While there are endless options for stereo and compound microscopes on the market, and while these models have become increasingly appealing due to reduced costs, better accessibility, and improved features, there are still a few things that these microscopes cannot offer- portability being one of them.
This is where iPhone microscopes come in, along with other technologically modern devices. These smartphone microscopes are not only effective in doing their job whether it be for home or professional use, as well as allowing for the use of various microscopy techniques, they are also highly convenient due to the fact that they are compact and portable.
Here’s a review and buying guide on the best iPhone microscopes today:
Top 5 best iPhone microscopes
To help you find the perfect microscope for your iPhone, we spent hours of research to compile valuable data and identify the most promising options available on the market today, and with that, we came up with this list:
Sky Basic Handheld Wireless Digital Microscope
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Among its excellent features are the eight LED lights that make for enhanced clarity and detail, the unit’s sheer ease of use, its compatibility with Android, Windows, and iOS devices, and the way it connects to various devices easily upon installing the app.
That said, one thing that sets it apart from the competition is the high definition 2 megapixel 1080P camera that is great for capturing images and recording videos of whatever object you are studying under the microscope’s impressive 50x to 1000x magnification range.
Jiusion WiFi USB Digital Handheld Microscope
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A strong contender is the Jiusion WiFi USB Digital Handheld Microscope, which lets you explore the microscopic world by offering a convenient solution to observe minute details of small objects. It’s a handheld unit that is loaded with magnification features to allow for viewing and inspecting coins, jewelry, and other similar items.
Like the iPhone microscope above, this one also features eight LEDs as well as an adjusting knob that allows you to change the focus and brightness depending on your needs. The magnification ratio is also impressive at 40x to 1000x.
Moreover, this portable microscope is also compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android devices, and comes with a software that allows you to fully explore the microscopic world by capturing images and documenting your observations. Even better, it comes with various accessories that are sure to make your scientific adventures more convenient and enjoyable.
ROTEK Mini Pocket Handheld Microscope Camera
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You should also check out the ROTEK Mini Pocket Handheld Microscope Camera, a versatile optical tool operating through wireless connectivity. It works on iPhones installed with iOS 8.0+, as well as smartphones with at least an Android 4.3 OS. Not only that, you can also connect it to your laptop or desktop via USB thanks to its Mac OS and Windows compatibility.
This unit comes with a 2.0MP camera with a 1920×1080 resolution, offering highly detailed and crystal clear imagery even when you’re looking at microscopic specimens. The eight built-in and adjustable LED lights also ensure clear and detailed photos and videos even under dimly lit viewing environments.
Furthermore, this iPhone microscope features a 50x to 1000x magnification range, a rechargeable battery with an excellent 3-hour operational capacity, and a compact design that allows for use indoors and outdoors.
DINGUIER Handheld Microscope Endoscope Magnifier
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Another amazing option is the DINGUIER Handheld Microscope Endoscope Magnifier, an easy to use, convenient, and portable handheld digital microscope that both young and old users will appreciate thanks to its assortment of excellent features, such as the 50x to 1000x magnification range that ensures detailed views of whatever item you’re looking at.
This is further guaranteed by the eight LED lights that perfectly illuminate two and three dimensional specimens even in poorly lit conditions. There are even adjustment knobs that allow users to better manipulate the brightness levels.
Of course, like all good digital microscopes, this unit also comes with a 2MP 1080p camera to capture images and record videos of various specimens in great detail, and it can be connected to different devices through USB or WiFi. The best part, however, is the rotatable 360 degree stand that offers more flexibility while reducing shaking.
iDu LabCam Microscope iPhone Adapter
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Finally, we also have the iDu LabCam Microscope iPhone Adapter, which fits most Leica, Olympus, Zeiss, and Nikon stereo microscopes, as well as also being compatible with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. It’s a great alternative to conventional microscopy solutions, and is suitable for research, health care, and educational applications.
Included in the package are a nice set of lenses that can easily be inserted into the slot on the eyepiece. This eliminates the need to adjust the lens in order to achieve the optimal image detail and clarity. In fact, the microscope adapter even comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee as a testament to the high image quality that’s assured in any condition.
Among the three lenses in varying sizes ranging from 23 to 31.75mm is the wide-angle lens. These three optical lenses ensure the optic components’ precise alignment. All in all, it’s a convenient and versatile optical tool that you can use in labs and field settings.
Benefits of using an iPhone microscope
There are many different reasons why iPhone microscopes are handy little imaging and inspection devices for real world applications studying both macro and microorganisms. They offer plenty of undeniable benefits and advantages, such as:
The main reason why people buy iPhone microscopes as opposed to other types of microscopes is that these devices are incredibly compact and portable, often fitting inside a standard jeans pocket. This means users can study objects and make observations on the field. The unit can even be disassembled after use to make it more compact.
Ease of use
The beauty of iPhone microscopes is that they are user-friendly, and even novices can learn how to operate an iPhone microscope in seconds. They also allow for one-handed operations, which makes them highly convenient. The controls and adjustment knobs are also easy to manipulate, so they are perfect for every user- young students, hobbyists, and professionals.
iPhone microscopes only really require an iPhone (although they can often be used on Android smartphones as well); all the other necessary accessories are included in each purchase, and these accessories, such as the case and glass beads are easy to assemble. Also included are slide holders with which you can attach glass slides for viewing.
Since iPhone microscopes are inherently basic despite the technological advancements and innovations that go into making them, these optical tools are highly affordable and easily accessible for most people. Most, if not all, of the parts that make up the microscope unit are also cheap, widely available, and easy to replace when needed.
There are many ways you can use an iPhone microscope, and as such, they have become highly valuable tools in many different fields of study and application, including industrial, electrical, medical, and biological fields. In fact, iPhone microscopes can even be used to detect certain diseases. And, since these devices are highly accessible, regular people can use them.
Since digital smartphone microscopes are portable and cheap, they are commonly used in various parts of Africa and many other countries across the globe, as a handy tool in detecting diseases and helping patients seek early treatment.
For instance, in Central Africa, certain insects such as mango flies, deer flies, and mosquitoes are prevalent, and if you get bitten by one, a usual result is to get a localized eye infection from a worm or nematode.
A simple iPhone microscope can be used to screen, detect, and identify patients with this parasitic infection. It’s an inexpensive test and you can get the results in a few minutes, which means you can also receive treatment using certain drugs like ivermectin immediately.
This quick intervention prevents you from experiencing both mild and serious symptoms and complications, which include swelling, itching, hemorrhaging, or even neurological issues, which can often be fatal.
How to choose an iPhone microscope
Buying an iPhone microscope isn’t as easy as it seems. While it’s a seemingly simple and convenient optical device, there are still quite a few things that you need to factor in before you make your decision. To help you out, here’s a quick guide on how to find the best iPhone microscope:
Image quality and overall performance
When buying any kind of microscope, the most important thing is always its performance and image quality. In other words, the microscope should work well and allow you to see highly detailed, crystal clear images of your specimen. This is important regardless of whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional microbiologist.
We are talking about the microscope’s magnification range, image resolution, contrast, focus, and all that goes with it. Performance and image quality also encompasses how much detail you can see through the eyepiece, how well this detail translates to what the camera can capture, how it looks on a smartphone or computer screen, and so on.
In a way, the optics quality is all the more important in a tiny iPhone microscope. You may be buying a small, handheld device, but the quality of the glass lenses and objectives shouldn’t be compromised due to size constraints. So, if one model has better quality than the other, always buy the better one, even if it’s a bit more expensive- the added cost is worth it.
Type of software
A common mistake that people make when buying iPhone microscopes is not paying attention to the provided software, which often leads to issues such as difficulty in installation, or incompatibility with certain devices and operating systems.
To avoid this, make sure that the software works with the iPhone version that you own, and if you’re planning to connect the microscope to your desktop for sorting and sharing images and videos, check whether it’s compatible with your OS.
Essentially, installing and using the software should be easy, and it should make your workflow go smoothly, without any lag, glitch, or issue. And, if it needs to be downloaded from a third party source, make sure that that source is credible, and that the software is free of charge.
You’ll also want to ensure that your handheld microscope is durable and resistant to wear and tear, especially if you will mostly use it outdoors or in field settings. The delicate mechanisms and components housed inside the microscope should be adequately protected by a strong and sturdy casing that won’t break and is easy to clean.
More than that, see if the iPhone microscope comes with a great warranty of at least one year. This way, your investment, no matter how small, is protected over the long run. The manufacturer should also have reliable customer service so you won’t have any headache when taking your microscope in for repairs, replacements, or refunds.
Of course, how you care for your microscope also matters. Try to ensure that your specimens don’t come into contact with the glass lens so it doesn’t get scratched or damaged. If you get dirt or dust on the microscope, clean it up immediately. Buy a good quality microscope cleaner. Take care of your microscope properly and will last much longer in good working condition.
Other factors to consider
Apart from the things we already talked about, there are plenty of other factors that you also need to take into account before you settle on a brand or model. Keeping these things in mind will help you make a better, more informed decision, and ensure that you end up with a good iPhone microscope that you can be happy with.
For instance, any and all control knobs and buttons on the microscope should be easy to use without needing complicated steps or maneuvers. Better yet, the microscope should allow for one-handed operations, so you can manipulate the specimen with one hand and the microscope with the other.
The digital microscope should also come with an instruction manual that is easy to read and follow. If the microscope is battery powered, the battery should last long, and ideally be rechargeable. It should also come with all the cables you’ll need, like charging cables, USB cables, and the like.
Even better if the microscope camera is durable and water-resistant, so you can observe live specimens and microorganisms in their natural habitats. Finally, the illumination system should be bright, energy efficient, and adjustable.
How to use an iPhone microscope
There are quite a few ways you can use an iPhone microscope:
If you fancy the DIY approach, for instance, you can try using rubber and tape to attach the microscope to your phone. This is certainly cheap, and easy to remove once you’re done.
Or, if you prefer a more stable and convenient method, use an attachment mount in a streamlined 3D design, ideally one with a decent slide holder. It may cost extra if the microscope you purchase doesn’t readily come with the mount, and it takes a bit more effort to disassemble everytime you need to use your phone, but it’s safer to use overall, especially in the field.
Mounting the lenses
Typically, smartphone microscopes make use of a set of glass beads or lenses, which serve as the objectives, each with a specific magnification power. To use them, pick the bead with the magnification level you need, push it into the microscope’s plastic housing until the bead and housing are flush with each other.
Make sure that you have a proper lens placement so that you won’t have any issue with focus, which will be a lot more noticeable when looking at your camera. If, after multiple adjustments, there are still dark spots or blurry images, try rubbing the bead with alcohol in order to clean it. If that doesn’t work, remove the bead and replace it with another.
If you are new to using smartphone microscopes, start with a relatively low magnification power, let’s say around 100x magnification using your 3mm glass beads or lenses. Get accustomed to the microscope’s control knobs, let your eyes adjust to the viewing field, experiment with your specimen, and once you feel ready, move up to higher magnifications.
Remember, higher magnification levels, especially starting at 1000x, are significantly more sensitive, so it will be harder to find the right focus point, brightness, and image clarity that you need to view the specimen in proper detail.
At the end of the day, if you don’t want to feel overwhelmed with the task of finding the best iPhone microscope on the market, focus on prioritizing the most important factors we listed above, and look for a microscope that perfectly meets all your specific needs and requirements.
Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time and would appreciate a reliable recommendation from experts, check out the Sky Basic Handheld Wireless Digital Microscope. It’s one of the most popular microscopes for iPhones this year, and users love it for many good reasons:
It’s a wireless, handheld microscope that offers a magnification range of 50x to 1000x, it has a 33 foot reach for streaming live footage, it comes with a high quality, high definition 1080P 2MP digital camera, and it’s compatible with Android, Windows, and iPhone devices.
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