The 7Mp BenQ DC-T700 has a 3in touchscreen that handles all the conventional menu navigation and control.
From the front, the £150 inc VAT BenQ DC-T700 is similar is shape and size to Casio's Exilim EX-S880. However, to the rear we find a minimalist design unlike any other: a zoom rocker, menu and playback buttons are all the control switches you need thanks to that huge 3in touchscreen.
This gives the BenQ DC-T700 an extremely sleek, minimal look that will attract even the most reluctant technophobe.
If you have small hands, or simply dislike fiddly buttons, the BenQ DC-T700's touchscreen is a great alternative. Because the controls are displayed on screen, only the ones you actually need are displayed at any one time, leaving enough space for them to be made large and usefully descriptive.
For example, tapping the mode icon brings up a palette of scene modes which fills the whole screen. Selecting one then brings up an example photograph and a simple, plain-English description of what it does – in large, clear letters. You don't have to learn the function of a whole load of buttons and the BenQ DC-T700 is very easy to operate in the dark as all the controls are on the illuminated display.
It's a system that came originally from Pentax, as did the BenQ DC-T700's 3x zoom lens. Using either the supplied stylus or a fingernail, you can tap away at any of the onscreen icons to change settings or read more detailed help information. You can also use this method to crop, edit and annotate photos – it's like a mini image-editing application built into the camera.
The BenQ DC-T700 produces excellent images at lower ISO settings, but pushing it up to 800 produces some really noisy pictures, which are noticeably worse than similarly specified products.
However, at £150 inc VAT the BenQ DC-T700 is priced below many other 7Mp compact cameras, even with its huge touchscreen display, and the BenQ offers a good balance of style and ease-of-use along with some unique fun features.
The BenQ DC-T700 doesn't produce the best pictures, but it can't be faulted for style or ease of use. And the touchscreen will be reason enough for inexperienced camera users to buy. More confident photographers may prefer the Canon IXUS 75.