The Canon PowerShot is an unsual digital compact camera, sporting a square shape and designed for left- and right-handed users. The Canon PowerShot N is an unusual beast as it's designed to be ambidextrous because of its symmetrical shape. The camera is square(ish) and lacks a traditional shutter button and zoom control, both of which are traditionally placed on the right. This means that the camera should be just as easy to use for lefties as it is for the right-handers. The camera also packs Wi-Fi.
The 2.8-inch LCD is a tad on the small side for lining up shots, but at least the camera keeps its compact dimensions. The touchscreen operation is pretty decent although images look rather soft.
The PowerShot N sports a 12.1MP 2.3-inch CMOS sensor along with a DIGIC 5 processor and picture looked reasonable enough on the relatively small screen, especially considering the dim lighting on the show floor.
The PowerShot N includes a ring around the lens with a small textured area that can be pushed to take a picture. It didn't feel very intuitive and the the ring was very thin, making it a little trickly to locate the right spot to press without looking. If this system isn't for you, then you can also tweak the settings to enable you to take snaps using the touch screen. There are no buttons on the back of the camera, the the touchscreen is also used for navigating through the simple menus. The zoom control is also located on a right around the lens. This was relatively easy to use, but was tricky to operate smoothly. There are a few 'hard' controls on the sides of the camera, including the power button, playback button and a switch to enable the arty filter mode, which automatically produces five different versions of one shot, each with a different effect.
It's an interesting idea, and perhaps something that will genuinely appeal to the left-handers, but the camera is quite uncomfortable to use and the strange design even after a lengthy play.