So why are Gskyer telescopes best sellers on Amazon? Does anyone know? Are they really good? Do they provide great bang for your buck? I think I know the answers so let’s dig in and find out.
Let’s start by looking at the fact that, as shown in the image above, Gskyer telescopes are selling very well on Amazon. While the placement may change, they are always in the top. You can click on the image above to see the current rankings. And look at those reviews! 4.3 stars, 4.5 stars, and another 4.5 stars, they must be awesome! Or maybe not.
Why does it matter if Gskyer telescopes are at the top? I mean if it gets people into astronomy, isn’t that a good thing? Yes and no.
The history behind Gskyer telescopes
Many years back, Gskyer was the name of a German optics company that made some pretty good products. As things changed they fell on hard times and wound up closing up shop. I can’t find a lot of good information on the German Gskyer telescopes so I can not be any more specific, sorry.
The point is that they were pretty good, and pretty well known, but closed up shop. When that happened the name went up for sale with everything else. That name, as far as I can tell, has been bounced around Asian owners like the proverbial hot potatoe until a company decided to do what the Chinese do best, buy cheap stuff, rebrand it, mark it up, and sell it.
That seems to be what happened here. If you look around you can see a lot of products that look just like the Gskyer telescopes but with different brand names stamped on them. That is because they are all sourced from the same factory. Some may have minor differences or come with different accessories, but the base item is the same.
Just because Gskyer telescopes are sourced from the same place as other brands don’t make them bad, lots of people do that today. Let’s see if they are actually any good.
Are Gskyer Telescopes actually any good?
I managed to get a couple of Gskyer telescopes including their current #1 Amazon bestseller, the 70mm AZ70400 refractor. I put them through their paces for a couple of weeks to see how they stack up. Everything I talk about here is a comparison to other telescopes in their price range. I am not comparing a $99 Gskyer telescope to a $5,000 Williams Optics.
The 70mm is exactly what you would expect, cheap. It is mostly plastic, and not really good plastic. The first time you tighten an eyepiece in the diagonal the screw will either strip (mine did) or crack. Either way, rendering the screws holding it together useless.
Looking through them is about what you see in any cheap 70mm plastic toy. With a scope this small it is hard to mess things up too much, I mean is there much difference between looking through a dollar store brand cardboard paper towel roll and a Bounty cardboard roll? Not really.
It does function, so I have to give them that. Gskyer telescopes have a pretty good assortment of accessories so you at least get to play with things. Their smartphone mount is pretty cool although it only works with their horrible eyepieces so that’s kind of a let-down. The Barlow, like all Barlows with these cheap telescopes, is pure garbage. They do include a little Bluetooth remote trigger for your phone to take pictures and that is nice.
If I was wanting to the Gskyer telescopes 70mm refractor as a travel and daytime spotting scope, it isn’t bad, but you can get better for the same or less money.
How about their top-of-the-line “professional” 130mm Newtonian on an equatorial mount?
It might be a professional seller, but with an absolute joke of a mount, even the pretty decent optical tube of the Gskyer telescopes sky explorer 130EQ just can’t seem to provide good views. Maybe if you set it and not touch it for ten minutes you can get a stable image, but then the eyepieces are so horrible you have a hard time keeping your eye centered long enough to see anything.
At this price point, there are just too many competitors from companies like Celestron, Meade, and Orion to even consider Gskyer telescopes as anything other than a way to throw away your money.
Support for Gskyer telescopes
Gskyer telescopes do actually have a website, it is, as you might guess, www.gskyer.com. You will find telescope basic information, including on some models not currently sold in the US. It is also in Chinese. What you will not find is any kind of help in assembling, troubleshooting, or using their telescopes. You can call them (which would probably cost more than the telescope) or you can email them at email@example.com.
I know what you are thinking, 163.com? What the heck is that? That is basically like Chinese Yahoo free email. Yup, Gskyer telescopes are using the Chinese equivalent of a free Yahoo email address as their primary business contact. That instills confidence, right?
It is so bad that other people have had to step up to try and help all these people who bought Gskyer telescopes and can’t figure out how to use them. One of the authors of astronomy and astrophotography books I recommend here on Astronomy Online, Allan Hall, has created basically a big, online, Gskyer telescope manual over at GskyerTelescopes.Net.
He has loaded it with reviews, how-tos, downloadable PDFs, and a ton of videos from his YouTube channel (which isn’t a bad place for beginners to check out). The website seems pretty new but it looks like he is doing a pretty good job at providing some great information to the beginners stuck with these Gskyer Telescopes.
While looking there you will also see he has ads for his books over on the side, and I can’t fault him for that. Why not try and make a buck while helping people. At least he seems to be actually trying to help first, then making a couple of bucks second. There are others that I won’t give the courtesy of a link to who are providing no help at all, just trying to fleece these poor people. Do a Google search and you will find them. Shameful.
So how do you explain the great reviews?
Well here is the thing, if you run the item through fakespot.com you get this…
What does that mean? It means that Gskyer telescopes have a large number of questionable reviews. Only approximately one-third of the reviews are considered reliable and most of those are probably the people who gave it one and two stars and people who have nothing to compare it to.
I can hear you now, that is just fakespot, they could be wrong, it happens you know. OK, fine, let’s try someone else, how about reviewmeta.com?
Well, that shows 64% unnatural reviews (probably fake) removed. So again, we have a very high number of reviews that are probably not authentic. I smell something and it isn’t the anchovies on my pizza.
I should mention here that I never put all my faith in these review checker websites. I use them as a tool to add to the information I get from other sources before I make my judgments. There are legitimately good products that have large numbers of suspect reviews, I just don’t believe that Gskyer telescopes are one of them.
After all of this, I think we know what is going on with Gskyer telescopes. Someone bought a name from a German optics company with a good reputation, bought a ton of cheap telescopes, had their name plastered on them, then used the name they bought to sell them at huge markups to unsuspecting customers looking for a deal.
My recommendation is to stay away from Gskyer telescopes, far far away. You can get better scopes for the same or less money from Celestron, Meade, and Orion along with support from people in the United States who will actually try and help you.