Kodak's V803 is an 8Mp camera that costs just £150, which is a higher resolution than any of the other cameras we test – mid-range models included. Fortunately, Kodak hasn't sacrificed other specifications for the sake of cramming in more megapixels. The 3x optical zoom – equivalent to 36–108mm in 35mm terms – is coupled with a highly usable f2.8-f4.9 aperture range, the best of all the budget contenders we've seen.
And the V803's ambitious ISO settings top out at an impressive 1,600; this is a figure more usually found on digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras.
Despite the serious components lurking on the inside, the V803's exterior is all about fun and style. Its chubby profile comes in a greater choice of colours than a tube of Smarties. And even daubed in the more questionable colours the Kodak doesn't look cheap – but then, it shares the same exterior as its £200 sibling.
The Kodak feels pretty good in the hand, with just enough subtle touches to ensure a reasonable grip. We especially like the thumb stick on the rear which, when combined with the 2.5in LCD, makes light work of menu browsing and tweaking exposure compensation.
As with most compacts in this price range, the Kodak's shooting modes are limited to the automatic variety. However, there is a sizable library (22 in all) of scene modes to play with.
We were generally impressed with image quality, which exhibits bright, accurate colours and reasonable finer detail – providing the ISO is kept at 200 or below – and has fewer fringing issues than many models here. We recommend Kodak's V803 goes on your short list.