The EOS 1100D's four-way controller and the surrounding buttons let you navigate the menu-system, open the Q-menu and give you direct access to some essential shooting parameters such as ISO or White Balance.
Compared to the 1000D, Picture Style and Metering mode have lost their hard buttons in favor of White Balance and ISO, which are arguably changed more often by most users.
Like most recent Canon DSLRs, the 1100D gains a button for easy access to live view mode. When in the movie record mode this button initiates movie recording. It's well-placed, just next to your thumb - within easy reach but secondary to the Exposure Compensation button, as it probably should be.
The 1100D uses a new LP-E10 battery. This 6.4Wh unit will give around 700 shots per charge, based on standard testing methodology, representing an improvement over the 500 shots its predecessor could produce.
Unlike the 1000D, the 1100D doesn't have a separate card slot. It's now integrated into the battery compartment, which can make taking the card out with the camera mounted on a tripod a little difficult.
Under a rubberized flap you'll find the EOS 1100D's connection ports. From top to bottom: remote release terminal, USB port, and HDMI socket.
Like more expensive Canon EOS models the 1100D has a metal EF / EF-S lens mount, which means that it can use the full range of Canon EF lenses as well as the designed-for-digital EF-S lenses.
Because the sensor is smaller than a 35 mm frame all lenses are subject to a field of view crop (sometimes called focal length multiplier) of 1.6x, thus a 18 mm lens provides the same field of view as a 29 mm lens on a 35mm camera, a 50mm becomes equivalent to 80mm, etc.
The flash button is moved just next to the shutter release. Sadly, unlike the 600D, the 1100D doesn't gain the ability to control remote flashes. The button can be customized to change ISO.
On the mode dial the 1100D gains a movie recording mode position. Creative Auto also makes an appearance right next to the scene modes, to make it clear that it's an easy-to-use option.
At a guide number of 9.2 (ISO 100) the 1100D's built-in flash is less powerful than its predecessor and other cameras in the Rebel line (GN13 at ISO 100).
It can sync up to 1/200s and has an electronic pop-up release, so in Auto exposure mode will raise itself when required.
The EOS 1100D's hot-shoe can be used with Canon and third party flashes (although sync only on most third party units), and is E-TTL II compatible.