It isn’t enough to compete on specs alone nowadays, and so manufacturers are releasing compacts in all colors to attract consumers. The IXUS 220 HS comes in three colors: red, silver and black. While others are jumping on the touch screen bandwagon, Canon has opted to stick with having physical buttons on the IXUS 220 HS, which are located to the right of the 2.7 inch LCD screen. With dimensions of 92 x 56 x 20mm, the 220 can fit nicely in your pocket for a day of shooting. It also felt solid in our hands, despite its light weight; which is at 141g with a memory card inserted. On an overall design note, the 220 does not stand out in any way and would feel very familiar to those who have dabbled with other modern compacts.
As we walked around the streets of Melbourne, we noticed that the smooth surface of the 220 made it a bit tricky to get a good grip some times. Therefore be prepared to be wiping the LCD screen quite frequently. Also, as compacts get smaller in size, those with larger hands (that would probably mean the male gender) will have a hard time trying not to drop the camera by accident or block the flash as they steady the camera for a shot. Even though the 220 HS does not feature a touch screen, we barely felt the difference as the buttons did provide tactile feedback for when we wanted to switch or adjust settings in a jiffy. We all know how cranky touch screens can get when you have wet hands, or tend to not hit the right spot on the screen, resulting in a slight delay to adjust your settings.
There’s a slider switch that allows users to switch between the Smart Auto mode and Program Auto. Smart Auto basically lets the camera determine the best settings for the scene and all you have to do for each shot is to just press the shutter button. Program Auto does offer more options with a press of the FUNC.SET button located on the back plate but the 220 is a camera that is aimed at those who just wish to take snapshots without too much fuss.
Navigating the various menus proved to be simple as Canon has very helpfully included brief descriptions for the various options in the menus, such as what does focusing to infinity does, or what does the miniature effect filter do to your picture. Canon has also included many preset shooting modes, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, from modes like one for specifically shooting foliage to fish-eye effect mode. In fact, there are extra modes and options that the older models like the 210 did not possess, such as the Movie Digest mode or the Poster effect filter. While we were pleased with the camera's high-speed burst mode, we were a wee bit disappointed that the pictures were only at a maximum resolution of three megapixels even though it shot off eight frames per second.