I can honestly say that the Universe2Go personal planetarium is unique and unlike anything I have come across before. It’s a personal handheld device with an accompanying iOS app that allows users to hold the beauty of the night sky in their hands, making constellations and planets come alive.
Typically before I open a new product for review, I like to go to the company’s website to get myself excited about the unboxing. Universe2Go was no exception. The website did a good job getting me interested in the product, but the video was the selling point. After using the device I can confirm that the video does a good job in capturing the features of Universe2Go. So I was a bit surprised when I opened the box to find what seemed like an adult View-Master from the 1980’s without the wheel of images.
I was initially disappointed in the plastic construction and lack of “awww” that you would expect of a $99 product. However, the value is in the simple, yet brilliant design of the case and the mirror placement. The iPhone sits inside the case, and you get an "augmented reality" image of the night sky overlaid with the output of the Universe2Go app.
When downloading Universe2Go from the App Store you will see three options. The first is for Universe2Go. That sounds like the logical choice, but you would be wrong unless you enjoy being completely infuriated. Let me save you hours of confusion and anger -- download the Universe2Go International edition.
After you download the app, the settings are not actually accessible through the Universe2Go app. You have to back out of Universe2Go and access the settings through the Settings app.
Ease of use
It’s a bit tricky to evaluate the ease of use of this app. During my first attempt to use the Universe2Go headset, I had downloaded the Universe2Go app, not the international version. It was in German, not English. To top it all off, the app continually crashed. This process was extremely frustrating since I followed the directions to the letter. After some Googling and trial and error, I was able to figure out my error. This issue could be corrected with more detailed instructions for international sales.
Fast-forward several hours and the Universe2Go was working beautifully. To change between settings while wearing the hardware, you tilt your head, which is a little hard to navigate at first. However, it gets easier the more you use it.
Pros and cons
For me the biggest pro is the app itself, because it has a mode you can use without the Universe2Go device. It makes even cloudy nights’ fun.
There's one major drawback - my phone does not fit into the Universe2Go device. I have an iPhone 6s Plus, and it simply will not fit. When I want to use the Universe2Go I have to use my husband’s smaller iPhone. The inability to use the device with the Plus-sized iPhones is a big drawback for anyone with a larger size phone.
Overall, I think that the Universe2Go personal planetarium is unique and offers features that you simply cannot get with a telescope of equal cost. For that reason, I give the Universe2Go Personal Planetarium a 3.5 out of 5 star rating.