For most people, their smartphone is also their primary camera. Even if you own something much better at taking pictures, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be willing to drag a bulky, expensive camera with you wherever you go
The main disadvantage to this is that smartphone cameras aren’t ideal, being suitable mainly for selfies and casual snapshots. While some boast amazing megapixel ratings, many have lenses with only a fixed focal distance and aperture. Software and electronic tricks can compensate for this to some extent, but this limitation is frustrating for a more experienced photographer who’s lucky enough to stumble upon the perfect shot without the equipment to take advantage of it.
This Gosky product can take much of the sting out of such a situation. With 12x (fixed) zoom and a large 55mm lens for better light gathering, its most useful feature is the clip-on phone holder that allows you to take high-quality pictures at a distance.
Unlike the rather large scopes in our review of the 12 best telescopes, this one is about the size of a flashlight, making it convenient to keep in a handbag or laptop case. It’s also (relatively) lightweight and can be used either on its own or as a smartphone lens, making it an ideal hiking accessory.
The image it delivers is very crisp, although you might not be able to use the corners when taking a photograph – it is monocular, after all; not a real camera lens. There’s also a fitting for a standard tripod, which is highly recommended if you plan to use it for photography. It’s nitrogen-filled and pretty tough, but there are also a few negative points to consider.
First, while any iPhone and most other devices should fit, it might be difficult to get it to work with the (somewhat flimsy) phone holder. Heavier phones, in particular, may pose a problem, as you will generally keep hold of the telescope and rely on the bracket to keep the phone aligned. As soon as it shifts, you have to re-adjust the focus, which makes shooting video on the go a pain.
We should remember, though, that the alternative for people interested in photography would be to buy a real camera instead of this fairly cheap add-on for a phone they already own. With this in mind, this is great value for people who want to take their pictures beyond the Instagram level.