Well, I got the telescope early this week, and of course it's been mostly cloudy since. It's even snowing right now.
First Impressions - The telescope arrived well packed and damage free. It assembled quickly and easily. It looks impressive, not toy-like at all. The tripod seems quite sturdy. I also got a GSO 2" diagonal, so I installed it right away, without trying the included 45* 1.25" prism.
My main concern was that it wouldn't balance when pointed toward the zenith. I loaded my 30mm 82* Explore Scieintific eyepiece into the GSO diagonal and tipped it up, and it held. This is mainly due to the altitude bearing being set from the factory very tight. While this seems to prevent the scope from flopping backwards when pointed up, it also makes for stiff pointing of the scope. It is definitely not like swinging my Obsession around. I have the scope installed forward in the rings to balance heavy eyepieces, but the scope still balances with no eyepiece installed.
The supplied red dot finder was easy to adjust to align with the telescope, and so far has stayed in adjustment. It has a dimming function, but I suspect it will still be brighter than I would like for a dark site. I may consider mounting a Telrad, or maybe opening the red-dot and seeing where I can add a resistor in to dim it down.
I did get it outside for a couple minutes on Tuesday before all the holes in the clouds closed up, and got a look at open cluster M38 (I think) in Auriga. It was visible as a shiny spot on the sky. I did not notice any chromatic aberration on stars that were visible. Everything looked good, really.
The next night I did all the things i wasn't supposed to do with a telescope like this for a torture test. I spent some time on a very thin crescent moon. I was very pleasantly surprised at the results of this. I tried almost all my eyepieces, from 30mm all the way to 4.7mm w/ a 2X barlow. They all came to focus, and all showed good detail on the lunar surface. The crescent was so small, there wasnt' too much to see, but what was there was reasonably nice, even up to 256x.
I then turned to Sirius, which appeared as a rainbow of colors on a blue disc. That was disappointing, but not unexpected, so I took the barlow off, and put the 4.7mm back in; maybe a bit better, but still not very stellar. At that point, the clouds rolled in again.
So very low power, nice views of stars as expected. Very high power, not so nice views of stars, again as expected. But good high power views of the moon are an unexpected surprise.
In use, the scope was a bit tight and sticky to point, making it difficult sometimes to get right on the target, but the slow-motion controls worked well to dial it in and track. While I had expected to point the scope directly and use the hand controls only for fine centering and tracking, changing my approach to getting it roughly in the right area, then using the hand controls to align while looking through the red dot works well. Sweeping in Azimuth is easy; sweeping in altitude maybe not so much. The focuser worked smoothly; really, it exceeded my expectations.
The eyepiece tray attaches with 3 loose thumbscrews, from the bottom, which I'm a little disappointed in. It takes a bit of time, and I can see them getting lost easily. I would have preferred some sort of captive fastener that cant' get lost.
So far, I'm happy with the telescope. I can easily lift the whole thing up fully assembled and walk out my door with it. It has already allowed me to see things I would not have seen with my other telescopes; not because it has superior optics, but because I would not have taken either of my other telescopes out to look at the crescent moon or a star cluster for just a few minutes.