Before you even decide on a particular model of telescope that you want, you will be tempted to read the reviews that other users have written about the products they have used. Doing such a calculated activity will ensure that you do not make a wrong choice and then are left grumbling about how you could have bought something else if only you'd known better. There are numerous telescope users around the world and you will easily find reviews in print publications or on websites dedicated to astronomy.
To decide upon a model for purchase after reading a review also means that you must understand the difference between a good review and a bad review. Good reviews always list the pros and cons of a device and not just sing its praises. A reviewer must be able to tell you what the instrument is capable of in honest and not judgmental terms. Additionally, the review should incorporate feedback for both the amateur and the professional.
Several popular astronomy websites provide detailed reviews of telescopes and these reviews can be viewed on the web pages. Expert reviewers of telescopes write reviews that can be taken at their word and can be used as references when making a decision about an impending purchase.
Print publication dedicated to astronomy also carry interesting information and reviews and it is advisable for a first-time buyer to refer to such magazines as well before taking any hasty decisions. These magazines are a wealth of information on past and present telescopes, aimed at collectors and beginners, as well as products yet to be released into the market. If for some reason you are unable to find the review that you are looking for, for a particular product, all you have to do is call or mail them and they will include the required reviews in their following issues.
The growth of the Internet has spawned several blogs, that are also a good source for reviews that are not limited to just the expert writers but also to those who use them at the ground level. Any layman with a simple interest in the topic can post his or her views on any telescope and these views will be accessible to other laypersons like you or me. Queries can also be posted, and will probably be answered by a motley crowd on the blog itself.
However, since these sites contain a lot of unchecked, unverified content, if you trust solely on a blogging site, you may be taking a grave risk. These blogs are merely opinions and not reviews by the experts. Although the accounts may be accurate, yet they may not really be a general observation but an individual instrument. The reviewers' credentials, thus, are extremely important. If the reviewer himself is uncertain about what is being written, you may be in for a rude shock if you go by such a review alone.
Reviews, therefore, are a powerful tool for influencing people's attitude towards a product, whether for a first-time buyer or a professional stargazer.