The HP Photosmart R927 has a big 3in LCD and a metal body that feels sturdy. It is the company's first 8Mp camera, and though you'll rarely need all that resolution to make a very big enlargement, the HP Photosmart R927 does give you the freedom to crop down to a small portion of your photo and still get a high-quality print.

The HP Photosmart R927 performed quite well in our image quality tests, its photos earning very high marks for their color accuracy, exposure accuracy, and sharpness. The HP Photosmart R927's only shortcoming was distortion; this was more noticeable in shots taken of a target resolution chart than in shots from most other models.

At 1in thick, the HP Photosmart R927 isn't ultra-slim, but it fits easily enough into a shirt pocket. And at 170g, the HP Photosmart R927 is slightly heavier than many of the point-and-shoot cameras we've recently tested.

SEE ALSO KODAK EASYSHARE C875; NIKON COOLPIX L10; HP PHOTOSMART M537

The HP Photosmart R927 packs a lot of processing options for shutterbugs who would rather not edit their images on a PC. You can make an image look something like an aged photo print, or add an effect that's something like a watercolor painting or cartoon. It took the HP Photosmart R927 anywhere from eight to 11 seconds to add one of these effects to images shot at normal resolution (5Mp). The results were generally good, though the initial thrill quickly faded. The more subtle color modification settings were more useful (and took less time to process, about 4 seconds): You can convert an image to black-and-white or sepia, as well as add a color tint. The oddest effect is called slimming, which distorts the picture slightly to take a few pounds off self-conscious subjects. Taking a few pounds off the waistline, however, made the head of one subject look unnaturally thin.

The most impressive trick the HP Photosmart R927 performs is stitching together panoramas and displaying them on its big LCD. You can combine up to five shots, which you shoot either left to right or vice versa. For each shot after the first, the LCD provides some outlines to help you line up an overlapped section for the next shot. The downside is that the HP Photosmart R927 takes about 45 seconds to stitch together a five-shot panorama. Doing the same thing at a PC with HP's Photosmart software will take roughly seven seconds. Also note that once you have stitched together a panorama in the camera, you can't add an effect to the individual images.

Controls are plentiful: the HP Photosmart R927 offers aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, as well as white balance calibration and exposure bracketing, which is more than most point-and-shoots offer.

The HP Photosmart R927's least appealing attribute is its battery life. Here, the HP Photosmart R927 earned the lowest score of recently tested point-and-shoots, taking just 114 shots - less than half the average - on one battery charge. If you plan to go crazy with the HP Photosmart R927's onboard effects, you may want to pack an extra battery.

HP Photosmart R927: Specs

  • 8.2Mp
  • 3,296x2,480 max resolution
  • 3in LCD
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 32MB internal memory
  • SD Card slot
  • lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • 96x26x62mm
  • 170g
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • 8.2Mp
  • 3,296x2,480 max resolution
  • 3in LCD
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 32MB internal memory
  • SD Card slot
  • lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • 96x26x62mm
  • 170g
  • 1-year limited warranty

OUR VERDICT

The HP Photosmart R927 is a sturdy point-and-shoot, with a big LCD, that takes great shots. However, battery life is very low.

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