Although the Olympus FE-300 hoped to lure consumers with snazzy features like smile-detection, high ISO functionality (up to ISO 6400), and a 12 megapixel sensor, the Photography Blog found the Olympus FE-300 a little lacking in actual practice. “Around £200 (less, with Internet deals) for a good looking, stylishly designed 12 megapixel zoom compact from a well-known brand looks like a great deal on paper – almost too good to be true. And so it proves in practice. Though the Olympus FE-300 is commendably easy to use – with that now familiar ‘guide’ function on the mode wheel offering novice users reference to what is, in effect, an in-camera manual that automatically makes function selections for you – and it’s reasonably swift in operation, if not a class leader, the resultant images are what lets it down. The real bugbear here is camera shake, an inherent problem with slender camera designs that the Olympus FE-300 fails to effectively address. Bumping up the ISO simply results in detail loss and images that are unusable anyway. If you want a camera for any more than pointing and shooting – and the FE-300 doesn’t offer much more functionality than just that – you’ll be disappointed. That’s unless you really are a first time digital camera user with nothing to compare its performance to. You get what you pay for and if having a good looking compact to win the envy of your mates is more important than the resulting images, then the FE-300 is for you. But for most of us picture quality is all that matters, which means that we can only award the distinctly average Olympus FE-300 a distinctly average score.”
Furthermore, Digital Camera Review writes that “The Olympus FE-300 provides a whopping 12 megapixels of resolution, but don’t let the thought that “more is better” enter your mind when deciding about whether to buy this camera. With this camera, all that 12 megapixels gets you is large files and the ability to do a ton of cropping. Now, if you are looking for a quality built, slim, entry level, easy to use camera, then consider this camera, but realize that you’ll get average image quality.”
CNET adds that “The Olympus FE-300 distinguishes itself as one of the lightest, least-expensive 12-megapixel cameras currently available. Unfortunately, its pictures pale in comparison to those from some higher-end, lower-resolution cameras.”
Canon’s HV20 HDV is a high-def camcorder with a 2.96 megapixel CMOS image sensor, 10x optical zoom, DIGIC DV II image processor, Super-Range Optical Image Stabilization, 24p Cinema Mode, a 2.7 inch screen and HDMI ports. Trusted Reviews writes that “After a slow start with HDV, Canon is back on the form it had when the market was predominated by DV. Not only does the company now produce the best professional HDV camcorder currently available, the HX-A1, it has the most successfully realised HDV model for serious consumers as well. The HV20 may not have every feature the semi-professional might want, but it has the most important ones on offer, with excellent image quality to match.”
CNET writes “Despite our handful of gripes, the HV20 will likely be a big seller for Canon. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s among the top-selling nonbudget camcorders this year, especially if retailers drop the price to less than $1,000. The HV20′s stunning high-definition video and comfortable operation make it a great choice for nonprofessional, HD-happy videographers.”
CamcorderInfo reports ” The Canon HV20 is that rare camcorder that bursts onto the scene, and sets a new standard in its niche. This is not a perfect camcorder by any means, but it has an intelligently assembled set of features that make it a viable tool for professionals, as well as a stellar point-and-shooter for enthusiasts stepping up to HDV. The camcorder’s physical handling is just mediocre, and most people will find the top-end cams from Sony, Panasonic, and JVC rest more comfortably in their hand. Some basic controls are awkwardly placed, and the zoom rocker feels like a first draft that somehow made it into production. The HV20’s manual control suite is also far from the most robust, or independently adjustable on the market. Unlike Canon, the aforementioned manufacturers offer independent iris and shutter speed control on their HD cams, and Panasonic adds gain control to the mix.
What the Canon has that these other contenders do not is a manual control suite and interface that was designed from the ground up with the shooter in mind. A handful of key image controls are always quickly accessible in any Recording Program mode, including: focus via the dial; exposure, audio levels, End Search, iris (Av mode) and shutter speed (Tv mode) via the joystick; and white balance, Recording Program settings, and Image Effects at the top level of the menu. The HV20 adds Focus Assist at the touch of a button, which combines peaking and magnification, and makes manually focusing an HD image (on a 2.7” screen!) feasible. Once you’ve learned your way around the control interface, you’ll find controlling your image is nearly as fast as on a full-bore prosumer cam. You’re operating in a confined space on the HV20, and options are more limited, but the important features are eminently usable. Sony seems to have missed the forest for the trees by equipping the HC7 with great handling – and a terrific feature set that’s a pain in the neck to actually use.”
Sony Ericcson’s P1 is a smartphone with a 3.2 megapixel camera with 3x zoom and autofocus, a QWERTY keyboard, a 2.6 inch LCD touchscreen, WiFi, Bluetooth, 164 mb of internal memory, a Memory Stick Micro (M2) card slot, and H.264 video playback. It runs the Symbian OS 9.1 and UIQ 3.0.
PhoneArena reviewed the Sony Ericsson P1 and wrote: “We like the P1! Compared to the M600, the new P-series smartphone offers the desired high-quality camera and Wireless LAN (WiFi) which is a must in such style device. When put next to the P990, the P1 reduces the size, removes the dual-type keyboard and with the hybrid QWERTY allows for even faster text typing. P1 is not only successor of the M600, it is the successor of the P990 and it is a good one.
Its main drawback is the tri-band GSM and single-band UMTS, but if you are in the supported frequencies, P1 will give you all the bells and whistles of a UIQ phone plus very good multimedia including music and video player, FM Radio and good 3MP auto-focus camera. Alternatives are Windows Mobile Professional phones, which also have stylus-based OS and offer an environment, closer to the one on a personal computer with Windows, which has both positive and negative sides.”
GSMArena also wrote: “Summing it up, the Sony Ericsson P1 offers more than every other Sony Ericsson smartphone before. Positive changes are noticeable both in system performance and in the hardware equipment. In terms of software, the handset is identical to the previous UIQ 3 handsets and when compared to Nokia S60 smartphones it does lose only on Internet calls capabilities, which are much more developed in the latest S60 mobiles. Apart from that, the Sony Ericsson P1 could have put up a very good fight with every competing messenger device currently on the market if it were not for the inconvenient keyboard solution.”
The LG VX8550–a recent addition to the chocolate lineup–was reviewed by PhoneArena. The Chocolate 2 has a media player, a 1.3 megapixel camera with 2x digital zoom, a microSD slot that holds up to 4GB, V Cast Video, EV-DO, and “Trace Motion” (a lighting feature that interacts with the navigational wheel). The LG Chocolate 2 is available in Original Black, Black Cherry, and Blue Mint.
PhoneArena reports that, “We are overall pleased with most of the changes that have been incorporated into the new VX8550. The phone has a more stylish look to it and weighs slightly less. The Touch-Sensitive Navigational Pad has been replaced by a Navigational Wheel, but moving the wheel for accessing menu selections can be troublesome. Because of this, we recommend pressing the wheel in the up, down, left, and right direction. The main keypad now has the Send, End, and Camera buttons located at the top, and the Numeric buttons are now larger and easier to use. Music playback and Speakerphone quality have been improved by using a larger speaker that causes less distortion to be heard. Call Quality in the earpiece is clearer and also lacks any noticeable distortion. The Camera now produces better looking images, but still is limited to 1.3MP resolution and lacks a flash or autofocus.
The VX8550 is a definite upgrade from the original VX8500 Chocolate. If you liked the original, you will love this even more, but if you didn’t like the Chocolate, you should give the new version a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.”
The Casio Exilim EX-Z75 is a 7 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom, a gorgeous 2.6 inch LCD display, 8 mb of internal memory, and a SD card slot that supports SDHC. Trusted Reviews writes:
“Another outstanding pocket compact from Casio, the Exilim EX-Z75 is an ideal camera for general and social snapshot photography. It is well made, sensibly but attractively designed, very easy to use and has much better performance than its low cost would suggest. Picture quality is very good as well. It may lack a few features such as image stabilisation and an AF assist lamp, but on the whole it is excellent value for money.”