To prevent the blurring effects of hand wobble/camera shake at maximum zoom, the WB600 comes equipped with dual (optical/lens shift and digital/software enhanced) image stabilisation. As per usual, though, we'd turn the software option off as it can degrade image quality. You can also turn the optical version off if so desired but generally you can leave it on all the time.
The most important physical controls here are logically enough located on the WB600's top plate, set into a glossy chrome strip that runs its length and continues down to its base at either side. A large, slightly forward-leaning and springy shutter release button is encircled by a chunky zoom lever with a ridged forward facing 'lip' that provides just enough of a purchase point for the forefinger. Next to this, and slightly more inset, is a five pence coin-sized shooting mode dial, with just enough poking out either side of the chrome strip to get your forefinger and thumb around and give it a wiggle to your desired choice.
There is a gamut of in-camera options tailored toward taking people pictures, with face detection, smile and blink detection all featured. Faces can also be registered and lists of faces subsequently edited, which is quite neat.
To make the most of the unit's 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second video recording, the WB600 features mini HDMI output. As per usual, the 4:3 aspect ratio screen image automatically crops to 16:9 when recording begins. A supplied cable can be used for hooking up the camera to your PC via USB, and also doubles up as a power lead, slotting into the adapter plug provided in lieu of a charger. This means that its rechargeable lithium ion battery needs to be recharged with the camera itself. So, even if you buy a spare battery, the camera will need to be out of action whilst you recharge it, which kind of defeats the purpose.
Press the WB600's slightly recessed top plate power button and the WB600 readies itself for action in just under two seconds, which is commendably swift for its class. The rear screen blinks into life to provide a means of composition in the absence of any optical viewfinder whilst the lens barrel extends from storage flush with the body to maximum wide angle setting. As one would expect, there's only the option to shoot JPEG here, with RAW off the menu, but you do at least get three compression levels to choose from.
A half press of the shutter release button and auto focus (AF) points are highlighted in green. It must be said that the WB600's operational noises are, well, noisy, so we appreciated the opportunity to turn them off within a couple of minutes of first using it. Go on to take a shot and a full resolution, least compression JEPG is committed to memory in just over a second or so. Impressive stuff.