I bought this scope at the end of June 2013. During a trial set up, I noticed that the clamps that attach the spreader to the tripod legs were plastic and two of them were cracked. This scope is a pretty expensive piece of equipment with a heavy duty tripod. Why Celestron decided to compromise it by using plastic clamps is beyond me. I would think aluminum would be a much better choice. With the help of OPT, I was able to obtain two new clamps. It did take two and a half months to get them however. I will be replacing these and the spreader with an aftermarket set soon, if possible. Between that little issue, bad weather, and scheduling issues, I have only been able to use the scope one time. Everything went fairly smoothly. The GPS linked right up. Two star manual alignments resulted in accurate GO TO. SkyAlign alignments did not, however. I'll need to experiment some more with that one. The optics seemed to be pretty darned good considering the seeing wasn't good enough for serious testing. I did several alignments just for training. After one, I was able to find Uranus. I was impressed with that. The tripod is nice and steady and I had no problem with vibration. Tracking was nice and smooth. The finder scope, in my opinion, is fairly worthless. If you remove it from it's mount and reinstall it, it doesn't hold alignment. I installed my Telrad, which holds alignment very well. It takes some technical savvy to operate this thing. The manual is okay, but is out of date in some areas, not detailed enough in others, and it totally omits other things. During intiial tests, I got the controller stuck in Spanish. The manaul didn't address that at all. Fortunately, I was able to find someone on line that figured out how to back out of it and get back to English. If you buy one of these scopes, be prepared to shell out some extra funds on accessories. You'll need power cord extensions and adaptors to run power from your house, a separate battery, or your vehicle. You'll need a converter to connect from RS232 to USB unless you happen to have a computer laying around with a serial port. Celestron hasn't made the leap to USB yet. A Telrad or similar pointer probably isn't completely necessary, but is real handy to have given the marginal finder scope. A soft or hard case to put the OTA/fork assembly in is something I consider to be a necessity, but they aren't cheap. Dew fighting equipment will be necessary for some. Luckily, I live in New Mexico. It's pretty dry here. Last but not least, a selection of decent eyepieces will be a must. It comes with a humdrum 40mm Plossl. I tossed that in a drawer and put together a good set. I also tossed the Celestron diagonal and replaced it with a dielectric one. Reports in other reviews about weight are right on. Since the tube and the fork are mated, it ends up taking a bit of physical effort to move around. Caution is needed yanking the thing out of the back of a car or out of the trunk. A back injury awaits the careless. I can imagine that the CPC 925 and 1100 are monsters. Overall, in spite of the clamp issue, I'm still pretty happy with this scope. It's a step up from my 6 inch Dob. Now, all I need is a grab-n-go scope for the quick stuff....................... As far as performance goes
I got this telescope after a 45 year absence from astronomy. It is a bit heavy, but that is what I expected. I got the OPT Gold 2" EP kit to go with it - a good choice. The GOTO feature is easy to use, and usually right on. Using the one object solar system option is not very accurate, but the auto 2 star is fine. I am now able to find objects I could not find with my 1960's 8" telescope. Views are sharp, and more limited by my visual acuity than the telescope. I haven't yet been to dark sky sites very often, most of my viewing is in a grey sky suburban site. When I was at a dark sky site the views of fainter objects were good, like M81&82. Just saw Saturn with it for the first time this week, and it was much better than my previous telescope: I was able to see texture in the rings and cloud surface I had never seen before. I'd recommend a Moon filter, UHC filter and O III ilter , if you can afford those extra accessories.
This scope is outstanding! I have had mine now for about a year and setup is easy. Viewing is very good and only limited to my eye piece quality. Only down side is it is a little bit noisy after using it. I use it allot! that may be why.