Don't judge a book by its cover, and don't judge a camera by its appearance. HP's 8-megapixel Photosmart R937 might look strange, but its unique design makes it one of the more pleasant snapshot cameras to work with.
The R937 looks downright cyclopean, with its lens sitting in the center of an otherwise smooth, matte-black shell. A huge touchscreen dominates the back of the device, making it look more like a stylish View-Master than a camera. Though these design elements might be aesthetically questionable, together they form a simple, intuitive camera that's easy to pick up and use.
Like most touchscreen-based cameras, the R937 eschews all but the most basic buttons in favor of an interface almost entirely controlled by its 3.6-inch screen. The large display and colorful, simply designed menu system makes changing most settings a breeze. When you begin shooting, only shooting mode, resolution, and flash options appear on the screen, giving you an otherwise unobstructed view of your subject. As you change more settings, such as white balance or sensitivity (aka ISO), those settings appear as their own buttons on the screen. This simple design element works very well to keep the interface clean, while leaving often-modified options readily available. While the touchscreen menu lets you change nearly every setting on the camera, it does not control the 39mm-to-118mm equivalent, f/3.5-to-f/4.2, 3X optical zoom lens. If you want to zoom in or out, you must deal with a tiny zoom rocker that's barely larger than a grain of rice and is crammed on the right edge of the screen.
Underneath its large screen and unique design, the R937 features HP's full suite of in-camera image editing and organizing options. Through HP's Design Gallery software, you can rotate and crop photos, use various visual effects, and even digitally remove red-eye from both people and pets. This last feature may be the most useful, as the R937's flash sits right above the lens, making it a red-eye magnet. You can also tag photos as you shoot with both preset (Vacation or Holidays, for example) and custom tags. Once you tag your photos, you can then automatically organize them as you import them to your computer with the included HP Photosmart software. Since these tags appear as metadata in the photos themselves, you can also use third-party software to organize your pictures.