It's been a busy year for Canon. Take the gorgeous new Digital IXUS 120 IS. Look familiar? If so, that's because it's visually almost identical to its predecessor, the IXUS 100 IS, which was launched in Canon's spring collection just seven months ago.

And while the touchscreen-wielding 200 IS, the other new face in the IXUS lineup, delivers innovation in a subtly quirky design, the 12.1-megapixel 120 IS is all about looks.

That's no bad thing, either, as we'd be happy to look at the 120 IS all day. Its brushed aluminium body is tastefully broken by a thin glossy strip around its edge, while the lens, LCD screen and buttons all sit flush with the surface of the camera, creating an overall package that positively drips style and elegance.

Read: Best Canon IXUS 2011: current models by price and specs

Simply put, the Canon IXUS 120 IS is simply the best looking digital compact around right now.

Given its style-conscious billing, you could argue (though we ourselves don't) that this alone makes it worth five stars. What we will say, though, is that potential buyers of the 120 IS are as likely to be swayed by its appearance as its specification, and in that sense it is very much job done.

ixus 120

It's also very compact. It may be a couple of millimetres fatter than the IXUS 100 IS it so closely resembles, but it is smaller than the Sony TX1, the Panasonic ZX1 and Nikon's new Coolpix S640, its chief rivals in the growing 'style compact' category.

In fact, Canon's marketing types proudly call the IXUS 120 IS its slimmest wide-angle Digital IXUS ever, highlighting another current battleground for compacts – wide-angle lens measurement.

Starting at a (35mm-effective) 28mm, the 120 IS matches the Nikon in the wide-angle stakes, but falls short of the Panasonic's 25mm. Its 4x optical zoom range is shy of Nikon's 5x, and well short of the Panasonic's outstanding 8x zoom range.

ixus 120

This hardly paints the Canon as inferior, but simply shows the class of the opposition. And even with 720p HD video capability on board, a launch price of £299 is by no means cheap, especially with Canon's own touchscreen 200 IS costing just £30 more.

ixus 120 is

The IXUS 120 IS might need every flutter of its well-groomed lashes to impress us.