capsule review

HP Photosmart M627

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Photosmart M627 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    This easy-to-use camera offers long battery life, but features are few and image quality is mediocre.

The HP Photosmart M627 concentrates on simplicity and value. For $229 (as of 10/6/06), you get a 7-megapixel point-and-shoot camera with a 3X zoom, easy-to-use controls, built-in help screens, and an excellent software package. In using the camera, I liked the feel of its tough brushed-aluminum body, which let me shoot one-handed easily.

The 2.5-inch LCD is of a decent size, but I could see the dots that make up its relatively low 154,000-pixel resolution. HP has arranged the main controls neatly to the right of the LCD, but there's no viewfinder. The banana-shaped zoom control is more comfortable than the ones on HP models I've used in the past.

The M627 has eight scene modes, which is fewer than the number provided by most point-and-shoot cameras we've tested recently. The camera offers a limited choice of settings, including white balance and exposure compensation. You won't find advanced features, such as color adjustments, bracketing, or manual modes. To adjust the capture settings, I had to resort to the menu.

You needn't always consult the menu, however. To the left of the shutter button on the top of the camera are three buttons for controlling the flash, accessing the printing and sharing functions, and switching between capture and playback. During playback, however, I kept hitting the buttons by mistake, especially when rotating the camera to look at portrait shots.

The M627 scored below average in our image quality tests, earning only a Fair. Its photos earned low scores for sharpness and color accuracy, though flash photos of our mannequin were nicely exposed. I took the camera to a wedding and found it frustrating to use. Flash shots took a long while to focus compared with the other cameras I've used. Many photos that looked good on the camera's LCD turned out to be blurry when I later viewed them on my computer screen. When you are reviewing your shots, the LCD offers no information about the exposure settings used. It took me a while to realize that the automatic sensitivity mode uses a maximum ISO of only 200; I had to set it manually to its highest value of ISO 400 for my low-light shots.

The camera comes with a separate charger for its pair of AA-size nickel metal hydride batteries. It did very well in our battery tests, lasting an impressive 425 shots on a single charge. In an emergency, you can substitute regular alkaline batteries.

Paul Jasper

This story, "HP Photosmart M627" was originally published by PCWorld.

To comment on this article and other TechHive content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    This easy-to-use camera offers long battery life, but features are few and image quality is mediocre.

Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.