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HP PhotoSmart 935 review: HP PhotoSmart 935

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MSRP: $395.00

The Good Easy photo printing and sharing; simple menus.

The Bad Unusually frequent image artifacts; dark LCD with a slow frame rate; poor power management.

The Bottom Line This camera's mediocre performance and mixed photo quality may frustrate even budget-minded enthusiasts.

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6.5 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6
  • Image quality 7

Review summary

The 5-megapixel HP Photosmart 935 attempts to offer point-and-shoot ease to budget buyers who need pictures big enough for printing at large sizes and close cropping. The midlevel feature set includes a 3X zoom lens and HP's Instant Share system, which makes it simpler to print photos and show them to others via e-mail or online. But when it comes to performance and usability, this camera lags a step or two behind many inexpensive competitors, so it's sufficient for only the least-demanding shooters.

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The rather sparsely populated mode dial offers just three scene modes.

The Photosmart 935's styling is clean and reasonably attractive if a bit boxy. The silver-and-gray body is built of plastic and die-cast zinc; the overall construction quality is not top-tier, but the camera feels acceptably sturdy. Weighing 9.8 ounces with the batteries and the media installed, the 935 is easily portable and can just squeeze into a shirt pocket, but it's a tad too bulky for comfort.

The designers positioned most of the controls intelligently, but we have a couple of minor complaints. For one, the buttons for macro focusing and the flash sit on top and to the left, where no finger falls naturally. And the amber status lights for those same functions are invisible in sunlight. The File Write indicator, which flashes to indicate that the camera is occupied, hides under your thumb.

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Cycling through these options is easy, though the buttons don't fall naturally under any of your fingers.
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E-mail and print images with one touch of the lowest button.

The menu system, on the other hand, operates quickly and is admirably easy to understand and use. Extensive onboard help explains many of the settings.

The Photosmart 935 is a moderately flexible but not really notable snapshot camera. The 3X zoom covers a focal-length range equivalent to 37mm to 111mm in 35mm-format terms, which is adequate for most personal photography. Available exposure options include programmed auto; an aperture-priority mode with two choices (2.6 and 5); and sports, landscape, and portrait scene modes. Adjustable exposure compensation keeps the shooting feature set from seeming undernourished. You can choose the default center-weighted metering system, spot metering, or curiously, a simple averaging meter, which is something of a throwback to the 1970s.

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You can upload, e-mail, and print your photos while the camera is docked.

The Photosmart 935 records still images in JPEG format at either 1- or 5-megapixel resolution; you have a choice of three compression levels. You can also adjust in-camera processing of contrast, sharpness, and saturation. The movie mode can capture MPEG-1 video with sound in clips up to two minutes long at a resolution of 288x208 pixels--that's low even for a point-and-shoot.

Like other Photosmart models, the 935 supports HP's Instant Share system for photo printing and sharing. Instant Share lets you designate your pictures' destinations (print, e-mail, and so on) in-camera. When you connect the 935 to your computer, you push a single button to generate your prints, e-mail shots to friends and family, and upload image files to an HP server for online display. The camera connects directly to compatible HP printers via USB.

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