Canon PowerShot N review: Could this socially savvy compact camera be the life of the party?


posted Friday, September 27, 2013 at 4:42 PM EDT

The Canon PowerShot N stands as quite a unique camera, and Canon has designed it for a pretty unique use-case scenario -- a pocketable, socially savvy party cam for the young and fashionable. The square-shaped camera is certainly striking looking and will definitely draw a crowd. It's also well-built and feels substantial in the hand; it's no mere toy.

However, the PowerShot N's funky controls, especially the shutter and zoom rings, make it very unintuitive and often frustrating to use. If this camera is meant to be shared around amongst your friends and family, be ready to explain to them how to use it -- over and over again.

Since practically everyone already has a smartphone that not only takes decent snapshots, but also can easily and quickly share them, the Canon PowerShot N has a difficult challenge to position itself as an appealing alternative. Obviously, the camera's 8x optical zoom range is a big advantage. And you'd think the same would hold true for its larger, 12.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS imaging sensor. But how much better than a smartphone is it really?

Read our Canon PowerShot N review to find out how this camera's image quality and convenience stack up to today's smartphone cameras, and whether it's worth adding to your gear bag.