Celestron NEXSTAR 127SLT Review

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I wanted a telescope that has all of the best parts of previous telescopes I had looked into. I wanted the stability and flexibility of a refractor combined with the light-gathering power of a reflector. I wanted it to be sleek, easy to use with some neat features that could really wow my friends and family. Most of all, I wanted to be able to take it with me on all of my many outdoor adventures.

The lower end telescopes didn’t seem to offer what I was looking for but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a high-end telescope that I was going to be lugging out into the woods with me. Isn’t there a middle of the road telescope that comes with all of the trappings I was looking for?

Luckily for me, such a telescope does exist and all of these things can be found in the Celestron NEXSTAR 127SLT. Its sturdy Maksutov-Cassegrain design and included technology were all perfect for a great telescope that I could take with me outdoors and wouldn’t break the bank or my back.

Celestron NEXSTAR 127SLT Features

  • Maksutov-Cassegrain optics
  • 127mm primary aperture
  • f/12 focal ratio
  • 20lbs weight
  • 300x highest theoretical magnification

The Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT is the largest Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope in the NEXSTAR family and the second largest in this line. It boasts a 127mm primary aperture, a fully computerized go-to mount with a full star database as well as a handful of useful accessories. For the amount of power and technology packed into this kit, it is a very compact and portable telescope.

Celestron NEXSTAR 127SLT Review
  • Fully computerized go-to mount with large night sky database included
  • Able to see the planets in great detail without any hassle
  • Compact and portable, great for taking on trips
  • The software can be finicky
  • Unstable tripod mount
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In terms of computerized telescopes, the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT is on the lower end in terms of price, works as intended and comes with a reliable Maksutov-Cassegrain optical setup that eliminates common issues found in refractors and reflectors by taking the best of both and combining them.

Futuristic Features

The biggest upside to this telescope is the high tech features that Celestron has added to bring the Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope into the 21st century. This type of telescope was designed in the 1940s and began being widely marketed to the public in the late 1950s. Celestron has taken the telescope of the 20th century and has updated it for the 21st century with its suite of technological upgrades.

Compact and Portable

If you are looking for a telescope that you can bring along with you on your outdoor adventures then the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT is a fantastic option. The Maksutov-Cassegrain design gives is the sturdiness of a refractor telescope and the light gathering capability of a reflector telescope meaning it can be safely taken along with you without having to worry about damaging it or bumping it out of alignment like some other telescopes.

It is also extremely compact. Refractor telescopes are long and can be unwieldy while some reflector models get very fat and bulky. The Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT is neither of those things making it perfect to be able to set up at home or taken along on your next outdoor trip.

Usually, the smaller the telescope the weaker the performance. This can limit some image quality and views that a telescope can show you but I did not find that to be the case with this unit. The design allows this telescope to be both compact and powerful which is a combination you usually don’t find on the market that often.

Some reflectors with similar specs in this size come with complaints about misalignment and having to collimate the mirrors after bumping them or traveling with them. There are no such complaints with the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT.

The SkyAlign technology which allows the telescope to align itself automatically using common features of the night sky means that this telescope can be set up anywhere and you still get the benefits of the database and go-to mount. Even on the top of a wooded knoll or out in the desert. Wherever you lug this thing, you can use it.

SkyAlign™ Telescope Alignment Procedure

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It is battery powered which is also a big plus for those who like to travel with their telescope. It can run on AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack that is sold separately. This means that this telescope does not need an external power source to power all of the computerized features which cannot be said of all telescopes in this class.

Celestron truly has the traveling astronomer in mind with the design of the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT and anyone who wants to toss their telescope in the car and find darker skies will be delighted with this model.

Fully Computerized Go-to Mount & Massive Database

The features adding the most value to this telescope are the technological ones. Celestron has packed in some of its best software and computerized features into the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT. It comes with a fully computerized altazimuth go-to mounting system, a database that offers over 40,000 objects that it is able to find on its own as well as their proprietary SkyAlign software.

All of these things together mean that the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT can be ran as a fully autonomous telescope if that is what you want. Once it is assembled, calibrated using SkyAlign and the database is powered up you are ready to go. Simply find an object you want to view and the telescope will use its position to automatically find and track the object in question.

The big benefit of a computerized telescope?

Not only does this take all of the guesswork out of telescoping for the beginner, but it is also perfect for the traveler. Many people are familiar with the night sky in their backyards but sometimes it can be hard to get acquainted with a new patch of the sky if you are traveling. This will help cut down on that issue because it knows the night sky already on its own.

The database can also be a great educational tool, especially when paired with the included Starry Night software suite. Being able to locate, see and learn about thousands of deep space objects can really ignite a passion for some people or be great for a beginner astronomy class for students.

This impressive array of tech is perfect for those wanting to discover unfamiliar skies or anyone who wants to get immersed in the universe and learn about individual objects that are out there. The technology is perfect for both of those.

If you want a more traditional telescope experience out in the woods the technology can be turned off and the 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain can be manually operated for those times where that is preferred. It is still a great telescope without the technology package.

Accessories Included

This telescope kit comes with some great additional accessories in addition to the technology. These include two eyepieces for high and low powered viewing. It also comes with a red dot scope for easy alignment in the sky as well as a star diagonal. The star diagonal makes it so the images appear right side up during viewing making it great for novice users or students.

The star diagonal also makes it so this scope can be used for terrestrial viewing. If you take it along on your outdoor trips, it could also function as a land scope for surveying and viewing panoramic scenes here on Earth. This is definitely not its primary function but it is an added feature that really benefits the outdoorsman all because they’ve included the diagonal viewer.

Celestron also has included Starry Night which is a great all-around software package for the aspiring and advanced astronomer alike. It will teach you about celestial objects, which is a perfect addition to the database the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT comes with.  It can also help you plan your nighttime viewing session which is invaluable to the traveling astronomer who can plan out what they can and cannot see in specific locations around the globe with Starry Night.

If you’re worried about all of this technology being a nuisance then you will be happy to know that this telescope comes with a two-year warranty from Celestron along with available tech support if you have any questions or concerns. Some people have reported the software being finicky or hard to get running properly. This can happen with all software but Celestron’s promised support means you will not have to figure anything out alone if there is an issue.

Unstable Footing

One of the biggest complaints this telescope receives is in regards to its included tripod. It is wobbly and unstable which can be frustrating for a telescope of this type and caliber. When the motorized mount is running the vibrations cause the whole unit to shake slightly making it hard to get a good image while this is happening.

The legs are also not the greatest quality and only really feel solid and stable on a hard flat surface. This can be disappointing to those who want to travel with their scope. Everything else is conducive to traveling until you have to set it up on a grassy or rocky patch of ground then the whole thing becomes unstable.

No one wants to risk knocking over or dropping their expensive telescope so this is going to cause people to pause when using it. A wobbly tripod is not the worst criticism I have seen for a telescope but for the function and benefits of this model, it is certainly a frustrating one.

You can easily replace the tripod and upgrade it to a more sturdy all-terrain version of your choice but that is more money, another step, and more research that has to be done to make this telescope just right.

Possible Alternatives

If all of this technology sounds great but you are not interested in all of this talk of traveling there are other telescopes at this price point that might be better suited to your needs. Celestron has a whole host of computerized telescopes of similar quality and design to this one but are better for setting up in a single spot than for traveling.

The NEXSTAR family of telescopes also includes the SE line which is a little more money, a little more advanced, and is better for backyard viewing than traveling. It comes with the same technology package but offers higher quality views. The comparable model would be the Nexstar 5SE.

There are also the other versions in the SLT line which include a traditional refractor telescope and a Newtonian reflector for anyone who does not want a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope design. All of these have the same computerized focus but with different design elements for different uses but are all roughly in the same price range.

None of these other telescopes, that I have seen or tested, have the same complaints about the unstable tripod as the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT.


First and foremost, if you are one that likes to take your telescope out camping or to a dark field for a romantic stargazing adventure this is the scope for you. It can locate itself and anything you want to see from pretty much anywhere. You do not have to worry about it breaking or coming out of alignment or falling apart while traveling with it. It is light and compact and perfect for that.

In addition to all of that, it is still a great all-around telescope for a good price. Minus the finicky nature of software and a wobbly tripod, this is a fantastic middle of the road computerized telescope that can excite, educate, and entertain anyone for a long time. Anyone looking to get affordable, low maintenance, the computerized telescope should look no further than the Celestron NEXSTAR 127 SLT.