• Shut up and Shoot. Or just shut up, either or

    Shut up and Shoot. Or just shut up, either or

  • Graffiti inspired typography? Yep, this is a hipster cam alright
  • Simple yet stylised design
  • Minimal buttons, maximum selfies
  • Spot the performance artist
  • Snaps are only a shade better than smartphone shots
  • theQ's larger aperture lets more light in
  • The macro mode has a super-short focal length
  • The ring flash makes theQ a good bar/squat party/warehouse opening cam
  • theQ's menu on the small 2.7in screen
  • Waterproof to 1m so it'll survive your jar of damson gin
  • Mmm, theQ camera tastes good in the dark
  • theQ box with a bonus lengthy life mantra
  • Shut up and Shoot. Or just shut up, either or

    Shut up and Shoot. Or just shut up, either or

  • Graffiti inspired typography? Yep, this is a hipster cam alright

    Graffiti inspired typography? Yep, this is a hipster cam alright

  • Simple yet stylised design

    Simple yet stylised design

  • Minimal buttons, maximum selfies

    Minimal buttons, maximum selfies

  • Spot the performance artist

    Spot the performance artist

  • Snaps are only a shade better than smartphone shots

    Snaps are only a shade better than smartphone shots

  • theQ's larger aperture lets more light in

    theQ's larger aperture lets more light in

  • The macro mode has a super-short focal length

    The macro mode has a super-short focal length

  • The ring flash makes theQ a good bar/squat party/warehouse opening cam

    The ring flash makes theQ a good bar/squat party/warehouse opening cam

  • theQ's menu on the small 2.7in screen

    theQ's menu on the small 2.7in screen

  • Waterproof to 1m so it'll survive your jar of damson gin

    Waterproof to 1m so it'll survive your jar of damson gin

  • Mmm, theQ camera tastes good in the dark

    Mmm, theQ camera tastes good in the dark

  • theQ box with a bonus lengthy life mantra

    theQ box with a bonus lengthy life mantra

theQ sets out to be the ultimate hipster camera by fusing the low-fi aesthetic of a Lomo with the social sharing of a smartphone.

Trendy features include wide angle lens, manual focus and an attention-grabbing ring flash. While built-in 3G lets you send photos instantly to your private online archive and share them on your preferred social networks. But, despite these unique features, theQ is like a “surprise” third child: it struggles to carve out space for itself … and you’re not even sure you wanted it in the first place.

Intelligent design

Minimal buttons, maximum selfies

Minimal buttons, maximum selfies

Controls are very basic and quick to master. Hold down the power button to start up. Then give it a tap at any time for a quick on-screen reminder of what the other buttons do. You’ll mostly just use two of them: one to take a snap, another to take a snap using the ring flash. Press one of these to shoot, or press and hold to use the 8-second self timer. It can’t zoom, do HDR or take videos, but selfies are a doddle, which is all that really matters, right?

Get some focus

Spot the performance artist

Spot the performance artist

Snaps are only a shade better than smartphone shots

Snaps are only a shade better than smartphone shots

theQ's larger aperture lets more light in

theQ's larger aperture lets more light in

The macro mode has a super-short focal length

The macro mode has a super-short focal length

theQ’s wide-angle lens has a manual focus including a macro mode. The macro has a super-short focal length, so 99.9% of the time you’ll want to leave focus set to far or infinity, or risk very blurred snaps. Its F 2.4 aperture is nearly half an F-stop up from most smartphone cameras, but the larger aperture lets more light in, which makes theQ a bit better at handling low light conditions but more susceptible to motion blur. It also gives a shallow depth of field that lets you blur backgrounds and create arty bokeh effects.

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Flash Harry

The ring flash makes theQ a good bar/squat party/warehouse opening cam

The ring flash makes theQ a good bar/squat party/warehouse opening cam

Eight LEDs surround the lens to form a ring flash. It looks great, but does it do the job? Yes and no. It puts out plenty of light, making theQ good as a pub-cam (sorry, a hipster bar-cam). But the ring is, by definition, a small one. So the stunning effects that made ring flashes so popular – diffuse shadows, circular highlights in your subject’s eyes, shadowy halos – are sadly absent. Still, it is much better than a smartphone flash: slightly diffuse and bright without bleaching.

Sharing is caring

theQ's menu on the small 2.7in screen

theQ's menu on the small 2.7in screen

3G is built in to theQ. Yep, you’re going to need to fork out for a SIM card and data plan for yet another gadget because it doesn’t include an alternative such as Bluetooth or wi-fi.

After taking a snap, you can press a button to upload it to your private online archive at theQ LAB. Press twice and it also shares to your chosen social networks. You can even apply favourite filters automatically.

What we found hardest about the instant sharing was discerning which pictures were good enough. Previewing on the 2.7-inch screen won’t tell you whether your picture is sharp, good-blurry or bad-blurry. And you can’t zoom in to check. So you find yourself sharing photos that, in hindsight, look pretty darn shoddy.

Flat white friendly

Waterproof to 1m so it'll survive your jar of damson gin

Waterproof to 1m so it'll survive your jar of damson gin

Mmm, theQ camera tastes good in the dark

Mmm, theQ camera tastes good in the dark

As mentioned, the design is practical as well as purdy. So theQ is IP67 waterproof to 1m. Not scuba diving waterproof, but it will survive a dunk in the toilet or a flat white spillage in exactly the way that your phone doesn’t.

We took photos fine with the camera in a glass of water but the hatch at the bottom for SIM card and USB did take in a few drops. The waterproofing basically just makes it tough enough to be a party-cam.

Verdict

theQ box with a bonus lengthy life mantra

theQ box with a bonus lengthy life mantra

theQ struggles to carve out a niche for itself. Its photos are only a shade better than smartphone snaps. Sharing is great but it’s not exactly hard to do that on a smartphone. Creative types will prefer an old school Lomo or a cutting-edge Lytro. And the Canon IXUS 125 HS makes for a much better pub camera. Which leaves theQ just one target audience, the “arty, farty, we like to party” hipster crowd. They’ll love the look, and its low-fi controls will inspire them to have a lot of fun taking creative pictures.

Stuff says... 

theQ camera review

Colourful and fun but struggling to find purpose, this arty hipster camera puts the “why” into Generation Y.
Shut up and Shoot. Or just shut up, either or

Shut up and Shoot. Or just shut up, either or

£121
Good Stuff 
Instant sharing to social media
Ring flash powerful and looks great
Waterproof enough to survive a dunk
Bad Stuff 
No zoom, HDR or video
Can’t preview images well enough
Blurry images, not in a good way
stills
0
video
0
build
0
features
0