difference you will likely notice is the low price of the SE -
even though it includes the tripod and XLT coatings.
Operationally there have been big
changes. The 8i SE does not have Quick Align or GPS Align
options. The new
Auto Two Star
Alignment is similar to the original
Auto Align, but the user must manually point to the first of
the two alignment stars. This is to bypass the original Auto
Align's requirement to start with the scope pointed north and level.
Celestron removed the requirement to point north and level to avoid
paying Meade 8% of the sales price of the scope (approximately $125
for the N8i). This is one of the reasons the N8i SE is less
expensive than the N8i. All other alignment options remain the same.
To align a NexStar 8i SE indoors for testing, or outdoors for
daytime use, read
It should also be noted that the NexStar 8i Special
Edition is not compatible with hand control
version 2.2 (the version shipped with the 5i/8i). All programs (PC
and PDA astronomy software) that are compatible with the
NexStar 5i/8i and NexStar GPS models are compatible with
the NexStar 8i Special Edition.