Performance

Most of the images produced by the WX350 are well balanced and it seems to meter correctly – we had a couple of under- or over-exposed shots but nothing that couldn't be fixed by changing the metering mode when required.

We did experience issues during testing with shots appearing over exposed during playback, but when viewed on a computer they were less so, so this could just be an issue with the screen, rather than the images themselves.

We didn't find any examples of fringing, distortion or chromatic aberration while testing the WX350, and although it produces some lens flare shooting towards the sun it's not to be unexpected and in some cases it can add an interesting detail to the shot, if you like that sort of thing. Edge to edge sharpness is particularly impressive and you'll have no trouble printing images at A4 or smaller.

In bright light, the Cybershot WX350 fares well, with very little noise even when shooting at ISO 1200. When shooting in darker conditions there is a little more noise to be seen although it isn't really noticeable until you get above the ISO 3200 mark.

Sony WX350
The WX350 is small and sleek

Colours represented on camera and in the final shots are true to life and very vibrant, making for punchy bright images. The creative filters on the WX350 are pretty nice, and even potentially gimmicky filters like watercolour and illustration actually render quite pleasingly. They don't look tacky or overly fake, although of course how much you like them will be down to personal preference. High Contrast Monochrome works particularly well to produce moody, dramatic shots.

Altering the white balance can help to adjust the color settings if needed, especially during indoor shooting where the Auto White Balance can be a little thrown by non-natural light sources. For the most part, however, we found little need to adjust it as it coped perfectly well with the majority of situations.

Sony suggests that the WX350 can shoot approximately 470 shots (or roughly 230 minutes of usage) before needing a recharge, and during testing we found that to be relatively accurate. We were able to shoot for an hour or so for four or five days, taking around 400 photos before emptying the battery.

Obviously if you're shooting a lot of video or using the flash then the performance will be lower, but even so it's still pretty impressive.

Auto focusing speeds are perfectly reasonable, with no noticeable lag or delay when shooting. Macro focusing on the WX350 is great, although it's frustratingly auto controlled by the camera at all times as there is no setting or scene mode to select it yourself. It can, however, focus from 5cm whatever mode you're in, and produces some stunning shots with reasonably shallow depth of field.

One of the only niggles with the WX350 is that shooting in bright daylight seems to be a bit of a problem for the screen, as it suffers from a fair amount of glare and is very difficult to view at times, which is a shame.

Sony WX350

We were impressed with the panorama function on the WX350 – it's very easy to use and produces great results. The scroll wheel can be used to change the direction of shooting, allowing you to shoot horizontal or vertical panorama images, and it can also shoot 360-degree panoramas, which is a really nice touch.

Also impressive is the image stabilisation and the optical zoom performance, which at 20x you would hope would be pretty good. Even when using the 40x digital zoom the WX350 is very steady and sharp, which isn't something you always see with a compact camera.

Verdict

While you can potentially get more value for money from the Canon Powershot SX600, which is available for less than the WX350, it's still a solid little camera, and it has a lot to offer to a wide variety of users. With its quick focusing, fantastic image stabilisation and clear, sharp photos, the WX350 is a decent camera in a neat package.

While it's a little low on adjustable options, for a camera in this price range it fits pretty consistently with its competitors. If you're looking for a bit more control over your photos then the Canon Powershot SX700 is a good shout as it offers Shutter and Aperture priority mode, although it is a fair bit more expensive than the WX350, so that's something to bear in mind.

Battery life is pretty good on the WX350, which is something that compact cameras can sometimes fall down on, so it's nice to see that Sony has put some thought into it. We also really liked the Panorama mode, which is quick, easy and just works – you couldn't ask for much more.

We liked

The consistent zoom performance of the WX350 is impressive, and the macro mode is great at capturing fine detail. We also really love the bright, vibrant colours that the WX350 produces.

We disliked

The macro performance is good but it would be nice to see a bit more control over these kinds of basic settings, and niggly issues with the Wi-Fi connectivity made it a pain to use.

Verdict

If you're an experienced photographer, you might experience some frustration with the usability of the menu system. But the WX350 undeniably takes great photos, which is why it's still getting a high score.

However, if you're looking for a small compact camera to keep in your pocket or bag, then it's still worthwhile considering the Cybershot WX350. It's got oodles of technology packed into its tiny frame, and produces pretty great images no matter what mode you're using it in – perfect for beginners as well as people who like to experiment a bit with their shots.