"A smarter and more compact brother of my Hx5v + 3D"4.0 starson by ez2pilot
Pros: 1) f2.4 aperture+backlit CMOS (field of depth+low light)
2) 24-120 mm Sony G lens in a small package
3) Defocus mode + focus tracking function
4) 1 sweep Panorama, 3D! (tricky to master but fun)
6) 1080i HD video, 10fps burst
7) SD Card compatible
Cons: 1) Small buttons
2) No software for 3D viewing on PC yet
3) No manual controls (Aperture or shutter speed)
4) Tricky to master 3D and Panorama shots
5) Pictures comparatively soft/mushy on edges when the camera tries to run noise reduction algorithm
Summary: I have owned a Sony Travelzoom Hx5v since May 10 and I am getting this one for my folks to replace their 3 years old Canon SD870. They were impressed with the pictures and videos i took and they would like to have the 1 sweep panorama feature in their next compact camera.
For features, pictures and video quality the WX5 is fairly compatible with my Hx5v. While the Wx5 lacks the 10x zoom, GPS and Manual controls it uses a faster 24-120mm lens with f2.4 aperture, adding a Defocus mode with focus tracking function, some 3D tricks and a smaller body (smaller than canon SD4000/4500 and S95)
For picture quality, I found that the imaging-resource site's comparometer is pretty representable. Images with enough lighting are great but whenever the camera finds a need to apply its noise reduction algorithm, the object edges could appear to be softer/mushier (loss in details) when you amplified/zoomed into the image. Personally, I like the vibrant/richness images of the Hx5v and WX5 over the SD870/800 that I used to have which looks a bit over exposed to me.
I am pretty sure there are better image quality camera out there but for my family the Sony images print excellent 8x10 and both images and video view great on the HDTV. the camera satisfy 99% of what I think my folks would need it for to quickly capture memorable moments (wx5 is a bit faster than the Canons).
Function-wise the "iAuto+" is almost the same as the twighlight, Backlight and HDR mode of my other Sony which takes multiple pictures in the same shot and combine to get one "best" picture. this works best when the subject is standing in front of a light source or if there's not enough light at the surrounding. But if your subject is moving I found that the regular iAuto will pick a more appropriate setting to avoid blurry pictures. Unlike my Hx5v, there's no Manual mode (very very disappointed, especially when it has a great f2.4 aperture) and P (program) mode has very limited control.
The 1sweep Panorama is great and since I have practiced it with my other Sony and I know how fast I need to move to get the right picture. I am pretty impressed by the Defocus mode with "Focus Tracking" function which give me more confident in capture nice pictures that shows a certain field of depth. (It has been a hit or miss for me to do that with my Hx5v)
The 3D features (3D stereographic that can be viewed via camera and 3D Panorama) could be a "wow" factor but until I have other means to view it I guess I have no way to say they are good or not (I don't have software to view it on PC nor do I have a 3D TV) but playing with it within the camera could be fun at times.
Other nice things I found that has been an improvement from my Hx5v is that they have moved the microphone location closer to the center of the camera top so it's less easy to be obstructed. Sony has also moved the "Burst" mode button away from the on-off button so it is more distinguishable without having to look at the top of the camera.
All in all my family has been happy and excited for this new toy and I am hoping it will serve my folks well for the years to come.