The Bottom Line
The CW450t does have a couple drawbacks. For a touch-screen LCD, the CW450t's 2.7-inch LCD is much smaller than I'd like to see. However, a larger LCD would greatly increase the price of the camera, so I can live with the smaller screen. The larger problem is that the LCD is extremely difficult to see in sunlight, which is a serious problem when you must control the camera through the LCD.
- Touch-screen LCD is great for a camera in this price range
- Camera is very easy to use
- Image quality is very good for beginner-level camera
- Response times are above average for $100 camera
- Camera is easy to operate one-handed
- LCD screen is very difficult to see in sunlight
- Larger LCD would be nice
- Some photos are a little soft
- Two AA batteries are handy, but drain quickly
- Macro photos aren't very good
- Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
- Optical zoom: 4X (28-112mm)
- LCD: 2.7-inch (touch screen)
- Maximum image size: 4032 x 3024 pixels
- Battery: Two AA
- Dimensions: 2.40 x 3.72 x 1.13 inches
- Weight: 4.23 ounces (without battery and memory card)
- Image sensor: 1/2.3-inch CCD
- Movie modes: Motion JPEG
Guide Review - HP CW450t Review
For a camera with an MSRP of $119.99, the CW450t has really good image quality. Outdoor photos tend to be well exposed with bright colors. With indoor photos taken with natural light, you'll have a few more poor photos, but the CW450t still performs better than most cameras in its price range.
The CW450t's built-in flash unit performs surprisingly well, as long as you remain in the flash unit's recommended range. Flash photos occasionally will have some wash out -- where the photos are overexposed because the flash is too strong -- but they're exposed within acceptable ranges for the most part.
You also will notice some "soft" photos from time to time with the CW450t. Soft photos are those that aren't quite as sharply focused as you'd like.
Shutter lag is not noticeable with the CW450t in good lighting conditions, which is great for a value-priced camera. Indoors and when using the flash, you'll notice a little shutter lag, but it's not a serious problem.
HP is offering 25 scene modes with the CW450t, which makes shooting very easy. You also can shoot in fully automatic mode, and the CW450t will perform very well. The camera's performance in macro mode was disappointing, but it worked well in other modes.
The CW450t runs from two AA batteries, which is handy. However, because you have to use the touch-screen LCD a lot when operating the menus, the AA batteries tend to drain fairly quickly.
The CW450t is a very small, lightweight model that's easy to operate one-handed. It has a pleasing design, with a curved and indented area along the front of the camera that looks nice and works well as a handgrip for your right hand. The camera is available in blue and merlot.
As I mentioned earlier, the LCD is one of the coolest features you'll find on this camera ... and it's the biggest drawback.
Having a touch-screen LCD on a camera that you may be able to find for around $100 is a really great feature. I think touch screens are great for beginning photographers because they're so easy to use, and HP has made its touch-screen menu structure with the CW450t as easy to use as possible.
However, the LCD is very difficult to see when outdoors, which is a major problem when you need to use the LCD to frame photos and manage the menus. Not only is the CW450t's LCD tough to see in direct sunlight, but I also had problems with screen glare on partly cloudy days. The CW450t has two LCD brightness settings, but neither helped with this problem.
The LCD glare problem prevented the CW450t from having a chance to be a five-star camera in my ratings. For a camera in its price range, it is an above-average performer, and I liked the overall look and feel of the camera. It would've been a near-perfect camera for beginners, if only the LCD glare problem was fixed.