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(Pocket-lint) - When we first used the Canon PowerShot G7 X, the company's first 1-inch sensor compact, it felt like Canon's attempt to deflect a strong Sony line-up - namely the RX100 series.

Some 18-months later and it's time for round two, with the G7 X Mark II upping the high-end compact camera ante. But is it strong enough to keep Sony at bay?

At first glance this second-gen model isn't drastically different from the original. The design is much the same, offering a larger grip, but still keeping a truly pocketable body paired with 24-120mm f/1.8-2.8 (equivalent) lens on the front. It's this fast lens that really sells the camera.

But there are changes: around the back the LCD screen can now tilt 45-degrees downward, in addition to the 180-degrees up as per the previous generation; while to the front the lens control ring now offers dual functionality, with the option to toggle between smooth rotation and click-stop rotations.

READ: Canon PowerShot G7 X review

The majority of changes come down to performance. The Mark II is twice as fast to startup and be ready for shooting compared to the original, while the 20.2-megapixel sensor, although the same as before, now adopts the first Digic 7 processor for better results due to processing (Canon is claiming around a full stop of better low-light performance). Add an enhanced image stabilisation system and the G7 X II is an all-round more accomplished camera.

But it doesn't reinvent the wheel. There's still no viewfinder or the ability to add one, the autofocus system isn't as next-level as we'd like it to be (our common complaint with Canon PowerShot cameras) and, really, the Sony RX100 series is still a step ahead.

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What Canon has spent the last 18-months doing, though, is producing a wider range of 1-inch sensor compacts, including the G9 X and G5 X, to offer something to suit all tastes. Granted, the G7 X II looks like an improvement but, well, there's yet more room for improvement - especially in the face of an imposing Sony. Available from April, the Mark II will be priced £549.

Writing by Mike Lowe.