Gizmodo reads reviews so you don't have to. This week: the Kodak EasyShare V550 and Creative Zen Touch.
Kodak EasyShare V550
Sleek, stylish and easy-to-use, the new 5 megapixel Kodak EasyShare V550 "brings some much-needed style to Kodak's line of point-and-shoot cameras." For $400, you get a 3X zoom lens, AF-assist lamp, and a VGA movie mode, but as with many of Kodak's other cameras, no memory card is included. In terms of look and feel, this new camera "is a compact (but not tiny) and made entirely of metal. It feels very solid in the hand and it's size allows it to go just about everywhere. The controls are well-placed (though not necessarily usable) and the camera can be used with just one hand." Perfect for those who want "portability and simplicity wrapped in an attractive package."
Everyone also seems to love the "huge 2.5-inch LCD." This is one place Kodak did not scrimp. "The LCD is viewable in bright outdoor light and in dim light as well. In darker rooms the LCD 'gains up' automatically so you can still see your subject." The lens is a 3X Schneider-Kreuznach C-Variogon that "offers a good compromise between wide angle and telephoto." The EasyShare part of the equation means that the V550 is comatible with Kodak's EasyShare camera and printer docks, "which offer hassle-free image downloading and printing. You simply put the camera into the dock and press a button to connect the camera and initiate image downloading." It also comes with the EasyShare Photo Frame dock 2, which will tune the camera's LCD into a picture frame when the connected. The V550 comes in either black or silver and "competes quite well with other cameras in this class. Though not without its flaws, the Kodak EasyShare V550 is a point-and-shoot camera that I can recommend to anyone who wants an easy-to-use compact camera."
Kodak EasyShare V550 [CNET]
DCRP Review: Kodak EasyShare V550 [Digital Camera Resource Page]
Kodak EasyShare V550 Digital Camera [The Imaging Resource]
Creative Zen Touch
Yet another product is trying to recreate the ole' iPod magic. Creative's new Zen Touch 20GB music player comes pretty close, it seems, taking the Creative name "to new heights." Coming out of the gate strong, it's "a high-quality portable music player with innovative touchpad scrolling, outstanding audio quality, and super battery life. And Its few flaws are minor. Smaller, more curvaceous and endowed with a huge battery life, "it feels good in the hand - neither too big nor too heavy." Now include the fact that it provides "great sound quality, is compatible with most online music stores, and has a competitive price, and you have a top-shelf contender."
It seems the touchpad is the main sticking point with the new Touch. Some say it "drastically improves scrolling and navigating through songs and menu options when compared to previous Zen models. Sliding your thumb upward or downward on the slick pad (the manual actually suggests that you gently rub it) moves the onscreen cursor accordingly. As with any good touchpad, the farther your finger wanders from the center, the faster you scroll." However, other mention that even though it's what the product was named after, "it's perhaps the device's weakest feature. It's the equivalent of a jogdial or the iPod's clickwheel, moving the menu cursor up and down, or moving sideways between EQ frequency controls." The included earbud earphones get mixed reviews, basically, "better than average but not up to the player's audio quality." As for features, it may not have FM radio or a record function, but "theTouch is a top-notch digital audio player compatible with MP3, protected WMA, and WAV files. And you can get an optional wired remote with a built-in FM tuner and FM/voice recorder for $50." And everyone agrees, that Creative's 24 hour battery claim is not only true, but some were actually "able to squeeze an ear-popping 26 hours out of the Zen Touch." All-in all, "The Zen Touch is a very strong value." But frankly, "what it loses on feature-set, the Touch makes up for in looks, sound quality and - crucially - that full-day battery life. It may not be the most feature-filled digital music player around, but the Zen Touch won't disappoint."
Creative Zen Touch 20GB music player [The Register]