As a rule, I generally buy and use cameras with a little bit more functionality, like the Nikon P7000 or D3100. However, the DSC-W610, the lowest-end of Sony's current crop of digital cameras, certainly fits the bill for a cheap, pocketable camera that will get the job done, as long as you don't expect too much from it.
The camera comes with a battery, a charger, a USB cable, and a wrist strap. The USB cable is not your standard Mini-USB or Micro-USB cable, so if you don't plan on using an SD card reader, make sure not to lose that cable! Speaking of SD cards, this camera doesn't come with one, so make sure you pick one up. (The camera works with SD, SD-HC, and SD-XC cards as well as Memory Stick Pro Duo cards, so pretty much anything you throw at it will do.) Although the camera looks like it has a brushed aluminum front, this affect is applied with a textured sticker, and in fact the whole camera is rather thin plastic. It doesn't feel incredibly fragile, but also doesn't give me much hope that it would survive a moderate fall.
The image quality is better than most if not all cell phone cameras, just as you'd expect from a standalone point and shoot. The sensor is moderately sensitive, shooting okay if noisy shots in low-light scenerios. The flash does its job, covering all of the image area (except just the corners when the lens is at its widest). However, don't expect pro-quality photos here, detail resolution when zoomed in all the way is poor, looking muddy and indistinct.
The most unique option on this camera, and the reason we ended up choosing this camera, is Sony's sweep panorama mode. Click the shutter release, then slowly pan the camera right. The camera will make sure you held the camera straight enough (using an internal accelerometer, I'm sure) and automatically stitch the pictures together. It produces surprisingly good panoramas with very little work.
The biggest differentiator between this camera and its slightly more expensive brother, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W620 , is the movie mode. The 610 shoots at a paltry 640x480, while the 620 (and higher models) shoot at 720p HD. Keep this in mind when opting to save a few bucks.
All in all, this camera is great for people who just want a cheap camera to keep in their pocket and not fuss about too many settings. If you demand excellent image quality, high-res video, or toughness in your camera, then you may want to pass on this one.
I bought this as a replacement for another Sony digital camera that I lost. Compared to my original camera, this wasn't as great. My shots often come out slightly blurry, especially in flash mode. Pictures taken in the dark always come out a little weird. The flash also tends to change the color quality of the picture. The picture quality comes out nicely when it is not blurry though. The camera is very light compared to the ones I've used in the past. It is also very small and sleek so it'll fit in your pocket or tiny handbag for a night out. I chose the lime-green color and it looks really nice, I get a lot of compliments on the color since not too many cameras come in this color.
This winter, while traveling in South America, I fell, landing on, and "fatally" damaging, my Canon PowerShot SD780 IS. Not wanting to rely upon smartphone pictures for the remainder of the trip, I purchased another digital point and shoot - the Sony Cyber-shot DSCW610. I purchased the 610, as options were very limited in that location; also, as I had been forewarned, electronics prices in that location were high - higher than the MSRP in the U.S. and about 50% higher than prices at Amazon, so the 610, near the bottom of the price range for digital point and shoots, made sense in the circumstances.
Indeed, one of the strengths of the 610 is its low price point. Another strength is that it truly is "pocketable" - it comfortably fits in a shirt or pants pocket; the worst digital picture is the one you can't take because you don't have your camera with you!
As noted by others, the 610 has a plastic case (with only the appearance of brushed metal) and doesn't feel at all substantial. (As my fall on the Canon 780 proved, however, even a metal case will not stand up to a strong enough force.) The largest shortcoming of the 610 seems to be that the auto-focus works relatively slowly. Also, my experience has been that the AF doesn't seem to work well consistently - many of my shots with the 610 do not seem to be "crisp". (Reviewing the pictures I took with the Canon 780 prior to its destruction and the images captured with the Sony 610, I found that my "batting average" was definitely better with the Canon 780. I acknowledge that there is a substantial difference in the price of the two cameras.) While the controls on the 610, in general, are straight-forward and intuitive, the on / off switch and the shutter are both rectangles adjacent to one another on the top surface of the camera and sometimes, by feel only, I have to consider which is which (the shutter is slightly larger than the on / off and protrudes a very small amount from the camera top, whereas the on / off is very slightly recessed).
As other reviewers have noted, the computer connector on the Cyber-shot 610 is not a standard size, so don't lose the provided cable!
If price and size are important considerations, and if you are not too picky about your pictures, then the Sony Cyber-shot 610 may be a perfectly reasonable choice for you. If you have higher expectations, then you should consider other cameras.
Be sure to buy a memory card to go with this camera as it does NOT come with one. How stupid is that? Got this for a Christmas gift for my daughter who is dying to take pictures today and it's useless until we can get to the store tomorrow. She is a very bummed out 8 year old on Christmas Day! I've never purchased a camera that didn't come with one so I didn't even think to check that detail, but you would think it would be stated somewhere in the description that the memory card is NOT INCLUDED! Come on Amazon, you need to do better with your product descriptions. I would have purchased one when I ordered the camera, but now I have to go to my local store and get one - giving them the sale and not Amazon! I'm sure once we get the memory card and can actually use, the camera will meet and exceed her expectations. Just a little disappointing we can't use it today to take pictures! Oh, and the camera box states it comes with a wrist band, but none was included. Will have to write Sony about that.
This is a very small camera. It is so small and thin that it is hard to hold on to. My last camera had a charger that simply plugged the whole camera in to charge it (like my cell phone and my Kindle) - this camera you take the battery out of the camera and insert the battery into the charger then plug that into the wall. I am sure it is no big deal - just not what I expected - and I am sure I could have found out all this information on the description - but I didn't even think there was really a difference. I really LOVE the green color, though - it is so pretty. I wanted just a basic point and shoot camera to keep in my purse to take pictures of my family - but this one is so light and thin that it is hard to even hold it steady enough for a good picture. I think also the settings are more complicated than I would have liked - but then I am not very techy and I like things very simple.