Usually, newer versions of cameras offer noticeable upgrades, such as more-advanced processors, higher-resolution sensors, and more features. Sometimes, though, this "next big thing" turns out to actually be worse than what came before it. Casio's Exilim EX-S880 joins this group, falling short of the standard set by the EX-S770.
At just 0.7 inch deep and weighing only 5.1 ounces with battery and SD card, the EX-S880 cuts the same ultraslim, ultralight profile as the S770. It shares a layout almost identical to the S770's, with small, flat buttons and a flat joypad clustered around a 2.8-inch LCD screen while leaving ample space for a thumb to rest. On the other side of the camera, the S880 sports the same 35mm-to-114mm-equivalent, f/2.7-to f/5.2, 3x optical zoom lens as its predecessor.
The EX-S880 features an 8-megapixel CCD sensor and Casio's new Exilim Engine 2.0 image processor, compared to the S770's 7-megapixel sensor and original Exilim Engine processor. Beyond these two upgrades, however, the camera's hardware attributes are largely identical to those of its predecessor; as I stated above, both cameras share the same large LCD and 3x lens. The camera's menus and software-based controls keep the same convenient interface, while the new image processor and a few new features set it a bit above the S770.
Face-detection first appeared among Casio cameras in the Exilim EX-Z1200, but this is the first superslim Exilim S-series camera to offer the feature. Like the EX-Z1200, the EX-S880's face-detection system offers more than most other similarly equipped cameras. Besides automatically detecting faces and adjusting the focus and exposure to suit it, the camera offers a family-recognition mode, which lets you records family and friends' faces ahead of time on the camera so the detection function gives those faces priority. It's a handy feature when shooting large crowds.
Like every other Exilim camera, it incorporates Casio's Best Shot Selector and a myriad of scene presets. Besides the usual portrait and landscape presets, the camera also offers a new YouTube Capture video mode. While Casio promotes YouTube Capture as a new, specialized mode for the S880, it's really just a 640x480, 30fps MPEG-4 video mode, not unlike those found on most other snapshot cameras. A bundled application lets you automatically upload videos shot in this mode directly to your YouTube account. While it saves the hassle of going through YouTube's uploading page, this feature is really only useful if you put videos on YouTube often, and if you don't already have a decent camcorder--which would generally produce higher quality video than almost any still camera.