Andonstar AD407

7.9

Features

8.0/10

Image Quality

8.5/10

Build Quality

6.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Large, clear display.
  • Excellent zoom range.
  • Plenty of working distance.
  • Records photos & videos to SD card.

Cons

  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Comes without SD card & remote batteries.
Andonstar AD407 3D HDMI Soldering Digital Microscope with...
69 Reviews
Andonstar AD407 3D HDMI Soldering Digital Microscope with...
  • The parcel will be shipped from WC, you will receive parcel in 5-7 business days.
  • 1080( 60f/s) and has HDMI output,High object distance,depth of field is quite well.
  • UV filter, protect the lens from being dirty or damaged during soldering.

When it comes to soldering small SMD components, inspecting PCBs or even doing things like setting stones in jewelry, a digital microscope is a useful tool. They let you work on solder joints and components that are otherwise hard to see with the naked eye.

Where earlier versions of digital microscopes had to be connected to a computer using USB, they now also come with built-in screens. This lets you use them as a stand-alone device that does not even need to be connected to a PC.

One example of such a device is the Andonstar AD407. This is a digital microscope mainly used for SMD work. It is the successor of the popular Andonstar ADSM302. It comes with a variety of features that make soldering SMD components a lot easier.

Let’s see if it is worth your money and how it compares to the ADSM302!

Info icon
Full disclosure: Andonstar has provided this product for me to review, free of charge. While my goal is still to provide you with an honest and objective review, I do think this is something that you should be aware of.

Unboxing all of the parts of the Andonstar AD407.

Unboxing

The box of the Andonstar AD407 contains the following:

  • Base stand
  • Adjustable arm
  • Optical stack (consisting of the screen and the lens)
  • UV filter (preinstalled on the lens)
  • Small PCB clamps
  • IR Remote (2*AAA batteries NOT included)
  • Mini HDMI -> HDMI cable
  • Switch cable
  • Power adapter
  • Manual
Technical Details
Microscope type Video
Magnification Up to 270x (measured on a 27″ screen)
Minimum focus distance 5 cm
HDMI Video output UHD 2880 x 2160 (24 fps)
FHD 1920 x 1080 (60 fps/30 fps)
HD 1280 x 720 (120 fps)
Video format MP4
Photo resolution Max. 4032*3024
Photo format JPG
Storage Micro-SD card, max 32GB (NOT included)
Built-in display size 7″
Light source 2 LED spots
Power source 5V DC
Stand dimensions 200 x 120 x 190 mm
Weight 1.6 kg

Assembly

Before you can use the AD407, you first need to assemble the parts together. This may sound daunting, but it is relatively simple and straightforward. It is a matter of screwing in a couple of bolts, clamping parts in place and plugging in the cables. Here’s a quick how-to:

Assembling the parts of a digital microscope.
Bolt the arm to the stand using the included hardware.
A hand dropping in the objective lens/screen assembly of a digital microscope during installation.
Carefully lower the screen/lens assembly into the clamp.
Tightening thumbscrews to clamp the lens on a digital microscope with LCD screen.
Tighten the thumbscrews.

After this, you only have to plug in the cables, tear the protective film off of the LCD, and you are ready to go.

The box also contains a set of spring-loaded PCB clamps that you can attach to the base. These aren’t mentioned anywhere in the assembly instructions or manual, but you can install them as follows:

A screwdriver being used to install the PCB holding clamps on a SMD soldering digital microscope.

The main features of the microscope

Adjustable arm

The LCD screen and lens are mounted on an adjustable arm. This arm not only lets you move the lens up and down, but you can also tilt it forwards and backwards. You can use this for when need more vertical working area than you would have with the lens right above your workpiece (more info on this later).

The adjustable arm of the AD407 microscope not tilted at all.

The adjustable arm of the AD407 microscope tilted backwards.

The AD407 microscope is marketed as a “3D” microscope, with the 3D effect coming from tilting the camera back and seeing more depth in the object, instead of viewing it straight from the top.

Now, I must admit that it is useful to view a workpiece from an angle sometimes. But you can also place the workpiece at an angle for that, under any digital microscope. For a true 3D microscope you need one with multiple lenses (binocular).

Vertical working space

With the lens raised all the way to the top of the arm, there is about 80 mm of working space between the lens and the stand. From that, you will also have to subtract the height of the circuit board or whatever else you are working on.

A ruler held next to the lens of a microscope to indicate the maximum vertical working distance.

This is not a whole lot of space, but there are ways to increase it. By tilting the arm back, for example, or by using the method in the next section.

Alternative mounting of the lens

Another way to increase the working space is to install the lens by clamping it at the bottom, instead of at the top. The bottom of the lens has a fixed area that the thumbscrews can grab on to.

A close-up of mounting the lens of an Andonstar microscope in a higher position for more vertical working space.

This more than doubles the working distance to 166 mm.

I am not sure if this is officially recommended, as the manual doesn’t mention anything about it, but I have found it to work just fine.

The only downside I experienced with this is that the microscope falls over backwards more easily when you tilt the arm back with the lens in this position. This is because the center of gravity is now shifted further back, and the aluminium base itself does not weigh that much.

A digital microscope tilting over backwards because its center of gravity is too far back.

This is probably not something you will run into often, since there is not much need to tilt the arm back when you have this much vertical working space.

Focus distance vs. field of view

Adjusting the zoom and focus of the microscope is done by twisting the lens shaft and raising or lowering the lens on the arm. By doing this, you change the focus distance and field of view.

For each height you can set the lens to (focus distance), there is a specific size area (field of view) visible on the microscope LCD screen. I have listed them below, so that you can get an idea of how big of an area you can view at once under the microscope.

Height Focus distance Field of view
Min. height 50 mm ~4 * 2 mm
Max. height 80 mm ~ 12.5 * 7 mm
Max. height – alternate lens mounting 166 mm ~ 25.5 * 14 mm

A rules held under the lens of a microscope, visible on the built-in screen, to indicate the horizontal field of view.

Base

The base stand of the AD407 is unfortunately a bit too lightweight. This results in the device tipping over backwards when you tilt the microscope arm back too far. Not ideal, and in that situation you will need to hold the base down by hand to prevent this.

The base also comes with two optional clamps that you can use to hold circuit boards in place. I did not find myself using them much, because they reduce the size of the horizontal work area.

A close-up of a circuit board held under PCB clamps and lighted up by LED lights.

As for the adjustable LED lights on the stand, these are quite useful. You will need a good bit of light on your workpiece to have it be visible through the microscope, and these lights let you do that. The flexible arms of the lights are easily adjustable, but also stay in place well.

The brightness of the LEDs is adjustable in 8 steps through the wired switch on the power cable.

Close-up of a wired remote control that can be used to adjust LED brightness.

Image quality

The Andonstar AD407 has three different methods through which you can interact with the output image.

  • The built-in 7″ LCD screen.
  • On an external screen, through the HDMI output port.
  • Save images or videos on a SD card (not included).

They do not all have the same quality, so I will go over them separately.

The built-in 7″ LCD screen

The screen is probably the most valuable asset of this digital microscope. With its 7″ diagonal it is larger than the screen of the ADSM302 (which has a 5″ screen) and makes it easy to see small details.

Close up of the 7" LCD screen of a digital microscope.

I mainly tested the microscope with SMD soldering, and for that, this screen works great. It found it to be big enough and did not need to connect the microscope up to a larger, external monitor. This is something that is sometimes necessary when working with smaller built-in monitors.

The LCD screen is quite responsive, meaning that it responds fast to what is happening under the lens. This is especially important when soldering, as you don’t want a delay between what you are doing under the lens and what you are seeing on the screen.

The viewing angle of the screen is good as well. You don’t have to sit exactly in front of it to see what is going on. When looking from the sides or the top/bottom, the screen is still clear.

Angled view of the LCD screen, with the content still clearly visible.

In terms of brightness, there is nothing to complain about either. With the default settings, objects under the lens are clearly visible on the screen. If something does happen to be too dark or too light, you can adjust the exposure settings in the software, or adjust the brightness of the LEDs that light up the workpiece.

HDMI output

If you do want to see your work on a larger screen and in a higher resolution, you can use the HDMI output port. There is no setup involved. Simply plug the included HDMI cable into the microscope and the other end in your monitor, and you are good to go.

The HDMI output looks good and provides you with more detail than the built-in screen, which has a 1024×600 resolution. But usually the built-in screen is more than sufficient just by itself.

When using the HDMI output, the screen on the microscope itself still works. So you can use two screens at the same time. This was not possible on the ADSM302. There you could only use either the built-in screen, or an external one.

Exporting photos/videos to the SD card

If you want to take images or videos for later use, you can store them on a (non-included) SD card. This is done automatically when you press any of the record buttons on the remote or microscope.

Photos

The quality of the photos is okay. They tend to be less sharp and more noisy than what you actually see on the built-in screen.

Images have a 4032*3024 (12 megapixel) resolution, despite the microscope only using a 4MP sensor. This means that images get upscaled to a higher resolution and do not have the same detail as a true 12MP image would.

Photo examples

You can click these to see the full resolution file.

Pins on a SMD micro-USB connector.

Example image taken with an Andonstar AD407 microscope.

Close-up of a SMD LED.

A long row of pins on a PCB, seen at an angle and upside down.
As you can see, when you tilt the lens back, you actually see things upside down. An option to flip the image would have been useful.

Another limitation of the images is that they are not taken from the ‘full’ screen. Instead, the frame is cut off at the sides and reduced to an image with a 4:3 aspect ratio (as opposed to the 16:9 ratio of the screen). Keep this in mind when framing your shots.

Videos

Aside from storing photos on the SD card, you can also make videos of what is visible under the microscope. They appear to be of better quality than the still images. With videos, you also have several resolutions and framerates to choose from.

The video output menu on a AD407 microscope.

You can do this in the on-screen menu of the microscope. If you want maximum resolution, you can pick the UHDP24 option (2880 x 2160 – 24 fps). If a high frame rate is more important to you, you have the choose HDP120 (1280 x 720 – 120 fps). As a solid middle ground, there is FHDP60 (1920 x 1080 – 60 fps).

As you can see, videos are saved in the full 16:9 aspect ratio, so no information gets cropped off like with images.

The video output format is limited to MP4 only, so if you want to work with MPG, WEBM or a different format, you must first convert the video file in third party software.

Software options

The software of the microscope does what it is supposed to do. There are several settings for controlling the video output (resolution/frame rate, output frequency, time stamp) and some that also alter the image on the built-in screen (3x digital zoom and exposure control).

The 3x digital zoom is probably the most useful feature here. Because the 4 megapixel CMOS sensor resolution is a lot higher than the 1024×600 resolution of the built-in LCD screen, you can zoom in without any loss in detail on the screen.

In order to properly store the settings, it is essential to ‘soft’ shutdown the microscope with the on/off button under the LCD screen. If you ‘hard’ shutdown by cutting the power using the cable switch, any changed settings do not get stored.

The main options menu on the LCD screen of the Andonstar microscope.
Video options. Not shown are the contrast and color options on page 2.
The settings menu on the Andonstar AD407.
Global settings.

Accessories

The Andonstar AD407 comes with several accessories that help improve your experience with the microscope.

Remote

The included remote is useful for making a photo (or video) without touching the buttons under the LCD screen. Using the buttons can cause movement, resulting in a blurry image. By using the remote you will not have this problem.

Similarly, you can use the remote to change the exposure settings without having to dive into the settings menu, and to adjust the digital zoom without using the hardware buttons. It is a useful addition to the microscope, but if you only use the microscope for SMD soldering you will likely not be using the remote much.

A black remote with a variety of buttons.

One downside of the remote is that (at least on my unit) I need to point the remote exactly at the IR receiver in order for it to work. So occasionally I need to re-aim and press the button again if nothing happens.

UV filter

Also included is a UV filter. It is not used to filter out UV light however. Its main purpose is to protect the front lens element from soldering smoke and accidental damage. It makes for easier cleaning than if you would have to wipe down the tiny lens itself.

An unscrewed 30mm UV filter held next to an objective lens.

Drawbacks

I have saved most of the downsides of the AD407 for this section. There are quite a few, and they are mostly related to the build quality.

  • Play in the height adjustment mechanism. The rack and pinion gear system that is used to raise and lower the microscope has wide tolerances and has some play to it. This doesn’t affect the actual use of the microscope, but it is an indicator of the overall construction quality of the device.
  • Microscope tips over when tilting the arm too far back. The base of the microscope does not way enough. When the arm that holds the LCD screen and lens gets tilted back too far, it can cause the whole device to topple back.
  • Adjustable arm is hard to adjust. A lot of force needs to be applied to the arm, in order to move it backwards or forwards. On the plus side, this means that the arm won’t accidentally move when something bumps into the microscope.
  • Messy wiring. The USB power input from the power adapter goes to the wired switch and from there it splits into two cables (one for the screen, one for the LED lights). This leads to a bit of a wire mess on your workbench.
    A single-cable design from the adapter to the microscope would have been a lot cleaner.

A mess of wires behind the AD407 microscope.

  • SD card is hard to remove. If you insert a SD card in the SD card slot, it ends up almost flush with the surface of the device. To engage the spring mechanism to eject the card, the card needs to go down even futher. So in order to remove it, you need to put in a decent bit of effort to press exactly on the card with one of your nails.

Close-up of a SD card nearly flush with the plastic of the 7" LCD screen housing.

In short, the build quality of this digital microscope could be improved in several ways. Despite that, the device is fully functional and does what it is supposed to do.

Andonstar AD407 vs ADSM302

If you are looking to buy a digital microscope with built-in screen, you might be wondering whether the Andonstar AD407 is a better option than the ADSM302. They are similar microscopes, but have a number of key differences.

Benefits of the AD407

The AD407, being the newer version, has better overall features. It comes with a bigger screen and is more responsive, making SMD soldering a lot easier. Its sensor also provides a higher resolution photos and videos than the one on the ADSM302.

Another benefit of the AD407 is the ability to use two screens (built-in and external) at the same time.

These features do come at a cost however, as the AD407 is about 20-25% more expensive than the ADSM302.

Benefits of the ADSM302

The ADSM302 on the other hand has a supposedly higher magnification. I say ‘supposedly’ because these claims should typically be taken with a grain of salt. The numbers are usually measured with digital magnification and on a large monitor. So it is more a case of blowing the image up to a large size than that the microscope actually resolves smaller details. An important difference.

A benefit that the ADSM302 does have is a higher maximum vertical working distance. About 120mm compared to the 80mm on the AD407. But with the AD407 you do have the possibility of tilting the lens backwards so that it does not get in the way. Plus you can increase the working distance by mounting the lens in a higher position on the arm, as described earlier in this review.

Model ADSM302 AD407
Max. video resolution 1080P 2160P
Max. frame rate 30 fps 120 fps
Display 5″ 7″
Display resolution
800×480 1024×600
Max. magnification (claimed) 560x 270x
Sensor 3MP 4MP
Interfaces USB, HDMI, AV HDMI

All in all, I would say that the improved features of the AD407 are worth the extra cost compared to the ADSM302.

Final verdict

Despite its flaws, the Andonstar AD407 is still one the best digital microscopes in its price range. Its build quality could be better, but in terms of features and optical qualities it provides good value. And as far as Chinese digital microscopes go, this is one the best options available right now.

Its compact size and ability to be used stand-alone without external monitor make it a practical microscope for a small electronics lab. So if you are looking for a digital microscope for 0805, 0603 or even 0402 size SMD soldering, PCB inspection, general electronics work or gemstone setting, this is an excellent choice.

Andonstar AD407 3D HDMI Soldering Digital Microscope with...
69 Reviews
Andonstar AD407 3D HDMI Soldering Digital Microscope with...
  • The parcel will be shipped from WC, you will receive parcel in 5-7 business days.
  • 1080( 60f/s) and has HDMI output,High object distance,depth of field is quite well.
  • UV filter, protect the lens from being dirty or damaged during soldering.
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