HP has announced nine new additions to its Photosmart range in the US, with the most potentially interesting being the R937. At first glance, $300 (£150) appears to get you a plain-Jane 8-megapixel camera with the flash squatting right on the lens for red-eye-a-go-go.
But the R937's secret weapon is a 91mm (3.6-inch) LCD touchscreen, boasting a keyboard and allowing tagging for all you iPhone about to drop, the jury is out on touchscreens here at Crave, but if HP have got it right they may be able to pierce the fog of ordinariness that surrounds this new batch of cameras.junkies. With the
Elsewhere in the range, a close-up-tastic 6x zoom puts the 'zee' in Mz67 (pictured). Sporting 8-megapixel resolution and anti-shake, the charcoal Mz67 measures just 44mm thick and could be used to spy on sunbathing neighbours for a mere $200 (£100).
The other seven cameras (deep breath), the E337, M447, M547, M637, M737, M742 and R847, are less inspiring. Styling is anonymous and specs are undistinguished, but never mind the quality -- feel the price. The M737 is probably the best combination of specs and affordability, boasting 8 megapixels and anti-shake for $180 (£90).
Come on, HP, nine cameras is pushing it. Sure, choice is a good thing, but that way lies market-saturation madness. And really, the only reason HP has managed to fit nine cameras into this undistinguished and indistinguishable spread is by starting so low-spec with the E337.
Everything about this camera is embarrassingly minuscule: puny 5-megapixel resolution, tiny 38mm (1.5-inch) screen and measly 16MB onboard memory. And it only has digital zoom, which is completely pointless, as it just enlarges the image and drops the resolution. Even for a tiny price of $80 (£40) in the US -- it just doesn't seem worth the bother. Frankly, anyone punting out a camera this weak should have the decency to make it out of pink and yellow plastic and put a Polar Bear on the front.
No word yet as to when or if all these grey men will hit the UK market. We'd rather get our mucky fingerprints on the R937's touchscreen. -Rich Trenholm