By Neil Bennett | on August 16, 2007
Price When Reviewed: 150
Pros: Large touchscreen provides quick access to settings.
Cons: Noisy output. Slow autofocus. No spot focus or exposure.
BenQ’s latest pocket snapper combines a pleasing design with an innovative large touchscreen that speeds up settings selection.
At just under 15mm, the T700 makes Fujifilm’s FinePix F40fd look positively chubby.
However, the T700’s best design feature is the three-inch touchscreen – though its size does mean there’s no optical viewfinder. When taking photos, tapping the screen brings up a four-button menu giving quick access to controls over scene mode, flash, drive mode (for timed shots) and focus. While a stylus is supplied, you’re more likely to tap at the screen with your fingers, which means constant wiping smears from the screen.
The touchscreen’s real problem is the missed opportunity to offer spot focus or spot exposure. The manual focus system is painfully slow and fiddly – though the autofocus isn’t what we’d call nippy either.
The T700 has few manual controls, and they are buried in the menu system.
Unsurprisingly considering the touchscreen, the T700 only has six buttons on its body: on/off, the shutter, zoom in, zoom out, menu and review. The shutter is stiff and the zoom buttons are less responsive than a traditional rocker. Taking the menu and playback buttons off the touchscreen should extend its life, but the fact that you have to use the menu button to go backwards in the otherwise screen-driven menu system is counter-intuitive.
We were unimpressed by the T700’s photos, which were noisy and about as colour-accurate as a 1980s telly in comparison with the F40fd. Low-light performance was mediocre, even using the high-light-sensitivity portrait mode.
The T700 is fine as a party snapper, but it’s not up to anything strenuous.