While not as svelte as Sony's T-series cameras, the Sony W-series are lookers in their own right. Among them, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 nabs the best recommendations, with CNET's Joshua Goldman calling it a "compelling package." The W290 has a 12.1-megapixel sensor, HD video capabilities and plenty of point-and-shoot convenience: face and smile detection, intelligent scene recognition, automatic macro mode and exposure bracketing. The camera's 3-inch, 230,400-pixel LCD is flanked by standard control buttons that Michael Patrick Brady of DigitalCamera-HQ.com finds fussy enough to require "deliberate and focused" attention. The 5x optical zoom is good for close-ups, while the 28 mm wide-angle lens makes for great panoramic shots, but the optical zoom doesn't work when shooting video. The zoom lens also extends beyond the body for a plumper profile. Most users at Amazon.com consider photo and HD quality fantastic, although several call it mediocre at best. Still, the W290 has a zippy 1.3-second power-up to shoot time and 2.3-second shot-to-shot rate.
Among both critics and users, the W290's cheaper price tag more than compensates for its flaws. "For the price, nothing comes close," says an owner at Amazon.com, where about 100 users chime in. Reviews at CNET, DigitalCamera-HQ.com and PC World detail the Sony W290's pros and cons, comparing it to its rivals.
"A compelling package," says CNET's Joshua Goldman of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290. While not as the svelte as the Sony T-series, the W290 sports "terrific" design, an easy-to-use interface and a 28 mm wide angle and 5x zoom lens. Despite some soft image quality and lack of zoom in movie mode, Goldman considers the W290 a solid compact camera with an excellent price-to-feature ratio.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DCS-W290, Joshua Goldman, May 19, 2009
The "unassuming" Sony Cyber-shot DCS-W290 packs a bunch of appealing features that will give buyers "the best bang for their buck," says reviewer Michael Patrick Brady. The 12.1-megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom lens with its noteworthy 28 mm wide angle, and HD video capabilities all work in the W290's favor.
Review: Sony Cybershot W290 Digital Camera Review, Michael Patrick Brady
3. PC World
Even though the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 isn't as pocket-friendly as other point-and-shoot models, Tim Moynihan considers it a great option. The 28 mm wide-angle lens, the 3-inch LCD screen, HD movie capabilities and ease of use all earn brownie points. However, image noise rises at the higher ISO settings, and the optical image stabilization struggles when put to the shake test.
Review: Sony Cybershot W290 Digital Camera, Tim Moynihan, July 13, 2009
More than half of the 100 owners posting feedback at Amazon.com give the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 a 4- or 5-star rating for its sturdiness, ease of use and 3-inch LCD that's visible in bright sunlight. Image and video quality rate well among many, though some owners are not impressed. The lack of manual modes or a zoom in video mode are among the shortcomings.
Review: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290, Contributors to Amazon.com