Recently, I had the opportunity to review the Levenhuk LabZZ MTB3 Microscope & Telescope & Binoculars Science Kit. Described as “perfect for beginning scientists”, I was able to handle each item in the kit and test it myself. In addition, I put the telescope, microscope and binoculars through a rigorous “kid test”. Fortunately, my niece and nephew were more than happy to help with the task. Overall, the items in the kit are indeed excellent for young, budding scientists. Here is my review:
Review: Levenhuk LabZZ 20+ Piece Science Kit For Beginners
Unveiling the Levenhuk Science Kit
I opened the colorful box, emblazoned with large pictures of the promising science kit. The items were boxed well; each piece of equipment fit snugly in styrofoam packaging so that none of the items were jostled or damaged during shipping. I pulled each item out, one by one, including a small bag of microscope accessories. On the first impression, all three pieces of equipment in the science kit appeared well-made. The only criticism I have is that they felt a little light. After removing all of the pieces, there were two small screw caps loose in the box. Not knowing their purpose, I set them aside for later. Unfortunately, I could have lost them had I not been paying attention. With everything lined up on the table, I realized I would have to do some basic assembly and I referred to the User Manual.
Levenhuk Science Kit Telescope
The first item I chose to test was the telescope because it required the most assembly. First, I checked out the specs. It’s a refactor telescope with a 50mm aperture, 600mm focal length and includes two eyepieces: a 5mm (120x magnification) and a 10mm (60x magnification). As instructed, I set up the tripod first and found that the legs are adjustable. Everyone from little kids to adults can easily use the telescope. Mounting the actual telescope to the tripod is simple and takes only seconds. Next, I installed the finderscope. Note: it attaches with the two loose screw caps I found in the box. Finally, I located the two eyepieces in the box and installed the diagonal mirror. Fully assembled, the telescope feels sturdy and most of the pieces are plastic. I wasn’t at all concerned that if I was to bump it or even drop it a short distance that I would damage it.
I tested the telescope first during the daytime, which the manufacturer recommends. The telescope and tripod are very lightweight, so moving them outside was a breeze. The finderscope, with 2x magnification, helps find your image easily. However, I quickly discovered that I didn’t really need it during the day, but it was very helpful at night. Using just the eyepiece and a quick adjustment of the focus knob, I was able to see into the far treeline on my property, almost instantly. The telescope showed a crisp, detailed image. When I switched to the higher magnification lens, I was able to see details on individual leaves in the same trees. Even better, after exploring the landscape for several minutes, I experienced virtually no eye strain. My nighttime experience was much the same. I was able to find the image quickly and though the telescope isn’t as high-powered as some more expensive telescopes, it makes up for it in ease of use. With minimal experience, effort and adjustment, beginners can easily use and enjoy this telescope.
Levenhuk Science Kit Microscope
Of all the items, I looked forward to testing the microscope. I haven’t used a microscope since science courses in college and even then, I wasn’t extremely proficient. If I can use it easily, a beginner should have no trouble mastering it. It’s a monocular microscope with a 10x eyepiece, 15x, 45x and 90x objectives and 150-900x magnification. Illumination is either mirror or the incandescent light. The microscope, like the other items in the kit, is lightweight but sturdy. Once again, I didn’t feel like it was particularly delicate. It will most likely stand up to a fair amount of use, though I’m not sure that it could survive much of a drop. It did require some assembly, specifically the light. The light requires two AA batteries, which, fortunately, I had on hand. Also, I needed a small Phillips head screwdriver to access the battery compartment. A few minutes of installation and the microscope was ready to use.
Testing the microscope gave me the opportunity to use the included accessories. The accessory pack includes specimen containers, blank slides, cover slips, slide stickers, a scalpel, pipette, spatula, forceps and dissecting needle. If you have younger children, the accessories include small sharp objects and glass slides and should be used with the help and supervision of an adult.
For a slide, I opted for a piece of a flower petal. I prepared the slide and placed it carefully under the microscope and secured it. I have always struggled with microscopes and usually have trouble seeing anything at all. However, I was able to find the image in just a few minutes. I opted to use the natural light in my dining room and a quick adjustment of the mirror gave plenty of light. Flipping over the mirror illuminates the light bulb, but I found the artificial light a little too bright. First, using the revolving nosepiece, I chose the lowest objective using, which is the easiest to use. Next, I adjusted the focus knob until I could see a clear image. I had to move my head around a bit, but I was eventually able to see it without trouble. In addition, the entire stand moves for more comfortable viewing. The image was clear and detailed, though, like the telescope, it is designed for beginners and the magnification is not as high as more powerful microscopes.
Levenhuk Science Kit Binoculars
The final test was the Levenhuk binoculars. They feature a 30mm aperture and 4x magnification and include a storage pouch, carrying strap and a microfiber lens cleaning cloth. The sturdy plastic binoculars are small and lightweight—perfect for little hands.
Testing binoculars is a simple task. There are only a few things to consider. First, they were easy to grip and hold and because they are lightweight, my hands didn’t tire. The binoculars are adjustable and fit my face, but can easily fit a child’s face—the eyepieces are comfortable too. Finally, they are extremely simple to use. A quick focus reveals a crisp, clear image and the low magnification causes less eye strain which is perfect for younger users. The storage case offers protection and the carrying strap prevents accidental drops, though I think they can withstand a bit of wear and tear.
Levenhuk Science Kit Final Test: The Kid Test
For the final test, I let my niece and nephew experiment with the items in the Levenhuk science kit. My niece is 7 and my nephew is 14, so they cover a wide age range. Because all three items are sturdy and fairly rugged, I had no qualms about letting them play with freely with each one. I did, however, discourage my niece from using the sharp accessories and helped her prepare a slide for the microscope.
At seven years old, my niece enjoyed using all three items and was able to figure them out with just a little help. Using the microscope required the most guidance, but she was thrilled when she was able to see the blade of grass. The binoculars are the perfect size for her small hands and face.
My older nephew, who has used student microscopes in school and high powered binoculars was slightly less impressed but did have fun preparing a few slides on his own and looking at them through the microscope. By far the favorite item for both children was the telescope. Both kids used it without issue and it was comfortable for them both because of the adjustable tripod. After trying it during the day, they insisted I stay until dark so they could see the stars.
The Levenhuk LabZZ Science Kit, which includes a telescope, microscope, binoculars and accessories is indeed “perfect for beginning scientists”.
We love to hear from you! Give us your feedback in the comments below.