This similarity of course means that the T700 will be competing in exactly the same market as the £145 Optio T30, which puts it up against the likes of the Casio Exilim EX-S770 (£180), Nikon CoolPix S500 (£160), or Canon IXUS 70 (£170). Like other BenQ cameras, the T700 is only available from a few outlets in the UK, but if you can find it you’ll probably pay just under £140 for it. To be honest, I’d have to say that anyone who is looking for a 7MP 3x zoom compact and likes the idea of a touch-screen interface will probably go for the much more widely available Pentax T30 instead, or even the T40 which is sure to be announced some time soon.
It’s a pity, because the T700 is actually a fairly nice little camera. Build quality is excellent, it looks great and it is extremely easy to use. Despite the size of the screen, the lack of external controls means that there’s plenty of room on the right hand side to hold the cameras securely. The only controls are the menu and playback buttons, the on/off button and shutter button, and the zoom control. This is a rather unresponsive rocker switch, and the zoom mechanism itself is slow and jerky. It is stepped, with just six large jumps between wide and telephoto. It’s also worth noting that the screen is highly reflective, presumably because of the touch-sensitive surface, making it very difficult to use in bright sunlight.
The touch-screen system is very quick and responsive, and the various icon menus are simple and logically laid out, although a ‘back’ button would probably have been a useful feature. The menu isn’t exactly the same as the T30. It is somewhat simplified, and the T700 has a slightly lower specification. Although it has the same shutter speeds and the same scene modes (including Frame Composite mode!), it only has an ISO range of 80-800, which is much less than the T30’s 64-3200, and high-ISO noise control is clearly a lot worse.