The IXUS 200 starts in under a second and a half, and the recycle time between shots is around three seconds, which is reasonably good. Its only downfall when pitted against a stopwatch is its continuous mode.
Canon claims an unimpressive 0.8fps per second, but over the course of 10.75 seconds the IXUS 200 grabbed just seven shots, which is under 0.7fps. Again, for the money it would be nice to see a bit more pace, as the IXUS 200's lack of speed makes it less than ideal for taking pictures of moving subjects, from uncooperative children to wildlife.
The DIGIC 4 processor also allows high definition video capture, and the IXUS 200's 720p mode produces excellent results.
There isn't much in the way of features, but as a way of grabbing a quick HD video vignette it takes some beating. The only limitation – except for the obvious lack of a mic input – is that HD videos are limited to either 4GB or 10 minutes.
A useful function of the wide-angle LCD monitor is that you don't record video with black bars across the top and bottom of the screen. In normal stills mode this means you get the full screen for the image, with the space at the side used for status icons.
The IXUS 200's HD capabilities are rounded off by a Type-C HDMI port. Canon also sticks with a standard mini-USB port: a positive for anyone who's ever lost and tried to replace a proprietary USB cable.
The rest of the body is one of the best-handling in the IXUS range. It's very wide, which looks strange at first, but in fact is incredibly comfortable to hold.
There are no specific hand grips, but the matt finish and distance between the right-hand edge and the lens means you can get a decent grip on it without having to worry about keeping your fingers out of the frame. And, despite its size, there are no problems with pocketability.
We can't argue with the looks, either. The rounded edges make the IXUS 200 incredibly attractive. It feels tough as well – the body is made from rugged-feeling metal, although those headed to the top of a mountain should note the lack of weather-proofing on the doors protecting the ports and battery.
The battery is a standard lithium-ion number, and we took shots over several days without the IXUS 200 complaining about imminent failure – Canon claims it will last for 240 shots.
Canon includes its reasonable ZoomBrowser EX, a piece of software that allows you to organise and make rudimentary edits to your shots. Sadly, compared to software such as Picasa, it's rather lacking – there's plenty of power on tap, but the user interface is uninspiring at best – those with a well-sized image library would do well to consider Picasa instead.
The IXUS 200 has a built-in scene mode that helps you line up a panoramic image by helping you line up successive shots, and you get the aptly named PhotoStitch software to help you out once you get your shots off the camera.
The system works well, but, were we to have our cake and eat it, we'd prefer an in-camera stitching utility.