Well, well, well, if it isn't a mini Olympus OM-D. Only it's not. The Olympus Stylus 1 is like a head-on collision between the compact system camera and the Japanese company's high-end XZ-2 compact camera. With a 28-300mm f\/2.8 lens thrown in the mix for good measure.Olympus is keen to push its Stylus brand - and the Stylus 1 is the result. No, it's not a writing implement, nor a turntable needle. It's a rather lovely compact that takes on the more zoom-laden space in the market - but not quite to superzoom standards - thanks to that 10.7x optical zoom lens. The real sell is the constant f\/2.8 maximum aperture.First impressions are that it's an upmarket compact with a decent viewfinder on board. Olympus hasn't gone down Panasonic's Lumix GM1 route as the Stylus 1 has a fixed lens; and it's avoided treading the path of the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 because the Stylus 1 opts for a smaller 1\/1.7-inch sensor with 12-megapixel resolution.READ: Hands-on: Panasonic Lumix GM1 reviewSome of you may gasp, "but that's nothing special". In a world where larger sensor sizes are more typical in a wider variety of cameras, Olympus has opted for balance of overall size to performance. If anything it's a clever angle because there isn't another model that fills this space - yes there's the Sony RX10 as we've mentioned, but it's a lot, lot larger; and a superzoom such as the Fujifilm X-S1 might have a bigger lens and sensor combination, but it's also a physically far bigger option.Olympus wants to call the Stylus 1 "pocketable". In some respects it is... if you have huge pockets. It measures 116mm x 87mm x 56.5mm. But still, we like the concept.We like the way the camera handles in use too. There's been no scrimping when it comes to the feature set: the Stylus 1's electronic viewfinder (EVF) is the same 1.44m-dot version you'll find in the OM-D E-M5, hence the obvious comparison. It's really impressive too. We were using it in a dim candle-lit corner of a London establishment and it was smooth and largely lag-free. In context, we can't think of many, if any, other compacts that can offer up such a feature. It's comfortable to the eye, has an automatic sensor to activate the EVF, or you can manually switch between rear screen and EVF if you prefer.READ: Olympus OM-D E-M5 reviewThe rear screen is similarly OM-D too. It's mounted on a tilt-angle bracket for 90-degrees downward and roughly 45-degrees upwards facing for waist-level or overhead work. The 3-inch panel looks resolute to the eyes thanks to its 1,040k-dot resolution. It's also a touchscreen which makes light work of tapping to focus and\/or take a shot - although this can be turned off if you find it unwontedly shifts the focus point position from time to time, which is something we found.But what makes the Stylus 1 individual is its build quality and layout. As the low-spec compact market continues to fall off a cliff - according to various official figures - there's more scope for high-end product, and the manufacturers know it.On the top there's a full mode dial with all the usual array of manual controls, as well as some automated options. Further along is a robust-built thumbwheel, that carries with it the quality and style that the OM-D series has.To the front there's a rotational lens ring that, and just like the XZ-2, can be used as a click-motion ring - ideal for aperture adjustment - or, via the flick of a switch surrounding the Function 2 (Fn2) button, is silky smooth for manual focus adjustment, zooming or other settings that you may choose to assign. Very cool.READ: Olympus XZ-2 reviewThat lens is something not to overlook either. A bright f\/2.8 aperture throughout its 28-300mm equivalent zoom is great to have, and as the sensor isn't too large we found that close-up focusing was little bother too. We took some quality shallow depth of field sample shots from the pre-production model.There\u2019s optical image stabilisation on board too, which we found to be very effective indeed. Even though Olympus has put all kinds of effort into making the OM-D sensor among the best stabilised we\u2019ve seen, it\u2019s chosen a totally different path with the Stylus 1 by opting for optical stabilisation. Makes sense to us due to the 300mm focal length equivalent benefitting from real-time stabilisation in preview.There are other quirks too. The rear info button loads up a virtual level, but Olympus has gone for a full-on three dimensional display. The full pitch and yaw - whether horizontal or vertical you can line up precisely, which will be of use for tripod work for some.There\u2019s also Wi-Fi on board - a staple in modern day compact cameras - a mix of "art modes" and the usual deep Olympus menu system layout. Full off-camera flash compatibility is also possible.And how much for this wedge of camera fun? Thee predicted retail price is \u00a3550\u00a0when it goes on sale at the end of November. So what will it be - Stylus 1, Lumix GM1 or Cyber-shot RX10? Choices, choices.READ: Hands-on: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 reviewBut pre-production this is, and there's a chance that some of the cosmetics will change a tiny bit. We can't imagine a giant overhaul, by any means, but Olympus has asked us to ping you over to the official image - in our news story, here - so you can take a look at what it'll really look like. Checked? Yup, it looks identical to the pre-production one on this page, doesn't it?