HP Photosmart R937 Review

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$249
Editors' rating:
The Pros

Large touchscreen; Intuitive UI; Ample customization options

The Cons

Severe screen washout; Poor performance in low light; Noisy pictures

Verdict

HP's latest camera offers a unique touchscreen but involves too many trade-offs.

The HP Photosmart R937 is one of the few cameras on the market with a touchscreen, and it utilizes it well, integrating many of the external controls seamlessly into the interface. In bright sunlight, however, the touchscreen washes out easily, and in low light, picture quality suffers, leaving the user in a predicament both indoors and out.

R937 Design

At 6.4 ounces, the R937 is bulky, although the lack of a protruding lens was a welcome surprise. Its large dimensions (4.1 x 2.9 x 1.1 inches) means it likely won't fit into a shirt pocket. The 3.6-inch touch LCD occupies just about the entire back panel, and provides a crisp picture--when you can see it. Zoom buttons and a menu toggle sit just to the right of the screen; along the top edge is an On/Off button, mode switch, and capture button.

Touchscreen Pros & Cons

Using the touchscreen interface was intuitive. A menu button in the upper left corner leads to the camera's shooting modes, flash settings, self-timer, burst, Vista-compatible tagging (which lets you tag pictures for e-mail and create slide shows), exposure, ISO, and white-balancing options. On the bottom left are additional icons for shooting modes and HP's blur-reduction feature. In the top right is a battery icon and a counter letting you know how many snaps you have left. The screen itself was responsive and well designed. We had no trouble customizing our shots and finding the right options to tweak photos.
On a bright day, the touchscreen washed out severely, and lining up shots became nearly impossible, so much so that we felt as if we were shooting blindly. An optical viewfinder would have been helpful, but would defeat the purpose of a sprawling touchscreen. We would have preferred an LCD with better antiglare protection, even if we had to give up the touchscreen.

Performance

Image and video performance under auto-settings did not impress us. Outdoor shots were verdant and accurate, but indoor shots were barely bright enough to make out, and exhibited a fair bit of noise. Standard definition video showed up clearly on our monitor and TV screen, but the lighting problems of still shots carried over into video. Manually setting the ISO and flash provided slightly better results, but overall image quality was dark and sometimes noisy.

Photosmart R937 Verdict

We'd stay away from this touchscreen camera unless you shoot almost exclusively indoors. Even then, indoor shots are below average at best.
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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Megapixel 8
Zoom 3
Camera Type Digital SLR
Internal Memory 32
Size 4.1 x 2.9 x 1.1 inches
Weight 6.4 ounces
Company Website www.hp.com