Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 Digital Camera Review$329.99
The TX20 is a perfect example of a camera designed to look fancy without regard for actual usage. The smooth, featureless body is difficult enough to grip, but with the entire rear surface dominated by the touchscreen, and the lens way off to the left of the front panel, this leaves very little surface area available to even hold the thing. Plus, the sliding lens cover is a huge pain to move, and if your hands are greasy from suntan lotion, it won't move at all.
Sony has wisely removed all touchscreen features from the upper right corner of the panel, so you'll be able to rest a thumb there without worrying. Well, almost without worrying. Place your thumb a little too far to the right and you'll start triggering touch focus.
Buttons & Dials
Buttons? Ha! Since we're living in the future, most of the interface is handled by the rear touchscreen. This advanced technology allows you to select shooting options with twice the delay and half the precision of regular old buttons.
We almost always hate touchscreens, and would've preferred a less chic but more usable layout for the TX20. What buttons do exist are restricted to the right corner of the top panel. Here you'll find a shallow and error-prone shutter release, keys for playback and video recording (both of which are too small), and a tricky zoom lever that lacks precision.
All of the rear panel is taken up by a 3-inch, 16:9 touchscreen monitor. We generally hate touchscreens, but more on that later.... This is a gorgeous display, but responsiveness is slow and this makes shooting moving objects almost impossible. Glare is also a problem and default brightness isn't sufficient for outdoor shooting in full daylight. A menu setting can improve this, but no automatic option is available.
Since SteadyShot cannot be turned off while using this camera, we have no way to establish a control group for testing, and therefore cannot award a score here. Anecdotally, the stabilizer seems effective in practice, especially for framing and video shooting.