This arrived today, and in general I'm very pleased with my latest purchase.
The boxing is a plastic tube, offering a clear view of the product. Inside you will find an instruction manual (which misses out one very important step - installing both pieces of software), the driver (mini)CD, a quick start guide and user manual (both screwed up and crammed in), the stand and the microscope.
I don't care much for the condition of the boxing, nor the user manual and leaflet (they are not the important parts after all). The stand felt sturdy in the hands, but is very under-weight. The base of it is hollow, and could do with being heavier. The foam underneath the base is stuck to the stand around the edges and proved easy enough to peel away. Filling the base of the stand with modelling clay and putting the foam layer back on rectified the weight issue.
The microscope itself felt very nice, and sturdy. This is certainly where the majority of the money was spent. The focusing wheel is very sensitive so you need a steady hand. A small amount of pressure from one finger is all you need to be able to focus on what you are looking at. The 2MP CMOS claim is interpolated - so the quality of images at 2MP is grainy and quite fuzzy. You are much better going for a lower resolution where the pictures are very good, considering what you are paying for.
Video is much the same, stick with the lower resolutions for a better quality video.
The microscope felt nice in the hand. However, as you would expect, at higher magnifications you will need a very steady hand. This is why the stand is so important, as it allows you to keep the microscope still.
This product will prove to be both fun and educational, with many applications for people of all ages. Whether you are interested in the nature in your garden, or perhaps the surface of different items in your house - you will spend many happy hours with this little gadget.
Also, if you purchase at Play.com you will be getting a product with a Manufacturer's RRP of £99.99. A product which you will be hard pushed (at the time of writing this) to find for less than £79.99 (believe me I looked). Snap up a bargain and have lots of family fun.