I realize that this is an old thread, but I am new here and thought I would weigh in. Last summer, I wanted a telescope for our homeschooled children that would show the planets clearly, and wanted the best bang for my buck under $200. I settled on a Meade refractor, the Polaris EQ 80. It has slow motion controls in both axes so once you have the objective centered in the eyepiece (and the equatorial mount properly set) you just rotate one knob as needed to track it. I ended up investing in a set of Celestron lunar and planetary filters, a right ascension motor and a carrying bag that put the total up to about $300, but all were worthwhile purchases. With the 6.3mm eyepiece, you get 143x which is sufficient to see some details in Jupiter’s belts as well as the Great Red Spot, Cassini’s Division in Saturn’s Rings, and the polar caps and larger surface features such as Syrtis Major and Hellas on Mars during this summer’s opposition. Even their $60 70mm altazimuth Meade Infinity model does a nice job with very good optics. Deep sky objects such as M81, M82, and nebulas and globular clusters show up surprisingly well. It’s easy to overpay for a glorified toy, but with a little research and patience, a quality instrument can be found in your price range. Hope this helps!