Most digital cameras come with the assumption that the user has at least some knowledge of photography--but not HP's Photosmart R927. Sure, it's the 8-megapixel flagship of the company's camera line, but with a menu and help system that's every bit as slick at its sculpted, brushed-aluminum casing, the Photosmart R927 doesn't require you to know anything to get started with this camera. As in the past with some HP cameras, we were less than satisfied with its image quality. Still, very casual snapshooters will likely be pleased with the R927, especially if they're just getting into photography, but discerning users will be disappointed with the final output.
As a camera maker, HP is unusual. Even at its most ambitious, the Photosmart line of cameras doesn't try to reach beyond snapshooters and amateurs. The Photosmart R927, sporting a big 3-inch LCD screen as well as help menus that are more useful than many printed manuals, aids its user to not only understand its operation but to take better pictures, too. Unfortunately, even when you heed the camera's good advice, you'll still contend with its mediocre image quality and its sluggish performance.
With a 3X, f/2.8-to-f/5, 35mm-to-105mm zoom lens (35mm equivalent) and a compact, silver-metal body, the attractive R927 looks like standard fare for today's digital point-and-shoot market. But as much as we like its sleek curves, some of its buttons are awkwardly placed. For example, the flash and macro controls are on top of the camera, making one-handed shooting more difficult.