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HP Photosmart R927

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Photosmart R927 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

HP Photosmart R927
Photograph: Chris Manners

The HP Photosmart R927 ($399 as of 6/15/06) has a big (3-inch) LCD and a metal body that feels sturdy. It is the company's first 8-megapixel camera, and though you'll rarely need all that resolution to make a very big enlargement, it does give you the freedom to crop down to a small portion of your photo and still get a high-quality print.

The R927 performed quite well in our image quality tests, its photos earning very high marks for their color accuracy, exposure accuracy, and sharpness. Its only shortcoming was distortion; this was more noticeable in shots taken of a target resolution chart than in shots from most other models.

At one inch thick, the R927 isn't ultra-slim, but it fits easily enough into a shirt pocket. And at 7 ounces, it's slightly heavier than many recently tested point-and-shoot cameras.

This compact model packs a lot of processing options for shutterbugs who would rather not edit their images on a PC. You can make an image look something like an aged photo print, or add an effect that's something like a watercolor painting or cartoon. It took the camera anywhere from 8 to 11 seconds to add one of these effects to images shot at normal resolution (5 megapixels). The results were generally good, though the initial thrill quickly faded. The more subtle color modification settings were more useful (and took less time to process, about 4 seconds): You can convert an image to black-and-white or sepia, as well as add a color tint. The oddest effect is called slimming, which distorts the picture slightly to take a few pounds off self-conscious subjects. Taking a few pounds off the waistline, however, made the head of one subject look unnaturally thin.

The most impressive trick the R927 performs is stitching together panoramas and displaying them on its big LCD. You can combine up to five shots, which you shoot either left to right or vice versa. For each shot after the first, the LCD provides some outlines to help you line up an overlapped section for the next shot. The downside is that the camera takes about 45 seconds to stitch together a five-shot panorama. Doing the same thing at a PC with HP's Photosmart software will take roughly 7 seconds. Also note that once you have stitched together a panorama in the camera, you can't add an effect to the individual images.

Controls are plentiful: The R927 offers aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, as well as white balance calibration and exposure bracketing, which is more than most point-and-shoots offer.

The R927's least appealing attribute is its battery life. Here, the camera earned the lowest score of recently tested point-and-shoots, taking just 114 shots--less than half the average--on one battery charge. If you plan to go crazy with the onboard effects, you may want to pack an extra battery.

Eric Butterfield

This story, "HP Photosmart R927" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Has a 3-inch LCD and performs in-camera panorama stitching, though this can be slow. Camera dock included.

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