Samsung ST90 review: Samsung ST90

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The Good Small and light; cheap.

The Bad Below-average image quality; no HDMI socket; confusing interface; takes microSD cards only.

The Bottom Line The cheap but not entirely cheerful Samsung ST90 suffers from below-average image quality and an ungainly menu system. There are plenty of superior cameras available for a similar price.

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5.5 Overall

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Samsung's attractive, small and cheap ST90 may well appeal to those seeking a fuss-free compact camera. But is this £100 snapper a case of 'buy cheap and pay dear'? 

Floats like a butterfly...

The ST90 is unlikely to walk away with any design-innovation awards, but it's certainly a good-looking device. It's only 17mm thick, with width and height measurements similar to those of a credit card. It's also very light, weighing just 105g.

For those who like to stand out in a crowd, there are several bright shades to choose from, namely red, purple and pink. Traditionalists can be reassured that the camera comes in good old black and silver versions, too.

Indoors, even when there's plenty of light, the ST90 doesn't cope well. This shot was taken at ISO 120, but there's plenty of noise in the solid colours (click image to enlarge).

At first glance, the ST90 seems very similar to its cousin, the ST95. The most immediate difference is that the ST90 costs around £30 less. It also has a 14.2-megapixel image sensor, compared to the ST95's 16.1-megapixel chip, and, while you can control the ST95 using a snazzy touchscreen interface, the ST90 comes with a cheaper, non-touch-sensitive screen and traditional buttons for navigation. The display is smaller too, at 2.7 inches, rather than 3 inches.

Individually, none of these compromises seems too crippling but, together, they have the effect of making the ST90 seem significantly less appealing than some of its more feature-filled stablemates, including the ST95 and the Wi-Fi-enabled SH100. Neither of these cost that much more, so it's definitely worth weighing up your options before you buy the ST90.

The movie mode lets you shoot in 720p at 30 frames per second but footage doesn't look much better than that which you can get from an average smart phone. The camera doesn't provide an HDMI socket, either, so you can't watch your footage directly on an HD Ready television.

As with Samsung's other recent cameras, the ST90 only accepts microSD cards. That means you won't be able to use any standard-sized SD cards you already own. You may have to factor the price of a microSD card into the overall cost of your purchase.

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