SmartMicroScope 5M vs. Dino-Lite USB line of 5 megapixel handheld digital microscopes

A digital microscope for students has become a popular classroom technology for all ages, from PreK through college.  The SmartMicroScope 5M and Dino-Lite digital microscopes are two of the best educational technology solutions in the handheld digital microscope space. In this report, we’re comparing the features of these two digital microscope products to bring you a final recommendation. We paid special attention to the microscopes’ suitability to the classroom and educational purposes. So, if you’d like to know the difference between these two digital microscopes, read our comparison:


SmartMicroScope 5M

SmartMicroScope 5M has a single-focus dial which makes it possible to get high-definition, crystal-clear image. It enables zooming and undistorted color images. It also has 6 built-in LED lights which can be controlled by a dial on the digital microscope.

The magnification rate of the 5 megapixel microscope camera is 10x to 200x. It can take photos and videos up to a 2592 x 1944 resolution. This chromebook microscope camera can be streamed live on computer devices and be presented to all students at the same time.

It’s powered via USB 2.0 and is compatible with all major operating systems: Windows XP – 10, Mac OS 10.7 and up, Linux, and Chrome.

DinoLite AM7115MZT

DinoLite digital microscope device also has a 5M camera with the ability of 10x to 240x magnification. It can capture images with a resolution of up to 2592 x 1944. It has 8 white LED lights and uses polarization to reduce glare on reflective surfaces. Unlike SmartMicroScope 5M, it’s a handheld device with aluminum alloy.

SmartMicroScope 5M DinoLite AM7115MZT
Single-focus dial Single-focus dial
10x to 200x magnification 10x – 50x, 240x magnification
Zooming, recording, vivid colors Polarization
6 LED lights 8 LED lights
5 megapixel camera 5 megapixel camera
Images up to 2592 x 1944 Images up to 2592 x 1944
Price: $269 Price: $995


SmartMicroScope 5M features both a cloud-based microscope software that requires no prior installation and installed software for PC and Mac. The newest software is the online SmartMicroScope Online Viewer and the log in credentials are included in the digital microscope package. This software is compatible with Chromebook, Mac and PC. In order to use it, you just go to the website and log in to take pictures, look at live images, or record videos.  The installed software for PC and Mac comes on a CD with the digital microscope or can be downloaded from the website:

DinoLite uses a CD with all the necessary software and drivers required for it to work. You can also download these drivers from the DinoLite website. It’s not a Chromebook microscope, so you’ll have to use it either on a Mac or PC.

When you install the DinoLite microscope software, you can view and record images, but you’ll still have to install it on every computer where you’re planning on using it.

SmartMicroScope 5M DinoLite digital microscope
Cloud-based, no-installation software CD installation for software and drivers
Compatible with Chromebook, Mac and PC Compatible with Windows and Mac
Installed software on PC and Mac  
CD and site license included  
Download available on website  


SmartMicroScope 5M offers 5-year warranty, while DinoLite offers 2 years of warranty.

With both microscopes, you can contact free US customer support, which will help you with any problems you may come across, hardware or software-wise.

Educational Support

Teaching Materials:

Digital microscope teaching materials are provided with each SmartMicroScope 5M through the Online Learning Portal:

Elementary digital microscope investigations for elementary science are included.  20 digital microscope activities in the 5E model are aligned to NGSS and over twenty state science education standards. 
More information:

Middle school science digital microscope activities are also included.  The digital microscope investigations for middle school science are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and over 20 state science education standards.  There are 20 digital microscope investigations written in the 5E model. 
More information:

High school biology digital microscope microscope activities include Exploring Cell Structure and Function, Isolating Bacteria from a Sample, DNA Extraction, Plant Hormones and more.  These 20 digital microscope investigations for biology written in the 5E model are an easy way to implement technology in your biology classroom.  Each Biology Investigation is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and over 20 state science education standards. More information:

DinoLite offers no teaching materials to support education.

SmartMicroScope 5M DinoLite digital microscope
Elementary Investigations No
Middle School Science Investigations No
Biology Investigations No
Aligned to NGSS No
Aligned to over 20 state standards No

Chromebook Support:

SmartMicroScope 5M is a perfect classroom digital microscope because it includes a license for our SmartMicroScope Online Viewer digital microscope software.  This web app software provides advanced features with no software install.  Simply log in to the website and log in.  In 2018, more than 60% of devices sold to the US Education market were Chromebooks, so chromebook compatibility is very important.

DinoLite digital microscopes, on the other hand, offer no app for chromebooks so features like measurement, annotation and assessment are not available on chromebook as they are with the SmartMicroScope 5M. 

SmartMicroScope 5M DinoLite digital microscope
Take HD pictures on chromebook No
Take HD videos on chromebook No
Measure on chromebook No
Easily Annotate on chromebook No
Easily Assess on chromebook No

Summary recommendation

SmartMicroScope 5M is definitely a better choice for a school microscope. It’s significantly less expensive than DinoLite, features similar hardware, but offers a chromebook, cloud-based microscope software and offers digital microscope teaching materials at no additional cost. This is especially convenient if you’re switching classrooms or if you want to be sure that you’ll be able to use the microscope software anytime, anywhere.

For an elementary digital microscope, SmartMicroScope 5M features all the necessary hardware and specs and provides a smooth and high-quality experience of using a microscope in early education.

It’s also a perfect Biology microscope because it allows you to compare two microscope images side by side and measure specimens.

SmartMicroScope 5M is an educational microscope with a straightforward plug and play technology. It’s a reliable, educational STEM tool perfectly tailored to the US curriculum.

The SmartMicroScope 5M Online Viewer enables students and teachers to connect this chromebook digital microscope directly to their school devices and access the online web app for digital microscopes. Here, you can take HD photos, magnify them, record videos (HD, magnified), compare side-by-side or measure specimens.

SmartMicroScope 5M is the perfect Middle School microscope because the online platform enables all students to look at the live image all at once, instead of approaching a traditional microscope one eye at a time. When the image is projected on the screen for all to see, it’s very easy to participate in discussions and promote cooperation and collective deduction.

Every SmartMicroScope 5M also comes with microscope software teaching materials included. Learn more:

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