It seems to equate to the price of a Nexstar 8SE, but are the optics as good?
First let me say Hello and to Cloudy Nights.
To answer your question: The Nexstar 8SE has very different optics.
The Meade is a 120mm F/5.8 achromat with a 2 inch rack and pinion focuser. This is a telescope designed for low power and medium power viewing of deep space objects and not a scope one would choose if viewing the planets and observing double stars was a priority. It is also not a telescope one would normally choose for astrophotography.
The primary optical issue with the scope is that it is fast focal ratio achromat. The issue with refractors is chromatic aberration, they do not focus all colors to the same point. If the green is in focus, then the red and blue are out of focus. At higher magnifications this can create purple halos around stars and degrade the image of the planets.
The amount of chromatic aberration present depends on a number of factors, the aperture, the focal ratio as well as the glass types chosen for the design. Very expensive refractors use very expensive glasses and provide essentially perfect color correction.
This Meade 120mm x 700mm (F/5.8) is a relatively large, relative fast achromat. Chromatic aberration in greater with larger apertures and faster focal ratios. The achromat is a combination of two relatively inexpensive glasses, crown and flint, and a good deal of chromatic aberration is to be expected.
At low powers, chromatic aberration is not much of a problem but at the higher magnifications used for viewing the planets and the like, it smears the image, resulting a loss of detail, rather seriously with a scope like this. One could see the basics but for this the Nexstar 8SE would be a much better choice.
That's the Meade 120mm. The Nexstar 8SE is a Schmidt Cassegrain. It uses mirrors and a thin corrector plane, chromatic aberration is not an issue. With it's 8 inch aperture, it collects about 2.5 times the light of the 120mm and offers about 70% greater resolution. It has it's own issues with the central obstruction but overally, this is a much better scope at higher magnifications.
It's 2000mm focal length limits the field of view in comparison to the Meade 120mm. With the right 2 inch eyepieces and diagonal, the Meade would provide a 3.76 degree field of view, the Nexstar 8SE, a 1.31 field of view. With 1.25 inch eyepieces, the Meade would provide a 2.2 degree TFoV, the Nexstar, about 0.77 degrees.
Most objects are small so this is not a major limitation for the SCT but if you want to see the Pleiades as a whole, it won't happen in the Nexstar 8.
I see the Meade LX-85 R5 as a relatively inexpensive scope, mostly you are paying for the mount. With the Nexstar 8SE, the scope is better but themount is probably not as robust.