capsule review

HP Photosmart R707

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Photosmart R707 Compact Camera

HP Photosmart R707
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The HP Photosmart R707 has an unusual look. The rubberlike texture of its black body feels secure in the hand, and a polished metal plate covers its front. Though only slightly larger than the Canon PowerShot S500, the R707 is lighter, has a few more advanced controls (such as rudimentary aperture-priority and manual focus), and is about $150 cheaper. (Both models have a resolution of 5.1 megapixels.)

The Photosmart R707's menus are well designed, attractive, and easy to use. An innovative help menu offers tips on using the camera and explains its various features. Once you've taken a shot, you can get advice on problems that might arise in the image based on the camera settings you used. It might be better to get this information before you take the shot, but you can always take another and use what you've learned.

A button on top of the R707 lets you select among seven different scene modes, including panorama. The limited aperture-priority mode gives you a choice of two aperture values at each zoom level, but there is no shutter priority setting. The camera's My Mode lets you save and instantly recall a collection of favorite settings--very useful, once you figure out how to use it.

The zoom control, located on the upper-right back of the camera, sits in an indentation for your thumb, but we found it somewhat hard to use. Two dedicated buttons let you tag pictures for printing or e-mailing to a preassigned address the next time you connect the camera to your PC.

In our image quality tests, the R707 scored moderately well, producing reasonably sharp pictures with bright, accurate colors. It performed a little below average in the flash test, however: Our test photo had muted colors and overexposed skin tones.

The R707 seemed slow to process our shots. If you hold your finger down, you can capture a burst of three images; but the camera then takes about 20 seconds to write them to its 32MB of built-in memory before you can take another photo. We also temporarily encountered a problem where the camera crashed repeatedly when we tried to upload images to our PC (you don't often see a "blue screen" on a camera.)

The HP Photosmart R707 attractively combines low price, small size, and capable imaging, and it throws in a few advanced extras. It's especially attractive for novice users, who will benefit from the built-in help.

Paul Jasper

This story, "HP Photosmart R707" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Photosmart R707 Compact Camera

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