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BenQ DC-T700 review: BenQ DC-T700

The Good Large touchscreen; clear images; thin build.

The Bad Slow; struggles in low light; poor battery life.

The Bottom Line The BenQ DC-T700 ticks plenty of the compact camera boxes: supremely pocket-friendly, easy to navigate (thanks to the cool touchscreen) and pretty as a picture. If you think that a choice of colours is more important than a choice of features, then the DC-T700 could be for you. But its poor low-light performance and slow operation mean that £150 may not be such a bargain after all

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5.5 Overall

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The BenQ DC-T700 is a slender compact that still manages to cram an enormous screen to a pocketable package. It's trim and stylish, and reasonably priced at £150.

We investigate whether it's different enough from the Pentax T30, with which the DC-T700 shares most of its innards, or any of the other glut of 7-megapixel compact cameras on the market.

BenQ claimed on launch that the DC-T700 was "the world's slimmest 3-inch touchscreen camera", and it certainly is svelte. It measures 15mm thick, and is only slightly wider at the Pentax Sliding Lens ring. It's so slim that we found ourselves reaching into our pocket and pulling it out instead of our mobile phone.

We like the easy up-and-down movement of the 3x zoom control

At the back, there's a pleasingly large 76mm (3-inch) touchscreen. With most of the controls accessed through the touchscreen, the number of actual buttons is kept to a minimum.

There is a menu button and shooting/playback toggle, with a vertical 3x zoom rocker. Although the up/down movement of the zoom control is preferable to side-to-side rockers, the motion is hamstrung by a choppy, stepped mechanism. When reaching maximum zoom, continuing to hold down telephoto will start the camera zooming out again, which is just annoying.

The DC-T700 is available in black, red, white or silver flavours. Our silver version was more of a matte grey with silver accents, including a sleek metallic fin running around the side of the camera.

The frame feels satisfyingly sturdy. We're not keen on uncovered USB ports and the touchscreen will pick up fingerprints, but these are only minor gripes.

The touchscreen icons are large, clear and responsive. It isn't perfect, though: when snapping, tapping anywhere on the screen brings up the same shooting menu.

We'd prefer it if tapping on the indicator for a specific function, such as the flash icon, took you straight to the menu for that function, cutting out a level of navigation. You can get around this to a certain extent by programming customisable onscreen hotkeys. The menu system also lacks an onscreen 'back' option, although hitting the menu button generally takes you back a level.

The slim theme extends to the slender 12MB internal memory, while features are a bit thin on the ground. BenQ's Super Shake-Free system is another of the automatic high-ISO systems with which manufacturers insist on saddling compacts.

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