In many ways the new Canon IXUS 220 HS is about as close to the definition of a standard point-and-shoot camera as you can get, but with high-end build quality and a thickness of a mere 19.3mm it still stands out from the crowd. Canon sent us a vivid scarlet review sample, against which the black top plate shutter release and power controls stand out very clearly. With large backplate buttons to match, it's a very approachable camera for first-time users.
Not much wider or taller than a business card, the IXUS 220 HS is an easy fit for the trouser pocket or clutch bag. Like the IXUS 310 HS model we reviewed recently, this IXUS boasts a resolution of a modest 12.1 megapixels from a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. Its low-light shooting credentials are suggested by the 'HS' suffix, standing for 'high sensitivity', delivered here by a back-lit sensor and Digic 4 image processor. It supplies 60% lower noise levels at high ISO speeds, according to Canon - a claim we'll test in due course.
Under the IXUS 220 HS's shiny casing lurks an optically image-stabilised 5x zoom, starting out at a usefully wide 24mm and running up to an equivalent 120mm at the telephoto end. Rather more of a surprise is that the camera captures full-HD video clips of 1920x1080 pixels at 24 frames per second with the benefit of stereo sound - the dual microphones are located on the top plate. We also get a dedicated video record button to the top-right of the back plate LCD.
Press this and video clip recording commences no matter what mode the camera is currently set to. There's no optical viewfinder, as we've come to expect of point-and-shoot compacts, and the screen is a modest 2.7in in size, offering a run-of-the-mill 230k dot resolution.
What do you get for your £170? Decent build, a dose of style and a better-than-average feature set, including HDMI output alongside standard AV/USB output.