Although a high megapixel count isn't necessary for taking good pictures, the DXG-110's combination of 10 megapixels and low $169 price will be tempting for many buyers. But like any budget camera, the DXG-110 comes with trade-offs: a great price and decent photos in exchange for no image stabilization and poor low-light performance.
We like the DXG-110's compact size; it's just an inch thick and weighs a reasonable 6.4 ounces. But in terms of design, it looks like a budget camera. For starters, it has a gray, faux-leather strip lining the front left side. The real problem, though, is its over-branding. On the front, "DXG" is in the upper left corner, and a black box with the megapixel count is in the lower right; on the back, beneath the LCD, is a banner with the model number followed by "2.5" LCD Display." This should be a sticker at most.
The DXG-110 also has a lot of buttons: power and shutter controls on the top, zoom, mode, playback, menu, and delete buttons on the back side, plus a four-way navigational pad. With the exception of the zoom controls, each button on the backside has a small black or green icon next to it. The screen was plenty bright, even when we used it to frame outdoor shots.
Confusing User Interface
The onscreen menus could use some decluttering as well. Five icons run along the left side of the LCD, and their meaning isn't obvious; for instance, when scrolling through the camera's 12 scene modes, you don't know whether you're selecting Party or Fireworks mode without referring to the manual. Moreover, instead of using the navigational pad to scroll through and select icons on the LCD, you need to press the Menu button or dedicated buttons on the navigational pad, which is far less intuitive.
DXG-110 Performance: Watch That Hand Shake
A high megapixel count is typically a promise that your photos will look sharp when you make large prints. When it came time to view the DXG-110's photos on our notebook's LCD, however, we saw mixed results: On the one hand, a shot of lights, taken from across the street with the 3X optical zoom, looked ill-defined on our monitor. On the other hand, an outdoor scene taken at close distance looked crisp, as did a close-up of plants taken with Macro mode.
Overall, the DXG-110 takes good stationary shots in well-lit settings, but if you shake your hand at all, the image quality suffers. (Oddly, our VGA video looked smooth, even with some hand shake.) Although our shots were bright, the color was dull; yellow taxi cabs, dewy plants, and orange signs all looked muted on screen.
Leave the Lights On
Even for a budget point-and-shoot, the DXG-110's ISO performance was poor. On our test shots taken of a still, dimly lit scene, we felt we had to choose between blurry, ill-defined shots and better-defined, but grainy ones. To be fair, lots of point-and-shoots produce grainy pictures on higher ISO settings, but many manage to produce decent shots at ISO 400 and 800, which are adequate for most low-light situations. While a nice addition, face dectection didn't improve our shots in any discernible way.
Speed and Battery Life
The DXG-110 showed good-to-normal speed on our tests: It took 4 seconds to start up, 3 to shut down, and 4 to ready itself for another shot (lingering on the previous shot for just a second). For quicker performance, switch to continuous shot mode by pressing the upper right segment of the navigational pad. The camera runs on AA batteries, and we had to switch them after only a few days of intermittent shooting.
The DXG-110 doesn't make a good case for making a high megapixel count a priority: Not all our shots looked crisp when enlarged. Moreover, the cost of high resolution is no image stabilization and, in some cases, color quality. If you have $169 to spend, there are plenty of 6- and 8-megapixel cameras with better image quality, such as the 8-megapixelCasio Exilim Card EX-S880, which now ranges in price from $129 to $198.