The Next Generation collimator measures just 102mm long and is very light compared to other models. These characteristics result in minimal deflection of your focuser, which is important with cheaper telescopes. For owners of 2-inch focusers, a 1.25 to 2-inch adaptor is included.
The collimator has a variable brightness beam. By turning a ring on the end of the casing you can select ‘off’, plus seven levels of brightness – a nice feature as the brightest beams can dazzle at night (although the brighter settings did make collimation possible during daylight). At its brightest, the beam was distorted, but at lower powers it was perfectly round and really quite compact.
The beam was almost perfectly aligned in the casing, which is good since the adjustment holes had been sealed up. With gentle handling though, there should be no need for adjustment. The reflected beam strikes a white printed screen angled at 45°. This functioned effectively at night, but was not so clear for daylight use.
The battery access cap is sealed with a rubber O-ring to keep out dirt. We had to fiddle around quite a bit to get the switch to function properly – it felt a little sloppy in use. If it had a diameter slightly larger than the body, it would be easier to operate – especially with gloves. But it has a very good beam pattern at low powers and excellent adjustable brightness.