Most people simply don’t need to use a microscope on any kind of regular basis. If, however, you work in a field such as forensics, geology, or even medicine, you might really like to own one you can carry in your pocket.
In fact, one brilliant invention – a microscope that costs less than a dollar to produce – is now making it possible to diagnose diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria in minutes rather than weeks, potentially saving thousands of lives a month in Africa. This microscope isn’t quite that cheap, but it certainly looks a lot more professional.
An integral LED lamp provides all the illumination you’ll need to discern details at the 60x to 120x magnification this Carson product is capable of. This should be plenty for (say) a farmer who wants to identify common livestock parasites, but it won’t allow you to see most kinds of bacteria.
As you would expect from any handheld microscope, you’ll need a steady hand for best results. The sample isn’t fixed in place unless you have a firm, flat surface to use as a rest. It’s much easier to use than some of its competitors, though, with both focus and magnification being easy to adjust without taking your eye from the eyepiece. Image quality is quite good thanks to the aspheric (i.e. non-distorting) lenses.
Something we would have liked to see in this microscope is the ability to connect it to a cellphone or take photographs easily, like this borescope, but of course this would have made it much more expensive.
It’s reasonably rugged; although you won’t want to drop it too often or leave it in the rain, it will probably survive a few months in the classroom. Although it takes a while to get the hang of it, it’s also much more intuitive than a conventional microscope – along with its low price, this makes it an excellent addition to any high school laboratory.