The DSC-W110 upholds a masculine aesthetic with its brushed black body contrasting nicely against the metallic accent of the camera's border and the lens' frame. To this end, Sony has denied it the colour options made available to its W-series comrades, which can be picked up in various hues, such as pink, red and gold. You will have to settle for the tech staples of either black or silver if you're after the DSC-W110. In either colour, the brushed finish will prove its worth as a welcome deterrent against fingerprint marks and smudges.
Rather than being flush with the back of the camera, the DSC-W110's control buttons protrude out from its surface. This allows bigger fingers to intuitively find them, although some may find that they still remain too small for their liking. The raised zoom rocker on the back of the camera is easy to use and the ridged mode dial clicks through its options with a satisfying level of resistance. Rather than remaining flush with the camera's surface the LCD is also raised.
Scene modes are accessed by turning the mode dial at the back of the camera. Each turn of the wheel displays the mode and a brief descriptor of its function on the right of the LCD — providing easy navigation around the camera for those who want a highly automated, guided experience. This description appears only briefly, acting as a useful prompt rather than an annoyance.
You can plug-and-play your photos straight from the DSC-W110 to your TV through the camera's slideshow option. There are five slideshow styles through which you can view your happy snaps, all of which can be accompanied by either eight underwhelming preloaded musical tracks, or any music you choose to upload onto the camera. You will need to use Sony's proprietary port which combines data transfer and AV functions. Be aware that this port has been left open and exposed to the elements and, consequentially, any fluff that might gather in your bag or pocket.
As is to be expected on an entry-level camera, there's an absolute dearth of on-board editing features in the DSC-W110. Photos can be organised into folders and that is about it — don't expect the likes of red-eye reduction editing. Disappointingly for a cut-price camera you'll have to fork out extra dosh for a Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro or Memory Stick Pro Duo card.
On the plus side, the DSC-W110 has Sony's smile detection function, which allows the camera to automatically take pictures whenever a smiling face ventures across its path; sensitivity for which can be adjusted along a sliding scale. There's also face detection, that can be configured to preference adults or children, and sensitivity of up to ISO 3200. To assist beginners, the ISO menu gives you information on the available image sizes, such as VGA-sized pics (useful for small images intended as email attachments) and 7.2-megapixel images (which give you the flexibility to create quality images of A3 dimensions).
This 7.2-megapixel compact camera produces a good quality image with its Carl Zeiss lens and 4x optical zoom. Generally speaking the performance of the DSC-W110 is good for an entry-level unit. It is able to collect its first shot after start up within four seconds. Without a flash you'll be able to get a shot every 0.8s when in burst mode. When taking shots manually with a flash you can gather an image every three seconds.
The camera is let down slightly by the 2.5-inch LCD. It becomes hard to enjoy the end-product when setting up shots is disturbed by the screen's relatively poor clarity and tendency to motion blur. This blurring is fairly significant and, when one considers the camera's quick shot time, represents an annoying deviation in the DSC-W110's high construction standards. As a consequence, it makes life difficult when trying to set up shots on busy streetscapes or when trying to capture action scenes such as sports. Some salvation comes in the camera's inclusion of an optical viewfinder, but the viewfinder is relatively small and ungainly to use.
The DSC-W110 is a camera designed for ease of use and a low price point. If you're happy to have a point-and-shoot without much in the way of features, then this compact digital camera will point and shoot for you and then ... well ... point and shoot some more.