The GE E1486TW makes its mark as one of the most affordable touch-screen cameras available -- plus it has some unusual high-end features for its price. While many budget models are made of plastic, the 14-megapixel GE E1486TW has a sturdy yet lightweight aluminum chassis (4.8 ounces). It also sports a 3-inch LCD display, an 8x zoom lens with optical image stabilization (offsets natural handshake), plenty of automatic features and HD video (720p) with an HDMI port for easy TV playback. Its closest competitor -- the Nikon Coolpix S4000 (Discontinued) -- has nearly identical specs but only half the zoom span (4x), while the more powerful, highly rated Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 will set you back nearly $100 more.
While experts praise the hearty features and easy operation, the E1486TW's performance doesn't pack the same punch. Editors at Steves-Digicams.com say the touch screen's response time lags, which is something to consider since nearly everything is done using the interface. Like many budget models, the autofocus and shooting speeds plod along, and image quality is good but not spectacular. However, battery life looms as the biggest letdown: Critics and users say it's dismal. "You get what you pay for," say editors at Steves-Digicams.com, who note that other budget cameras offer superior performance and photos for the price, albeit without a touchscreen.
Steves-Digicams.com is the only source with an extensive review of the GE E1486TW, although it doesn't offer much product comparison. ConsumerReports.org and Choice magazine conduct meticulous lab tests with product ratings and comparison charts, but neither provides lengthy summaries. Owner reviews from Amazon.com help to round out the landscape, revealing problems that may surface only with extended use.
The GE E1486TW is among more than 150 digital cameras tested by ConsumerReports.org. Editors evaluate key features, such as versatility, image quality, flash performance and battery life. Each camera's scores appear in a chart for easy product comparison, and editors sum up their findings in a few sentences.
Review: GE E1486TW, Editors at ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Editors at Steves-Digicams.com provide a lengthy yet readable review of the GE E1486TW. The camera garners praise for its appealing features, but the sluggish touchscreen, auto focus and shooting speeds fall short of the competition, leading editors to "highly recommend" shopping around for other budget options.
Review: GE E1486TW Review, Editors at Steves-Digicams.com, Not Dated
3. Choice magazine
The Australian-based Choice magazine provides product reviews that mirror ConsumerReports.org. Editor Chris Ruggles puts nearly 100 cameras through comprehensive tests, and results can be sorted using a product comparison table. Ruggles doesn't provide any product summaries, however.
Review: Compact digital cameras review, Chris Ruggles, Sept. 29, 2011
The majority of owners weighing in on the GE E1486TW say it's a great little camera for the price. It's fun, easy to use and takes clean, crisp photos. A few owners ran into major problems, such as the camera breaking shortly after purchase, while complaints about the short battery life pepper reviews across the board.
Review: GE E1486TW 14MP Digital Camera, Users at Amazon.com