position for the best targets. Once you find them, the views are nice.