Pros: Small, stylish, good zoom, simple to use, good low-light performance.
Cons: Battery life, not sturdy, small controls.
I bought this camera because I wanted something that would fit in my pockets, yet had decent low-light picture quality. My old HP927 camera needed the flash for almost all pictures indoors. The new Sony takes good pictures without the flash, and really good video with stereo sound. The zoom is really amazing for such a small camera, but you have to hold the camera steady or the pictures get blurry at maximum zoom. The optical stabilization helps somewhat but not as much as I thought it would. At that distance, the zoom works good for video, not so much for still pictures, but hey -- you can take pictures captured from the videos! That works pretty good.
Charging time for the battery is about 3 hours. It uses the micro-USB style of charging cable, so it will probably work with the same charger for your smartphone if you forget the Sony battery charger. Make sure you buy a second battery pack, the batteries only last about 1 hour for continuous video shooting. That's what you get with batteries that size. You can use one of the accessory chargers if you want to charge the other battery while you are using one in the camera. The bright side? The camera is smaller than the iPhone 4, and has a real Xenon flash, so it takes MUCH better pictures of people in the dark than the iPhone does. Those LED flashes don't work that good, in my opinion.
The camera has dedicated video, playback, and delete buttons, so working with your pictures is pretty easy. You can use the camera with one hand, so it works good for taking quick pictures. Start-up time is reasonably quick, but the motorized zoom is a little slow. I would have liked a rocker switch for the zoom, also.
The colors can be somewhat off sometimes, but I just adjust the settings until they look okay to me. The menus can be somewhat tricky but the dial makes it quick to go through the settings. Mostly, there are preset "modes" which use processing to get better pictures in low light. I try to stay away from those modes to reduce noise. I think the iPhone still works better in low light, when no flash is used. One awesome thing about this camera is that it not only supports the MPEG-4 movie format, but also the higher-quality AVCHD movie format. I haven't tried out the HDMI port for playback, yet.
You can use standard SD cards and Sony Memory sticks, so that will save you some money if you don't want to just buy Sony branded memory. I would recommend getting a case for the camera because these smaller cameras are not that sturdy if you drop them. If you are nice to the camera, it will probably last a while.
Overall, I like this camera for taking pictures of friends and special events, but I would still like an SLR for the best low-light performance and picture quality. You can't beat the size of the camera though if you are trying to be stealthy.