When you're buying a status symbol, the brand name is all important. You want people to know that you can afford what they think is the best, so you'll choose the famous names that everyone recognises. If you're buying a camera as a status symbol the label you're going to go for is Canon, because even people who know nothing about cameras (and if you're buying one as a status symbol then I'm afraid that probably includes you) know that Canon make good ones. Canon knows this too, and makes a range of tiny, fashionable and astonishingly expensive compact cameras just for you.
The IXUS 120 IS is the latest in this line. It is very similar in specification to the excellent IXUS IXUS 110 IS which I reviewed last August, but shares other features with the IXUS 100 IS ultra-compact, seen last November. However with a current high street retail price of around £260 it's a lot more expensive than either. Considering its specification of a 4x zoom lens, 12.1MP 1/2.3-inch sensor and 2.7-inch 230k monitor that's a hell of a lot of money for a point-and-shoot snapshot camera, no matter how good.
To be fair though, the IXUS 120 IS is a lovely bit of kit. The body is all metal, and the silver finish version that I have for review has trim around the lens that appears to be titanium. The build quality is absolutely superb and it looks great too. The body is just 20mm thick, with a smoothly rounded shape and flush-mounted controls for the perfect pocket-friendly profile. The matt finish provides a surprisingly grippy surface, and the camera is easy to hold securely. Despite the camera's tiny dimensions the buttons are larger than average and clearly labelled, and even the flat D-pad isn't as fiddly as it looks. The only slightly fiddly bit is the three-position slider switch to select between standard, full auto and video recording modes, but the switch is recessed and quite stiff, so it's not likely to get jogged accidentally.