Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-J10 review
1/2.3in 15.9-megapixel sensor, 4.0x zoom (35-140mm equivalent), 126g
What's the biggest problem with budget digital cameras these days? Image noise? Poor battery life? If the Sony J10 is anything to go by, it's those pesky USB cables and memory cards. If you're always misplacing yours, you'll be relieved to hear that the J10 does away with them.
An integrated USB plug swings out of the side of the camera and plugs directly into a PC for transfers and charging. There's 3.4GB of internal storage but no card slot, and the battery is non-replaceable. It's a slim, light camera, but not so light that we'd be relaxed about it hanging from a computer's USB socket. It's unlikely to damage the camera but it might put excessive strain on the computer's socket. Thankfully, there's a USB extension cable included in the box, and also a mains adapter for charging when USB power isn't readily available.
Connecting to a PC gives direct access to the internal storage, and there's a separate partition containing software for transferring photos to the PC, emailing them and uploading to various online services including Picasa, Flickr and YouTube. These services' login details are stored on the camera for easy uploading using any PC. However, we doubt that many internet cafés will let people run unknown software, and friends might not be too happy about it either.
Putting these novel features to one side, the J10 still has a lot of charm with its elegant, curvy design. The 2.7in screen lets it down badly, though, with poor viewing angles resulting in washed out colours when viewed from above – as cameras often are. The menu system is reasonably quick to navigate, and shot-to-shot performance was excellent at just 1.3 seconds. The switch for selecting photo, video and panorama capture is welcome, but it's a shame that Sony has chosen to include a dedicated Smile Detect button rather than something more useful such as exposure compensation or ISO speed. Smile detection means the camera can take a snap automatically when it spots a toothy grin, but it's too slow and insensitive to be much practical use.