When your local pub starts advertising 'Credit Crunch Lunches' (it's true!), you know times are hard. But maybe you're not quite ready to give up on life's little luxuries just yet? Maybe you still hanker after a state-of-the-art metal-bodied 14.7-megapixel touch-screen compact with an HD movie mode? Co-incidentally, that's just what Samsung's £170 NV100HD has to offer.
Samsung's compacts haven't always been the prettiest, but this one's a big step forward. It comes in four different colours, and the red version is particularly striking. The matte metal finish looks and feels classy, and round the back the ugly black buttons of Samsung's Smart Touch control system -- used on the NV24HD, for example -- are gone. The NV100HD uses a new Smart Touch 2.0 system that uses a touch-sensitive 3-inch screen instead. And it's quite a screen. 460,000 pixels make it super-sharp, and it's really bright and vibrant too.
Because all the adjustments are made using the touch-screen, the back of the camera is really clean, with just four buttons -- two for zooming, one to activate the menus and one for playback mode.
Smart Touch 2.0 is a big improvement, too. The previous system used a barmy triangulation system for displaying and activating menu choices via buttons which were far too light. This one's a lot more conventional and easier to operate.
Round the front you get a wideangle 3.6x zoom equivalent to a focal range of 28-102mm, while on the top is a power button, shutter release and mode dial. There are a couple more nice surprises here, including a Manual mode where you can adjust the shutter speed and aperture yourself and a 1280 x 720 HD movie mode.
Gadget fans will be impressed by the face-detection, blink-detection and smile-detection features, and if your portrait subjects have got faces like emery boards, the Beauty Shot function can smooth them over automatically.