Slim, stylish stills with touch-screen controls
Eye-catching though they are, touch-sensitive displays don't often make a product more useable, especially if the screen in question is particularly small.
However, Sony seems perfectly happy to use them on its Cybershot T-series cameras, the latest of which is the T500.
As well as the touch-sensitive screen on the back, this camera inherits other design features from previous T-series models, including the slide-down lens protector at the front. Unlike some cheaper compacts, the Cybershot T500 feels robust, thanks mainly to the aluminium chassis.
By opting for a touch-sensitive display, Sony has been able to devote the entire rear of the body to the 3.5in screen. During use, however, we found ourselves yearning for physical buttons, especially when having to repeatedly jab a section of the screen in order to access a specific feature. Our review model also developed a bit of a squeak when we pressed the top left corner of the display.
The Cybershot T500 should appeal to those who like to take movies as much as still images, since it has a high-definition video recording mode (at the lower resolution of 720p), and we were impressed with the quality of our test videos. A cradle for the camera is also included, complete with an HDMI output for easy viewing on a suitably equipped television.
With its resolution of 10 megapixels, the Cybershot T500 is capable of taking reasonable photos, but overall quality was blighted by slight loss of focus towards the edges – it's something you can rectify with a bit of cropping, but that's not an option if your subject fills the whole scene. The 5x optical zoom lens lets shooters get close to the action, but photos suffered from a noticeable pincushion effect when taking snaps while the lens was zoomed in on far away subjects.
Despite its good points the main problem with the Cybershot T500 is its price. At £299 it's pretty expensive considering the problems with the photos it produced. Despite using it for some time, we never felt at home with the touch-sensitive display.
That said, the 720p video mode is definitely a bonus and the T500 is one of the more stylish compact cameras available.
The 720p video recording is great, but this is an expensive camera that produced only average photos Good points 720p video recording; stylish design; large screen Bad points Only average photos; touch-screen was frustrating; expensive
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