The Pentax MX-1 is a pretty cool camera. It has some competitors with similar specs but they are all going to be about $400. $250 is a darn good deal. This camera isn't for everyone. The lens is very fast and very sharp, but to get that they had to limit it to a 4X zoom. So if you think a compact camera needs a 10X or 20X zoom, this camera is not for you. The build quality of this camera is really excellent, much better than most compact cameras, but to get that they had to make it a little bigger and heavier. This is a solid little camera. If you want a very small, light compact camera, this one isn't for you.
If you want a camera that will fit in a pocket or purse and still takes very sharp high quality images, clearly better than the typical compact camera, buy the Pentax MX-1. If you want a really small light camera with a long zoom, buy the Panasonic. You can't go wrong with either one.