SMARTOSCOPE VARIO universal smartphone adapter review by Martin Tomas


I am a wildlife guide, so my plans for the Smartoscope Vario adapter usage were easy: to offer my clients to do their own phonescoping pics without resetting my first adapter (Novagrade) again and again. When I got it into my hands, I was curious about the build quality. It is simply perfect. It is made of some lightweight metal and everything works as it should. The only thing you should remember is to pair the adapter with a specific eyepiece ring.



Thanks to Rob from Kowa, I have received two of them. One Kowa ring for my Prominars 883 and 99A and one adjustable from Smartoscope tagged UR-4. I have started with the Kowa’s one, because it is smaller and makes the complete adapter more compact. This is one thing I have recognized very fast as an advantage against my Novagrade, which is pretty bulky, especially if you keep your adapter on your phone in your pocket. The second very nice thing is how easy you can setup the adapter for a particular smartphone lens.


You fix a body of your phone, and then you move with the lens adapter only using one screw. And here is also one very big advantage against many other adapters, my beloved Novagrade including. These days, not only top models of phones have more than two cameras, and designers also changed their position from mostly horizontal to vertical. My Novagrade is not able to get to 10x tele lens. With Smartoscope Vario it is a piece of cake. So now the Smartoscope is not only helping my customers to get their wildlife phonescoping photos, but allowing me to push the limits of S22 Ultra and Kowa 99A combination to huge 6900mm up to 16100mm focal lengths (if you know, how to use these tricky long focal length setups, it can be helpful for photography of very shy animal species). The only thing I am missing from my Novagrade adapter is the simplicity of a fixing an eyepiece ring to a scope.


I still haven't gotten used to putting on the fixed ring on my scope. But if you are used to it from your Phoneskope or other adapters like this, you’ll not recognize any troubles. But! We shouldn’t forget the UR-4 ring! I was not using this ring for pretty long time. It is not as simple as Novagrade, it is not as tiny as the Kowa ring for Smartoscope. However, my phonescoping astrophotography attempts pushed me to try the UR-4. And yes, it brings good results.


Smartoscope Vario with the UR-4 ring fits much better than other adapters or rings on my TeleVue Delos astro eyepieces with a curvy design. And when you use the scope with the best optics (Kowa), you can’t use anything else than the best astro eyepieces from TeleVue. With Smartoscope Vario you are able to use all the lenses on your smartphone, doesn’t matter where is their position, you can adjust it. So now I can easily switch between main lens I am using to photograph distant nebulas and galaxies and 10x tele providing me crazy magnification for planetary and moon photos. And believe me, your Kowa scope is a very capable astronomical refractor widening our observation fun from daylight to nighttime! Don’t worry, there are many cloudy and rainy nights during one year, so you’ll have some time for your family ? For this new level of phonescoping you need a good adapter only. And the Smartoscope Vario is the one. One to rule them all! All situations. I simply love it.


  • Great build quality
  • Very easy to use
  • Allows easy usage of all lenses on your phone
  • You can choose fixing ring according to your preference
  • Not as bulky as comparable rivals
  • Good for astrophotograhy
  • Made in Austria, not China, if you care


  • Pricey … but if you count, you’ll easily have it for loooong time, it is cheap then
  • I would like to have the adjustable UR ring twice deeper to get a perfect fit to different astro eyepieces

One last wish:

- If some producer (maybe Smartoscope) will combine the Smartoscope Vario body, with the screwing adjustable fit system of Novagrade, with a possibility to get a deeper eyepiece ring to fit astroeyepieces, such a smartphone adapter will not be a king of phonescoping. It will be the emperor!!!