What's the first thing you do when you take a picture with your digital camera? For most people it's press the playback button and see what they've just captured. So can the Cyber-shot DSC-T700 from Sony offer good pictures and good playback? We get viewing to find out.
The metal cased digital camera is perhaps slightly fatter than you might expect. Don't get us wrong it's not massively overweight, just enough to make you wonder if its been enjoying just a little too much corporate hospitality. Why the larger size? Well probably because of the amount of tech you've got on board.
For starters the 10-megapixel digital camera features a 4x optical zoom that doesn't protrude from the design of the camera. Then there is the 4GB of internal storage so you can save your pictures without needing a memory stick, although annoyingly you can't use both at the same time. But the most likely culprit is the 3.5-inch screen that doesn't just dominate the back of the camera - it is the back of the camera.
With such a large touchscreen Sony has understandably ditched virtually all the physical buttons on the camera and so all you get is that important playback button, the shutter button and a difficult to use zoom toggle. We say difficult, perhaps fiddly would be better.
Other annoyances of the design? You'll need to carry around a dedicated USB cable with you if you're planning on connecting the camera to another computer when you are out and about. Rather than opt for a regular Mini- or Micro-USB socket on the side you get a specific dedicated Sony docking socket - great. It wouldn't be so bad if the cable that's included in the box didn't also have a video connection cable built in as well.
Elsewhere the lens is protected by a large sliding cover as found on other Cyber-shot models and the touchscreen is very responsive. Not iPhone responsive, but good enough for what you are using it for. It's just a shame you can't say the same about the quality of the screen. If you design something to be used primarily to show off your snaps you would want that screen to be amazing. As it is, it's just good or better than average.
So what about in use? We tested it in the harshest environment we could think of. No not the North Pole with Polar Bears, but a party with poor light, and plenty going on.
The results were very pleasing. The camera coped well in the harsh setting with the flash and number of in-camera technologies like image stabilisation and anti-blink working a treat. Image colour is well balanced, however the biggest upset was that the battery couldn't cope for long with all that touchscreen pressing action or our heavy flash use, and after 2 hours, died. For us it spelled disaster and we had to result to using a friend's camera to carry on capturing the action late into the evening.
In normal conditions the camera coped well; on an overcast day with skin tones being natural and large blocks of colour not really throwing up too many issues.
With 4GB on-board, making sure you can find your photos is important. Sony has therefore made sure you can search for photos in-camera by event, date, smile or face, displayed in calendar or chronological views, organised in folders; and shared as slide shows or scrapbooks.
The Picture Motion Browser software allows you to get more pictures onto your memory by letting you downsize the image to VGA and export it back into the photo album.
While the picture quality of the T700 is good, the power hungry touchscreen and not amazing picture playback means that this isn't one to recommend if you are looking for a camera that will last you all holiday without recharging.
Yes you could say that we pushed the camera to the limit in our tests and you might not find yourself taking lots of pictures with a flash in one sitting, but hey that's what we do: try and push things to the limit.
So should you part with your £289 on the DSC-T700? The touchscreen is nice, but for us, the camera isn't a good enough all round package to recommend.