Cheap as chips... (why do people say that when chips aren't that cheap?)
If you’re strapped for cash, or perhaps looking for something to keep the kids/wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever-else-you-can-have-a-relationship-with quiet, this great value camera from HP could be it.
Called the Photosmart E317, this trim (99 x 32 x 53mm), light (150g including battery) and very reasonable (£89.99 excl. VAT) digicam can produce photos up to a cracking five megapixels. It comes with five shooting modes including action, portrait and sunset (always a heart warmer) and a good size 1.5in 113k colour LCD.
Video can be shot at a perfectly watchable 320 x 240 resolution which skips along at 24fps, though it is uncompressed which means file sizes will be huge (think less than nine minutes on a 1GB SD Card). There is no optical zoom, but you do get 16MB of internal memory should you need a few extra emergency shots and all the basics are covered such as auto-focus, flash, red-eye, timer and Pictbridge compatibility (printing directly to a printer without a PC). Finally, E317 simply runs off two standard AA batteries so getting extra juice when out and about won’t be a problem.
The E317 comes out in September and while it won’t make you a Leibovitz, it won’t get you a black eye from your bank manager either.