Pentax Optio T20 digital camera review

3.5 out of 5
£169

For

Touchscreen, compact size, easy to use

Against

Slow to take pictures

The Pentax Optio T20 from the outside looks like any ordinary compact camera. Small and compact, the camera is just 19.5-mm thick, there is your standard 3x optical zoom, and a large LCD display on the back. However its not until you look closer that you realise that the camera is void of buttons.

Yes there is the shutter and zoom buttons on the top, but the back sports just a menu and playback. Where are all those buttons you ask, well, and here is the clever bit, Pentax has opted for a large 3-inch LCD touchscreen that gives enough room for big fingers to touch the on-screen menu.

In practice, it's so logical to use, we can't understand why no one has done it before. Press the screen and large clear buttons appear so you can change the scene mode, the megapixel count, the flash options and much more.

But the touchscreen is also useful when it comes to scrolling through the images simply pressing the screen to the left or right to move on to the next image.

We did notice a delay at times, mainly when we had pressed the scroll on button too many times to quickly, but overall the camera and the screen's menus are quick and intuitive with everyone we showed not only being impressed with the touchscreen, but also finding it incredibly easy to use.

Other features of note with the Pentax Optio T20 include a My Drawing mode that lets users edit the image directly using the bundled styles, 12 shooting modes, video recording at 30fps, 12MB of internal memory, and a battery life that will last you all weekend.

When it comes to image quality, it was great, the 7 megapixel sensor gave us no problem with noise, and images where bright, crisp and colour balance good in either the snow or bar afterwards.

However, our biggest gripe and the main failing of the camera was the incredibly long time it took to take images in either normal or even sporting mode.

The sporting mode was so poor, we had to revert to using our Sony Ericsson K800 mobile phone with Best Pic mode (it takes nine shots in sequence and then lets you choose the best one) to makes sure we got the shot (see pictures).

Verdict

We love the design, we love the concept, we love the picture quality, and we especially love the large touchscreen on the back, however we don't love the fact that it takes so long to take pictures that you miss the action. Even when we were just trying to snap a group of friends in the bar it was embarrassingly slow.

If you can bear the wait then this is worth a look, however if you can't then the Pentax Optio T20 is just too slow for us.