It's nearly a year since I reviewed the Casio Exilim EX-S770, gave it a "Recommended" award with 9/10 in all four score categories and described it as "currently the best ultra-compact digital camera on the market". As far as I know the S770 sold very well, so it's a bit surprising that Casio has taken as long as it has to launch an updated version. Still, it's here now, so let's take a look at the new Exilim EX-S880.
The Exilim EX-S880 is an 8.1-megapixel, 3x zoom ultra-compact camera featuring a 2.8-inch high-resolution widescreen monitor. It will come as little surprise to anyone who watches the digital camera market that externally the S880 is almost identical to its predecessor. It has exactly the same strong and stylish steel body, with exactly the same slim dimensions, just 94.5 x 60.4 x 17.3mm, making it once again one of the thinnest cameras on the market. That 17.3mm thickness is genuine too, and includes the thickness of the monitor and lens, unlike the dubious practice of some manufacturers who claim tiny dimensions by measuring only the thinnest part of the camera. Weighing just 128g the S880 is the ultimate shirt-pocket camera. You can take it on a night out with you and barely know you're carrying it. As with the S770 the build quality is superb, and the camera is available in silver, charcoal grey or the striking dark metallic red of my review sample. I have frequently been accused of having the fashion sense of Jeremy Clarkson, but I have to say that in my opinion it is one of the best-looking cameras I've seen.
Casio's EX-S series of high-quality ultra-slim cameras exists in a fairly competitive end of the market. It is up against Canon's popular IXUS range for a start, including the new IXUS 860 IS (£235) and 950 IS (£210), as well as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX55 (£245), the Nikon CoolPix S510 (£190) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W90 (£200). As well as these high end models, Casio is also competing with less ambitious cameras such as the Olympus FE-250 (£120) and Pentax Optio M40 (£130). It competes well though, because the S880 is available for £129.99, which is actually cheaper than the current price of the S770.