Olympus Stylus Verve
At a Glance
The 4-megapixel Olympus Stylus Verve provides more form than function. Its colorful case is unique and weatherproof, but its performance is so-so.
The $310 Stylus Verve--with 2X optical and 4X digital zoom--comes in a zany trapezoidal shape and a vibrant color selection, including turquoise, red, silver, white, black, and copper.
The unique interface consists of a mechanical wheel that rotates among shooting, playback, and video modes, as well as the standard four-way and menu buttons. The 1.8-inch LCD (there's no viewfinder) is the brightest of the bunch, making the pretty menus easy to navigate.
The Stylus Verve comes with 13 scene modes, accommodating such specific lighting situations as images appearing behind glass. Are 13 scene modes overkill? Probably, but the Candlelight mode produced some warm shots at one dinner party. The Stylus Verve takes the supertiny (and not widely accepted) XD-Picture Card and comes with Olympus's Master organizing, light editing, and slide-show creation software.
As for image quality, this camera performed in the bottom third of our currently tested point-and-shoots. The Stylus Verve received its worst scores in our sharpness and distortion tests and performed squarely in the middle in our exposure tests. In battery life, this camera ranked last in the category.
The Stylus Verve is another party-pics camera, albeit with a unique case design. We'd pass it up, however, due to its middling performance and short battery life. You can find better alternatives.