On first impressions, the Kodak Slice barely looks like a digital camera at all. Just 17mm thin with a tiny lens and one side completely dominated by a 3.5-inch touchscreen, it seems more mobile phone than dedicated snapper.
But a camera it is, and at £300 it’s one of the top models in Kodak’s range. The specs look pretty nifty on paper: a 14MP sensor, 5x in-body optical zoom, 720p HD video capture, and that touchscreen, which promises to make taking snaps a simple matter of poking your porky digit at the right settings.
It’s definitely a winner on the looks front, with barely a button to spoil its clean lines. The only physical controls are a zoom rocker, a shutter button, a power button and a button for switching between record and playback modes.
On the underside is a flap for getting at the battery and memory card (it takes microSD). Not that you’ll necessarily need the latter – there’s 2GB of built-in flash storage.
Touch of evil
Unfortunately Kodak hasn’t managed to match this lovely exterior with a decent user interface. The touchscreen is relied upon for almost every aspect of control, including changing settings, so the fact that it’s about as responsive as a smackhead sloth is pretty problematic.
Something as simple as flipping the Slice into macro mode or switching off the flash can take 15 seconds or so, while most non-touchscreen snappers have dedicated buttons that can get it done in two seconds.
Aside from its size and clarity, there aren’t really any advantages to be had from the touchscreen. The Fujifilm Z700EXR lets you tap an area on its screen to set the focus on a particular person or object – there’s nothing like that here.
Easy to share
There is, though, a lot of support for users who want to share their photos online. You can tag snaps or videos in-camera (it’ll automatically tag up to 20 faces that it ‘recognises’, which is quite scary), hook the Slice up to a PC and either upload them to Flickr, YouTube or Facebook or have them emailed direct to friends and family with a single button press.
And what about the photos? Well, as we’ve often said, more megapixels doesn’t mean more quality, and the Slice’s 14MP sensor and whatever processing is squeezed inside don’t produce anything amazing. Shots look sufficiently crisp and colour-rich in good lighting but low-light snaps are noise-heavy with lifeless colours.
As you might have gathered, we weren’t hugely impressed by the Slice. It gets the design right, but other than that it feels like a distinctly forgettable camera.