BenQ E1000: Talking tough

The BenQ E1000 is a 10-megapixel compact with a 76mm LCD screen and a host of features, but it's not quite as masculine as the manufacturer claims

By far our favourite press release of the last week comes from BenQ, announcing the E1000. It's a 10-megapixel compact snapper parcelled in a metal frame designed for "individuals with discerning taste", according to BenQ, that "truly reflects an individual's character, personality and above all, masculinity." Above all, masculinity! So is this a camera for taking pictures of yourself bench-pressing burning cars on a building site in Baghdad?

Er, no, not really. The E1000 includes a 76mm (3-inch) LCD screen, which is good: we like big screens. We'd like to see more compacts with 76mm screens rather than the bog-standard 64mm punted on most point-and-shoots these days. Other more typical features on the BenQ E1000 include a 3x optical zoom, shutter and aperture priority, and face detection. ISO levels go up to a fairly average 1,600, but we're not sold on high ISO in compacts unless they're also low on noise.

Speaking of which, the E100 has one of those pesky high-ISO buttons right by the shutter. Until we get our grubby mitts on one, we won't know how the E1000 is at keeping the noise down, but we're not keen on this method of image stabilisation -- if you can call it that. You certainly can't call it an "enhanced image stabiliser", and calling it "Super Shake Free function" is just taking the proverbial.

We do like the sound of a function that will capture twelve consecutive scenes in just one second, putting a different slant on each picture. The E1000 is available at the end of this month, but no word yet on price. How masculine is all of this? Well, it's not exactly the super-tough Big Job, is it? Still, it looks nice, and even shares that A-Team van red stripe with the Fuji's rough, tough camera for real men. If the Big Job is BA Baracus, the E1000 is the Face.

Update: A full review of the camera is now available. -Rich Trenholm