As a travel zoom camera, the Nikon Coolpix S9300 offers a very compelling zoom range and many great features, including Full HD video, GPS and speedy autofocus, plus reliable metering and white balance.

However, the camera is afflicted with poor battery life, particularly with GPS on (and why pay for a camera with GPS if you don't use it) and suspect reliability considering the four times it completely froze during a week in our hands.

Furthermore, basic image quality isn't great, the camera isn't quite as user friendly as it could be and it doesn't have any form of manual control.

We liked

The Nikon S9300 sports a huge zoom range with both a usefully wide 25mm wide angle and an impressive 450mm telephoto reach. Autofocus, white balance and metering are all reliable, and the camera benefits from GPS, Full HD video recording and 3D photo capability.

We disliked

The Nikon Coolpix S9300 froze four times during the week we tested it, battery life is poor (especially with GPS activated) and overall image quality isn't as good as it could be. The camera has no manual control, and rival models from other manufacturers seem to offer a more compelling overall package.

Final verdict

These problems, allied with the hefty price of £300/$350, make it hard to recommend the Nikon Coolpix S9300, despite its many strengths.

It's especially hard considering the fact that the Panasonic TZ30 costs just a little more in the UK, and the same in the US. The Panasonic TZ30 is smaller and lighter, has a better battery life, an even wider and longer zoom and more sophisticated video functions.

Or if you don't want to pay the extra money and are happy with a 16x zoom, the Panasonic TZ20 currently sells for about £90/$100 less than the Nikon Coolpix S9300, and has similar features.

Nikon has crammed a wide range of valuable features into the relatively slim body of the Nikon Coolpix S9300. Overall it is an enjoyable camera to use and feels sturdy. However, the underwhelming battery life, imperfect general image quality and questionable reliability make rival models a wiser choice.