Makers of compact digital cameras have turned 'pocket-sized' into an annoyingly overused stock phrase. But if any camera truly deserves that accolade, it's Casio's Exilim EX-S600.

At only 115g and with the sveltest of dimensions, the S600 is ultracompact, but it doesn't skimp on specs. This is a great model for novices, as you'll find no full manual control here. But for anybody that can manage without, this is a great purchase.

Despite its tiny frame, the S600 feels solid in the hand because of the all-metal finish, while the retractable zoom lens means there's nothing sticking out to get damaged.

Around the back there's a fourway navipad and two other impressive additions. There's the 'best shot' button, which selects the most appropriate of 34 scene modes – shoot in low light without flash at high sensitivity and the antishake automatically kicks in, for example. There's also a red button to instantly start recording high-quality Mpeg4 movie at 30fps (frames per second) and a resolution of 640x480. However, you'll need to upgrade to a 1GB SD Memory Card or MMC because the 8.3MB onboard storage holds a mere 24 seconds of footage.

The 6Mp (megapixel) CCD (charge-coupled device) delivers pretty good shots. We liked the level of detail this little camera produces, although some of the colours were slightly muted. This can be eradicated with the onboard contrast and saturation.

Overall, we loved the Casio's responsive feel – the quick nine-point autofocus is sharp as a tack – and the 300-shot battery life is phenomenal for such a compact camera. In fact, the only bone of contention we had was the slow shot-to-shot processing time. It was five seconds on high resolution with the flash switched on.

Casio Exilim EX-S600: Specs

  • 6Mp
  • max res 2,816x2,112
  • 8.3MB internal storage
  • max photos on 8.3MB=57
  • min=2
  • SD/MMC slot
  • 1x rechargeable lithium battery
  • Mpeg4 movie capture at 640x480 and 30fps
  • 2.2in LCD
  • 3x optical zoom/4x digital zoom
  • 1-year warranty
  • 90x16.1x59mm
  • 115g
  • 6Mp
  • max res 2,816x2,112
  • 8.3MB internal storage
  • max photos on 8.3MB=57
  • min=2
  • SD/MMC slot
  • 1x rechargeable lithium battery
  • Mpeg4 movie capture at 640x480 and 30fps
  • 2.2in LCD
  • 3x optical zoom/4x digital zoom
  • 1-year warranty
  • 90x16.1x59mm
  • 115g

OUR VERDICT

While not as pretty or quite as responsive as Canon's sublime Ixus range, the Casio Exilim EX-S600 has a classy allure all of its own. It doesn't offer a wide array of shooting options, but it has excellent specifications and is easy to use. It's also incredibly hardy.

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