Pocket microscopes are fun and educational. It’s a nifty tool that passes my two universal tests for an educational tool, which is: One – all educational tools should generate more questions than they answer. The best stuff is not the Q&A kind where a child asks a question and it’s answered in a neat and structured way. The best stuff is those that elicit that little thinking frown between the eyebrows bubbled in a moment of silent contemplation. Then the barrage of questions follow.
Two – the novelty and functionality shouldn’t wear off. I buy too many things that entertain once or twice. As soon as the first discovery of “ooh, what’s this? what does it do?” wears off, it’s discarded and forgotten. Or worse, it breaks on the first drop or with the first fiddling to see how it works.
The Microbrite passes the first test with flying colours – every time we put something new under the microscope, the questions follow – What is it made of? Is this recyclable? Is it a composite? Why are there dots? grids? curvy lines? glitter?! It’s been bashed, dropped, thrown into the bottom of a bag underneath some rocks and forgotten in the garden and it doesn’t have a scratch on it. It also hasn’t lost its charm as long as there’s an adult or reference book nearby to explain the mysteries of the microscopic.
It’s not a distraction toy, but a threshold toy – something that with a little bit of guidance opens up a whole new level of complexity that most children and some parents, didn’t know existed.
Retailer: Amazon +
Price: ± £9
Included: 60x-120x power pocket microscope
Paid Extras: 1AA battery (not included).
Delivery: Free Amazon Prime delivery
About Carson Optical
“Carson Optical was founded in 1990 by Richard Cameron. A former banker, disheartened with Wall Street, Cameron started in his mother’s Long Island basement importing and exporting a wide array of product between the US and Japan… Cameron named his company “Copitar USA” and began cold-calling buyers at national retail chains and writers working for major media publications. Cameron quickly gained placement in mail order catalogues that included The Sharper Image and Orvis. His public-relations efforts gained the company much-needed exposure in media outlets that included the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Popular Science. Renamed as “Carson Optical”, the company grew out of its basement home and leased warehouse space in Huntington, New York.”*
Carson Optical is now located in Ronkonkoma, Long Island and is an established, respected and well-known brand in the field of optics.
The Micro Brite is ergonomically designed for adult and children’s hands alike. It has a large ambidextrous side-grip with the LED light button at the top, a wide focus adjustment wheel and a slider to adjust the magnification.
- Portable design.
- Target age range: Suitable for ages 3+.
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral.
- Optimized for left or right, one and two-handed use.
- Target audience: an Educational tool for primary school age children that facilitate a basic understanding of magnification.
- Optimized for indoor and outdoor use.
Environment & People
Excellent, cost-effective choice that promises hours of fun and education for a comparatively low price tag. The Microbrite is an introductory microscope, but with 60x-120x magnification and a sturdy design, it is not a flimsy, throw-away gadget. Our Carson microscope has been put to good use over 8 weeks and has helped uncover many mysteries, from ink-jet printing to what sand really looks like close up. Great value for money.
Product dimensions: 2.5 x 5 x 8.9 cm
Capacity: 60x-120x magnification
Item Weight: 68 g
Decibels: Silent operation
Energy use: Uses 1 AA battery (not included)
Item model number: MM-300
Design: LED lighted with aspheric internal lens system
Warranty: Carson’s one-year limited warranty
A good pocket microscope is a must-have item for all children. It doesn’t just magnify every day things, it opens up a whole new world for discovery. The Carson MicroBrite is a brilliant choice for beginners. Solid, surprisingly robust, light, small and easy to hold and use with small or big fingers. It has a fantastic 60x – 120x zoom, which is much higher than other pocket microscopes made for children and with the adjustable focus we had a crystal clear view of every item we looked at.
It is an ideal choice for introducing young children to the joy of science and the microscopic world. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Carson MicroBrite Plus 60 -120x Power LED Lighted Pocket Microscope purchased in March 2016. Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on 1st August 2016.