Review Price free/subscription
Several camera companies make variants of some of their models that are sold exclusively through particular retail chains. Today's review camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290, is an example of this. It's a variant of the DSC-W270, and is sold in the UK exclusively through the Jessops chain of high-street photographic retailers. It differs from the W270 in only one respect; it has a 3.0-inch 230k LCD monitor in place of the W270's 2.7-inch screen.
I have to confess that I've been a bit remiss in my coverage of Sony's W-series cameras. The last one I reviewed was the W200 two years ago, a good but expensive camera significant as one of the first pocket compacts to feature a 12.1-megapixel sensor. The W290 also has a 12.1MP sensor, but these days this is far from uncommon, and the Sony is competing in quite a crowded market. It also has a 5x zoom Carl Zeiss lens with a wide-angle end equivalent to 28mm, something which is also becoming a more common feature. Direct rivals for the W290 include Canon's impressive Ixus 110 IS and 990 IS compacts, currently selling for £230 and £277 respectively, as well as the just-announced Panasonic DMC-FX60, the Nikon S620 (£200) and Samsung's IT100 (£170). The W290's £200 price point doesn't look too expensive by comparison.
Like all of Sony's compacts the W290 is a good looking camera, and is solidly made. It has a strong aluminium body, and is available in black, blue or silver. The W290 isn't a particularly small or lightweight camera by modern ultra-compact standards. It weighs a substantial 164g including battery and memory card, and the 97.6 x 56.6 x 22.6mm measurements quoted in the spec sheet aren't entirely accurate. They ignore the lens surround, so in fact the camera is 26.5mm thick. I have no idea why so many camera companies do this. It's like saying that I'm 5ft 2in tall, if you don't include my head. It makes no sense at all.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network