Hewlett Packard R927 Review
HP R927 Design
Though the HP R927 doesn't break any new ground like the R707 did back in 2004, it slims down its shape while maintaining a rugged, ergonomic, and lightweight exterior. This latest R-series flagship is actually a little more square than other HP cameras with the top left corner, as seen from the rear, not rounded off as on other models.
At 3.8 x 2.4 x 1 inches (96 x 62 x 26 millimeters), the R927 is a little bigger than its advertised "pack of cards" size but not by much. It's certainly small enough to fit in a handbag or backpack with the steel chassis feeling like it could take some serious jostling without a problem, despite being relatively lightweight at just 7.48 ounces (212 grams) with the battery and SD card. The recessed area on the bottom front of the HP R927 is both eye-catching and functional, giving your fingers a more comfortable and firmer grip on the camera's body while adding an attractive swerve to the frontplate so the camera doesn't look boxy.
The front of the R927 is almost flat, with the exception of a very slight protrusion around the lens, and a deep recess at the lower right hand corner (when looking at the camera from the rear) which serves as a grip for your right index finger. The R927's front panel is finished in brushed stainless steel which wraps gently around the right hand side of the camera. When powered on, the lens extends approximately an inch from the camera front. A shutter-like cover protects the lens, automatically sliding open when the camera is activated and closing again when the camera is turned off. Also on the front panel is the autofocus assist lamp (at the very top left of the camera), which doubles as an indicator lamp for the self-timer. Continuing further right is a single hole for the camera's microphone. Finally, near the top center of the camera, just left of the HP logo, is the built-in flash strobe. As reported earlier, the top left corner -- from the user's perspective -- is not rounded off as on some other HP models.
The right side of the R927 (as viewed from the rear), wrapped in the metal skin that curves around from the front panel, is almost perfectly smooth and featureless with the exception of a small eyelet on top for the included wrist strap.
The opposite side of the camera is likewise almost completely smooth and featureless, with the only the tops of four tiny screws showing which lock the front and rear steel plates together. Since the camera's USB and DC In connector terminals are located on the included HP Photosmart 6220 Digital Camera Dock, these ports are not on the camera body. While this may improve aesthetics, it means you'll have to carry the dock with you if you want to connect the camera directly to a PC or printer.
The Photosmart R927's top panel is smooth and uncluttered. Flat with the body from left to right are the camera's main function buttons: the flash setting, the focus setting, the Photosmart Express menu button, the playback/record button, and the on/off button. All the way on the left is the grille for the speaker. On the right toward the front of the R927 is the raised shutter button. Behind it is a smaller slightly recessed button that activates the movie mode.
The remaining camera controls are located on the rear panel, along with the huge LCD monitor. To the right of the LCD in a slight indentation is a wedge-shaped button that serves as the HP R927's zoom control. Pressing the top right side of the button zooms in, while pressing the left side zooms out. In playback, this button will let you zoom in and closely inspect your image or zoom out and view them in multi-frame playback of up to nine images per screen. Below the zoom control is the camera's four-way mode button. Press the top arrow to access the Shooting Mode menu while in Live Menu. The Menu/OK button in the center displays camera menus, selects options, and confirms actions. Below the Mode button to the left is the tiny battery charging light which blinks blue when charging.
The R927's bottom panel is almost totally flat, with a metal threaded tripod mount at the very rear left corner of the camera. The battery and SD / MMC card compartment is at the right rear of the camera, covered by a sliding door that opens on a gently spring-loaded mechanism when you release the sliding lock. Also located on the bottom of the camera is a connector for the camera dock, which is not protected by any kind of cover, so you'll want to be careful to avoid debris which could damage the electrical contacts inside.
HP R927 External Controls
Shutter Button: Slightly raised on the front of the camera's top panel (as viewed from the rear), this button sets focus and exposure when pressed halfway, and fires the shutter when fully pressed. In Playback mode, a half-press of this button returns the camera to Record mode with the LCD enabled and a full press returns to Record mode and captures an image immediately.
Video Button: Behind and to the right of the shutter button -- and slightly recessed so you will not inadvertently choose it instead of the shutter button, the Video button sets focus and exposure and starts / stops video capture when fully pressed. Videos are recorded with sound, and optical zoom is available. In Playback mode this button returns the camera to Record mode with the LCD enabled and starts video recording immediately.
Power Button: Located on top of the camera, this button powers on the camera and extends the lens. Pressing it a second time powers the camera back off, and retracts the lens again. Just to the left is a blue power LED.
Live View/Playback Button: Pressing this button switches between Live View and Playback.
Photosmart Express button: Pressing this button in Live View or Playback calls up a menu giving you the following options: Print, Buy Prints Online, Share All Images, and the Share Menu Setup.
Focus button: Lets you choose from five focus settings: Normal Focus, Macro, Auto Macro, Infinity, and Manual Focus.
Flash Setting button: Lets you choose from three flash settings: Auto, Flash On, Flash Off.
Zoom Controller: Pressing the top right side of this wedged-shaped button zooms in while pressing the left side zooms out. In playback, this button will let you zoom in and closely inspect your image or zoom out and view them in multi-frame playback of up to nine images per screen.
Four-Way Arrow Pad and Menu / OK Button: Located below the zoom controller, this set of five buttons serves as the camera's main navigational tool. The four exterior buttons navigate through settings menus, moving the selection up, down, left, or right. The center button acts as the "OK" button, to confirm any changes, as well as calling up the Menu in the first place when pressed in either Playback or Record mode.
Battery/Card Compartment Release Lever: This sliding lever unlocks and locks the compartment door.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.