Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is something of a digital Trojan horse. That's down to the fact that it may well be the best looking "rugged" camera we've seen to date - unless the more obvious physical brawn of the Pentax Optio W90 appeals - and this doesn't seem to have compromised either form or function. With its slender 17.7mm depth in fact it's easy to forget about its toughened qualities and treat it with as much care as you would a conventional compact; that said we did manage minor chips to the paintwork carrying it in a pocket with keys.
Ultimately the Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 provides a wider array of features and shooting possibilities than more conventional compacts - but of course this versatility comes at a premium. Whether you think this justifies a price comparable to what could otherwise be spent on an entry-level digital SLR and lens bundle - in theory offering wider creative possibility, but additional bulk with it, probably depends on whether or not you're already an existing DSLR owner. Recommended, but with the caveat that a £299 price tag would be much more like it.
On first glance the 10.2 effective megapixel resolution DSC-TX5 seems a modest addition to Sony's Cyber-shot series. Like the other credit-card sized models in the same range it resembles a cigarette case or makeup compact with its slender depth and shiny-mirrored metal fascia. The top half again slides down and opens to reveal lens and integral flash, activating the camera as the user performs this task. So taking a picture with the TX5 is pretty much as easy as taking one with a camera phone.
K for outdoors