capsule review

HP Photosmart R937

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Photosmart R937 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

    The enormous touch-screen display looks spectacular and makes the R937 a cinch to use.

A huge 3.6-inch LCD is the star feature of HP's Photosmart R937. During my hands-on testing of a production model, it caused strangers to stop to watch as I composed my shots, and friends said they loved how easily they could view images on it.

The screen is also touch sensitive, making the camera a breeze to operate using the plastic stylus that dangles from the wrist strap. As you use it to tap on the colorful buttons and menus, you glide quickly through the settings. For most operations, a question-mark icon in the top corner leads to a wealth of useful information. The camera has just a few real buttons--power, shutter release, zoom control, and display mode--as well as a slider for switching among still shots, movies, and playback.

The $300 R937 lacks some of the fancier features you'll find on similarly priced cameras. For example, though it has an antiblur mode for reducing the effect of camera shake, that function works by increasing the exposure speed and light sensitivity, making the R937 more prone to noise than optically stabilized models.

However, the touch-screen menus provide some novel in-camera editing functions. You can add borders, modify colors, and apply artistic effects, such as cartoon or kaleidoscope patterns. Via the photo enhancement tools, you can make people look slimmer, touch up skin blemishes, and fix red-eye. HP even includes a tool to address reflections from your pet's eyes, but I didn't have much luck correcting flash photos of my two cats. I took a whole bunch of shots, but only once did the tool change the appearance of a single eye--and that result looked very unrealistic.

The R937 also lets you assign keyword tags to your photos, which helps you organize your images in the included HP Photosmart Software, in Windows Vista's Photo Gallery, or in iPhoto on a Mac. A virtual keyboard pops up on the screen when you want to enter new tags.

In PC World Test Center tests, images looked bright and colorful; the scores for sharpness and distortion, however, were roughly average. My own photos looked stunning, with strong contrast and vivid (though slightly unnatural) colors. The R937 uses a single USB port for both downloading images and charging the lithium ion battery. At 261 shots on a single charge, battery life was a bit above average, surprising considering the large size and brightness of the LCD.

The iPhone has made big color touch screens fashionable. But with its ease of use and good image quality, the HP Photosmart R937 may be the coolest touch-screen toy to carry.

Paul Jasper

This story, "HP Photosmart R937 " was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    The enormous touch-screen display looks spectacular and makes the R937 a cinch to use.

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