We don't say this enough, but when it comes to gadgets, substance trumps style. Even if a gadget is pretty and stylish, it's worthless if it doesn't do what's intended. Sure, Kodak's EasyShare V803 might be pretty and stylish. Unfortunately it's also a very poor digital camera.
Despite its fat, chocolate-bar shape, the V803's smooth curves and array of colours (black, blue, gold, pink, purple, red, silver and white) make it quite comely. Unfortunately, the camera's sleek design makes for an uncomfortable control scheme.
A handful of tiny rectangular buttons strewn across the top and left side of the camera back access the V803's different modes and menus. The buttons feel unresponsive and are placed so that you have to use two hands while operating the camera, and we found it difficult to distinguish between them by touch.
Also, you have to use a small, awkward-to-manipulate joystick to navigate the camera's various settings and menus. In our field tests, it often mistranslated directional taps and button pushes for each other.
Besides its colourful, curvy body, the V803 doesn't have any unique or notable features. The 8-megapixel camera uses a 36mm to 108mm-equivalent 3x optical zoom lens, and features a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen.
Besides those main features, the camera has onboard image-editing features with Kodak's 'Perfect Touch Technology', as well as the standard array of scene presets and modes. We were pleased to see what Kodak calls the Maintain Settings mode, which saves your preferences for settings such as ISO, white balance, flash and pixel resolution, so you don't have to reset them each time you turn your camera on, as you had to with some previous Kodak models.
The V803 performed reasonably well, though it takes far too long to start up. After a 4.3-second wait from power-on to first shot, we managed to take new photos every 1.4 seconds thereafter. With the onboard flash enabled, that wait increased to 3 seconds.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
||Typical shot-to-shot time||
||Time to first shot||
||Shutter lag (typical)|