BenQ LM100

It’s stylish and sturdy, but does the retativety cheap BenQ LM100 have anything else to offer?

When purchasing a new compact, especially a ‘tough’ camera that is waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof, your mind is unlikely to jump to a model from the relatively unheard of BenQ. However, the manufacturer has recently begun producing some interesting contenders, including the new ultra-portable LM100 — a stylishly decorated compact aiming to give the main brands a run for their money, offering adventure and underwater enthusiasts a 14MP sensor, 28 scene modes, plus colour and filter effects.

In terms of design, the slim and small shooter is made of black matte plastic but fronts a shiny metal panel in shades of blue, pink or orange. A 25-100mm equivalent lens adorns the top right-hand corner, with a slim-style flash positioned on the left. As the compact’s LCD screen is slightly smaller than average at 2.7 inches, it does feel lighter and looser in the hand, which can be attractive to some. The button layout is logical, and everything users need to shortcut commands is catered for on the reverse and top of the camera. Like many others in the ‘tough’ market segment, the LM100 hosts a lockable battery compartment, increasing its durability.

The device is incredibly easy to use, and users can alternate freely between shooting modes using the Menu option, or stick with Auto for reliable captures. Unfortunately, the 230KP monitor is lower resolution than most of its competitors, but the zoom function allows users to view their images in more detail. The 4x optical zoom isn’t the most powerful to boast of, but it is smooth and quick. Focusing is relatively accurate and there is no problem with shutter lag, but the start-up time could be quicker. In addition, battery life was rather poor, as the unit only captured 215 images during our review spell — noticeably below average.

Despite this, colours are strong (although perhaps a little over-saturated) and details are sharp throughout the majority of the focal range. It meters effectively and handles noise very well up to ISO 800.

What’s good about it.

Great ‘tough’ specs at a relatively low price compared to its main rivals.

Strong image quality throughout the range of scene and filter modes.

What could be better.

The start-up time is rather lengthy and could hinder sports and action fans.

The battery performance was poor, with only 215 shots fired in one outing.

A rough and tough compact, stacked with features and capable of great image quality. Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and holidaying parents alike

We answer your questions…

Can it match other tough compacts?

The BenQ LM100 meets the standards of brand leaders by being freezeproof to -10°C, shockproof to 1.5 metres, and can be submerged underwater to a depth of five metres for up to two hours. It is also dustproof, which singles the camera out from others on the market. The BenQ LM100 is packed with tons of great features, all at a very competitive price.

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