Stop. Do not pass Go. Do not give General Electric $200 for the G1. With so many mediocre snapshot cameras on the market, ya gotta wonder why anyone would feel compelled to offer another--unless the people behind GE's new camera line are drinking some doctored Kool-Aid.
With its shiny black or silver plastic exterior, the slim, 4.9-ounce G1 definitely looks the part of a chic ultracompact. The mode dial, four-way navigation plus function/OK button, Menu, Trash, and dedicated face-detection mode buttons share the same look and feel as tens of other models; like the Cyber-shot DSC-W35 and its kinsman you grip with your right thumb resting on the dial. The lens and AF-assist light are so close to the right side, however, that you must be careful to keep the fingers of your left hand out of their way. The camera also has an odd-feeling, knurled zoom switch.
Parts of the operating interface can make you nuts, though. There's a Continuous Autofocus option which only seems to be available in movie mode, despite the assurances of the User Manual. And the battery requires a frustrating combination of finesse and brute force to remove.
The G1 provides the typical set of features for a budget point-and-shoot. It uses folded optics for a nonprotruding f/3.5-4.3 38mm-114mm 3x zoom lens. Shooting options include exposure compensation, a handful of scene modes, panorama guides, three metering options, and support for sensitivities up to ISO 1600. There are 5-shot and Last 5-shot continuous shooting modes, but they don't operate at 7-megapixel/best quality mode. The face detection quickly and accurately locates and tracks faces that are facing forward and relatively large in the frame.