I have used a 7.1mp Olympus Mju compact digital camera for the past 2-3 years as a compact alternative to my main camera, Canon digital SLR. Results were fairly patchy and so I have been looking around for an upgrade for a few months. I was on the point of buying the Powershot SX200 but then saw that the SX210 was imminent, so held off until the camera was launched and the price came down from its fairly toppy launch level of £300+. As expected, as stocks improved, the price has fallen sharply plus Canon has now introduced its cashback offer, bringing the price of the camera down materially.
I went for the Powershot over an Ixus equivalent as a) its hugely powerful 14x optical zoom appealed, b) I am more concerned with picture quality than size and c) the Powershot isn't actually that big anyway. So far, I have probably taken around 200 photos using the camera in a variety of conditions and am really pleased with the results. Build quality is top-notch, the zoom lens produces fantastic results and battery life doesn't seem to be an issue (although I have bought a spare Canon battery from Amazon just in case). The menus are intuitive and very much in line with other cameras produced by Canon. As for the flash popping up automatically, I haven't found this to be an issue (in fact, I think handling is very good) but you can keep your finger on the flash and it stays down. There are different auto settings (e.g. 'portrait', 'landscape', 'indoors' etc.), all of which seem to work well plus movie mode (which I haven't tried) along with manual settings. I even used the digital zoom (which goes to 56x) with fairly decent results due to the image stabilsation.
I am using a standard 4GB SD Sandisk Ultra card and a Lowepro Apex 30 AW case, which fits well and leaves space for extra memory cards, batteries etc. If you can afford the extra for a really high speed SD card, I'd say it's probably worth it as with 14.1mp, files are pretty big and there can be some lag evident between shots.
I'm a big fan of Canon photography gear and the Powershot SX210is doesn't disappoint - you can safely buy this knowing that you are getting a great camera for your money.