The Casio Exilim EX-S10 is hands-down one of the slimmest compacts we've ever seen. It's so pocketable we thought there must be some serious compromises in the specs and feature set, especially with as high a resolution as 10 megapixels crammed into this svelte frame. Still, Casio has had a good pedigree lately, and if the £180 price tag drops we may be on to a winner.
Frankly, the S10 looks gorgeous. For a point-and-shoot with a fairly average spec sheet and standard form factor, it has an instant impact on anyone who has it handed to them. This is down to two things: the S10's size zero skinniness and its giant screen. It measures a mere 15mm deep and actually is credit card-sized at its face. Most of that is taken up at the back by a 69mm (2.7-inch) screen.
Controls are largely straightforward, with the usual menu, scene mode -- called Best Shot by Casio -- and playback buttons, as well as a circular clickpad. These are joined by a dedicated record button for the video function, a long overdue and welcome innovation as Casio has been touting YouTube mode on several previous Exilim models.
For some reason, though, Casio continues to include separate buttons for shooting and playback, instead of the near-ubiquitous single button to toggle between them. On most cameras, the shutter also brings you out of playback, but not here. The zoom rocker collar -- the rounded zoom control that surrounds the shutter button -- is also way too brisk, leaping forwards and back at the slightest touch.
Beyond the large screen and slim frame, the S10 boasts the usual compact specs: a fairly uninspiring 36mm equivalent focal length, 3x zoom and face detection. There's also no image stabilisation.
What is satisfying is that even the standard features usually have a number of extra options. Face detection includes the option to record friends' faces so the camera will seek them out in images. There is the very handy option to adjust the intensity of the flash. The auto shutter will fire not only when it detects a smiling face, but also when it detects when a subject has stopped moving, or at the optimum moment when panning the camera with a moving subject. In playback mode, images can be colour corrected, resized, cropped and even have their white balance adjusted.
Most shooting options such as flash controls, ISO speed and exposure compensation can be accessed at all times via an onscreen sidebar. Other options include autofocus and the current time. We're not sure that image size and resolution or the sensitivity of the auto shutter need to be constantly accessible, especially when white balance presets require a trip to the menu.
Fortunately, the left and right buttons of the circular clickpad can be customised, so we mapped white balance to these buttons and thus had all the important shooting options instantly available.
Things are clunkier when you delve into the menus, with the tabbed menus requiring scrolling and an annoying tendency to dump you off the menus entirely whenever you select something.