It's typical of Sony that the Cyber-shot DSC-W55 is a classy looking number. Our model came finished in a cool silver colour scheme and decorated with subtle details that make it appear far pricier than £147.
As well as being easy on the eyes, the DSC-W55 is a comfortable place to wrap your hands. It features a sensible and fiddle-free layout that's easy to operate with one hand.
As it's a Sony, the W55 favours Memory Stick Duos over the more mainstream SD (Secure Digital) storage – this could put some people off. On the up side, the W55 has a generous 56MB of internal memory, which is more than many others at this price point.
The Cyber-shot's 7.2Mp sensor has an ISO range capable of reaching 1,000, which is second only to the Kodak V803 (opposite page). The Sony is fitted with Carl Zeiss glassware, offering 3x optical magnification – which equates to 38-114mm in 35mm terms. It's rounded off with a nifty f2.8-f5.2 aperture and the W55 is the only model in our round-up to feature an optical viewfinder.
The W55 performs admirably, producing good levels of detail, colour saturation and low fringing. Noise suppression is good, although we did notice that processing tends to begin removing detail once past ISO 400. The only real grumble we have, however, is with the automatic white balance. This requires assistance on occasion.