Update for the gang. Skywatcher GTI arrived very late on Monday thanks to all of the Black Friday items sent with 2-day shipping. So far I've had 10 minutes solar (with a Herschal wedge on my refractor), 2 minutes last night to look at the moon (clouds rolled in), and a half hour this morning on stars. I'll post a review once I get more familiar with everything but I can say that I am Very Happy so far.
At this price point (and even with overseas shipping to get it here for the holidays) I think this is a definite Must Buy for everyone except hard-core APers (and they might put out a software update that allows you to use a EQ wedge). But again, at this price and with the ability to control it wirelessly why not buy it as a second mount for visual? I also hope to have a chance to test it with the new Revolution Imager R2; with the GTI's WiFi I might be able to sit inside during the cold Michigan winters and still get in some Big Sky Hunting.
<> I can say that the packaging is top-notch. There are many bits and pieces but everything stayed where it was supposed to.
<> The fit and finish of all of the components is very good.
<> A couple of people have wondered about the weight limit, given the small size of the mount. I have no concerns about hanging my scopes off of it although the connection to the top of the stand tube uses three set screws instead of a more beefy 3/8 bolt. We'll have to see if this causes problems down the road.
<> The WiFi and associated iPhone app is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!! Best advancement in the industry in years. It grabbed Lat/Long from the phone with no problem. The app controls worked quite well, it is very easy to change slew speeds, and finding objects in the list is so much easier than using a hand controller. The WiFi range was also perfectly acceptable outside. I'll test going through walls in the near future.
<> With my limited testing I found the tracking, in sidereal, SOLAR! and lunar to be acceptable. There was some drift in solar but it is way better than no tracking, and again my testing was limited and I had only roughly balanced my long Vixen 70mm scope.
<> The tripod is very sturdy and I am impressed. It will certainly support the 11lb (edit, not kg) and I was able to hang my long 70mm off of it with no problem. I also stuck a 100mm Mak on it and slewed it around with no problem.
<> The motors are nice and quiet, with anything below speed 5 being almost silent (at least to my ears, warmly inside my parka hood). This is a happy change from the C-company's grindy noisy marble-chewing gears.
<> Compatibility with my wooden Oberwerk tripod is only good due to an Oberwerk design feature. The included stand tube has a wider base and fits on top of the depression in the tripod baseplate better than the GTI does. The GTI itself isn't quite wide enough to straddle the depression so I bought a large-radius washer that should let me match height.
<> The only minor problem I noticed is that a couple of metal flakes came out of the 3/8-16 bolt holes and the tripod legs the first time I took things apart, but this is really just an awareness item and really not unexpected at this price-point. Just dry-fit everything in the garage or outside, but not on the carpet or near your optics.
<> I am also still figuring out how much to finger-tighten the Alt and Az set screws after leveling. I feel like I've had them maybe a quarter turn too tight and the motor sounded unhappy. This is probably just a familiarity thing.
<> I bought the package that included a 102mm Mak. I am pleased with the views (especially the moon, wow!) and the included EPs are acceptable at this price point. The green mini-Vixen dovetail has three indentations for the set screw, which is a nice touch.
Edit - after reading comments about AP in the GTI thread on SGL and the fact that the camera position is offset from the center of rotation I realized that one can attach an L bracket to the GTI 'upside down and flipped' such that the L extends over the top of the GTI. This would allow the camera to be positioned directly above the center of rotation.
Finally, thanks to 365Astronomy for shipping it so promptly. This review used a mount and scope purchased at market price.
Edit - fixed kg / lb mixup.
Edit - added a thought about mounting the L bracket for AP
Edited by BinoGuy, 29 November 2017 - 11:17 AM.