Sony Cybershot TX55

Despite speculation that your average compact camera will soon be dead at the hands of the smartphone, this sexy new Cyber-shot from Sony makes point-and-shoot devices look ever so desirable again. At just 12.2mm thick, the TX55 is the world’s thinnest camera, but it packs a whole lot of awesomeness into that svelte little shell.

It boasts a 3.3-inch OLED touchscreen that means its only physical buttons are its power switch, shutter release and zoom toggle; with back illumination that makes it ideal in low light conditions. It has a feature that Sony dubs ‘By Pixel Super Resolution’ which allows the TX55 to shoot 12 megapixel photos and 1080i video simultaneously, in addition to capturing full-resolution 16.2 megapixel images at 5x digital zoom.

Its Superior Auto technology ensures you get the best possible photos every time by snapping 6 shots in quick succession at different settings, varying the shutter speed and sensitivity. The images are then merged together, much like the HDR feature on Apple’s iPhone camera, to create a single shot with reduced noise and a sharper subject.

The TX55 comes packing some handy picture effects software that enables you to get creative on the fly with no need for a PC, such as producing auto-stiched panoramas that span 42.9 megapixels and 3D images.

Its impressive list of features coupled with that beautifully slim figure make Sony’s new Cyber-shot look like a point-and-shoot that won’t be left at home in favor of a smartphone. I must admit that since I upgraded to the iPhone 4 and its excellent 5 megapixel camera, I’ve hardly taken my digital camera out of my desk. However, the TX55 is small enough to slip into my pocket when I’m heading out the door, and has a number of features — such as that impressive digital zoom and simultaneous photo and video capture — that just can’t be matched with any smartphone.

The TX55 will be available in September in the U.S. with a $350 price tag, but pricing and availability for the U.K. is yet to be confirmed.