A recent short-lived member got me thinking about the issue of telescope vs binoculars for a first stargazing device again after a few years of the issue sitting dormant. I hadn't participated in the particular necroresurrected thread, so it didn't have my take on the issue. Here it is: It has been my perception that older folks are more likely to recommend binoculars than telescopes and manual telescopes vs go-to telescopes. I think most people's perspectives are colored by their experiences and not everyone has the same experiences....and these are probably based on age. I'm 40 and my first telescope was my grandfather's telescope, a bottom-of-the-line 1960s Tasco that probably went for $150 in the 1960s. That was probably a rare luxury then (metal construction?!): It would have been about the first in the long line of 60x900 alt-az scopes that were the standard first telescope for decades. I used it in the late 1980s and I'm sure got more use out of it than he did; it spent most of its life in its original box, in the packaging plastic. An entry level telescope today costs about the same $150, which is of course only about 1/4 as much money as 1960s $150. People lament that they are lower quality today and while they are right, they miss the point: being cheaper means they can be a throw-away toy, with a lower cost barrier, which is exactly what they should be to give to a kid. It is my guess/perception that 40 years ago when some of the people who today recommend binoculars were getting into astronomy, the cost barrier was higher, so people picked binoculars as lower cost subtitute entry point. And since that was their entry point, the same people recommend the same path today. I'm not/I don't. When you are 12 or 14, a telescope is a toy, not a real hobby. The instant gratification of go-to and the associated lack of depth of understanding is a positive, not a negative. Regardless of what telescope a kid starts with, if it catches-on, he'll start putting effort into it and learning about it and if it doesn't he won't. So requiring effort at the start is just an unnecessary and counterproductive barrier to entry. So if you can afford $150 on a toy that may or may not catch-on, do it! If your kid loves it, he'll have a hobby for life or maybe even a profession. If he doesn't, it goes for $20 in a yard sale with all of the other toys that eventually got abandoned and nobody cried over. No harm, no foul.