Images by: engadget
By Darren Murph
Given the sheer quantity of marketing muscle that Casio put behind the Tryx, you'd think the company was gearing up to rival Nikon and Canon in the DSLR space. Instead, out popped the outre device you see above. Without qualification, this is one of the strangest, most bizarrely designed cameras we've ever seen, featuring a pop-out display and a grand total of two buttons for operation. At 4.8- x 2.3- x 0.6-inches, it's certainly one of the slimmest, easy-to-carry point-and-shoots on the market, but is the absence of an optical zoom and a removable battery enough to tank an otherwise radical idea? Head on past the break for our two pennies.
Let's be crystal clear here -- Casio's playing up the design angle hard on the Tryx. And unsurprisingly so, might we add. The chassis is undoubtedly the differentiating factor that separates this shooter from a myriad others that are currently cluttering store shelves, but the real question is this: does it matter? We've seen pop-out displays emerge on DSLRs -- where they're seen as helpful for budding video makers who need to shoot low-angle clips -- but Casio's taking a leap of faith by assuming the same theory will translate in the compact realm.
The outer "rim" that surrounds the optics and the 3-inch touch panel is constructed of a markedly robust metal. We did out best can-crunching pose, and the frame barely flexed. All that's needed to separate the LCD from the frame is a solid shove, and things click back into place automatically once swung back around. Once exposed, the LCD is surrounded by an SDXC / SDHC / SD card slot, a mini HDMI output and a USB charging port. Each of those are covered by flimsy plastic clips, which we're guessing won't last a year given the assumption of normal wear and tear. The bezel is home to just two physical buttons: an on / off switch and a shutter trigger.
After you've moved the LCD out into the open, you can swivel it 360 degrees -- perfect for shooting low-angle video and self-portraits. The hinge does an excellent job of holding the LCD where you put it, yet it's smooth enough that it doesn't require the assistance of the Old Spice Guy to return it to its default position. The 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor that dominates the face of the device is encased in a protective layer, and while we weren't able to scratch it during our recent jaunt to Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and Joshua Tree National Parks, we're still leery that one or two tumbles could render all of your future photos a bit less idyllic.
As clever as the design is, we found ourselves struggling to unearth a purpose even after using it for a week. If you attempt to pop the LCD out and set it on a table for a timed group shot, you're foiled by the fact that it'll sit cockeyed on whatever surface you place it on. If you consistently shoot low-level video, the swiveling LCD is an obvious boon, and if you're a fan of filming your rollercoaster escapades, the handle (read: exposed rim) will certainly come in handy. Outside of that, though, we found no compelling reason to handle this thing unlike any other point-and-shoot. Compounding the problem is the fact that the entire rim is slick as glass, so you're taking quite the risk by holding the device in a closed fashion.
We also found the inability to zoom (optically, anyway) to be a huge downer. Sure, there's a digital zoom, but considering that you aren't a fan of heavily pixelated images, you might as well consider the EX-TR100 to be zoomless.
Casio Tryx NYC Sample Movies (1080p)
You're probably wondering why an atypical point-and-shoot deserves a battery section, so we'll just cut to the chase: the longevity of the Tryx is startlingly poor. 50 still images and 20 minutes of capturing 1080p footage had our review unit hanging on for dear life, and we aren't confident that a full charge is capable of lasting through a solid hour of filming. That may be forgivable if a few other things were true, but they aren't.
Those "other things" include a removable battery and a conventional micro-USB port. For whatever reason, Casio decided to completely encase the Li-ion here, making it impossible to access, remove or replace. We couldn't rely on this guy to carry us through the daytime hours at a National Park, which led to us carry yet another camera as a backup -- there goes the advantage of being mobile, eh? To make matters worse, Casio threw a proprietary USB charging port on here, which makes absolutely zero sense to us.
What's so irritating about this decision isn't the requirement to carry around yet another cable in your pack; it's that Casio came so close to including a feature that we'd love to see on every single point-and-shoot from here on out. Had this camera been able to recharge via a standard micro-USB port (you know, like your Android smartphone, PND, portable media player, and 14 other gadgets you've got sitting around), it would have instantly become one of the most stress-free charging experiences to ever hit the P&S world. As it stands, we're flabbergasted with the design choice to select something other than a standard port -- there may be an awesome reason from an engineering standpoint, but if we can charge a Nexus One and a Columbia heated jacket through the aforesaid port, why not this?