I'm happy with mine... and it wasn't for my wife either, but for me, an experienced film shooter (since 1975).
Get the best camera you can afford that meets whatever requirement you have (size, zoom, whatever). I got the SX200 because it's the most manual camera I could afford. It's a lot of compact digital camera for the price, but hey, if I had another $150 to burn, I would have liked an S90 (because of the larger sensor and the faster lens). I'm on disability with a fixed pension income, so, not going to happen unless I want to take food out of my wife's mouth (which I did consider doing, but only for a minute).
Honestly, are you buying a camera for writing and reading reviews, or for taking pictures? Have any reviewers actually handled this camera? I often wonder. The so-called full-time pop up flash is not an intrusion whatsoever. First of all, you still control whether it flashes or not, and secondly, it's not popping up straight above the camera. It's offset over the front of the camera... not in the way whatsoever. It also doesn't pop up with great force. If your finger is on it when you turn the camera on, the flash will be happy to stay down until you move your finger off it, at which time it just softly springs up. And it will just as easily spring down if while you're pressing a finger on it. It's actually very well thought out and implemented, if you ask me.
Optical zooming with video? Have you ever actually done that and not have your video look like something a rank amateur would have done? What you do is zoom optically before you record, whatever is appropriate for your subject. Then if you need to zoom closer at some point for your video, then use another take. You have to edit after anyway to put your video together, if you want to end up with something that looks half decent. But if you do insist on zooming while recording, this camera has so much resolution available that digital zooming is just as good, and totally noiseless.
I don't know what it is with people these days. With film, if you bought a 35 mm camera, you didn't expect the same pictures as if you used a medium format Rolleiflex, and if you bought a pocket instamatic 110, you didn't expect the same photo quality as with the 35 mm. It's the same with digital. Most people are reading too much and overbuying, paying for things they will never use or need anyway. A good amateur photographer can take far better pictures with something like an SX200 than the average camera review reader can with a top of the line DSLR.
I don't like DSLRs, the same as I never liked SLRs. I've always preferred rangefinders, or twin lens reflex cameras. So, if I had unlimited funds, I would buy a G11, S90 or SX200, in that order. I even like the SX120... because all these still have full manual control. If you just point and shoot, you will never learn anything, or you will forget what you already knew.
Anyway, the SX200 is a lot of fun, and a heck of a lot of camera to have with you. Oh, and by the way, if you want more capability, CHDK works great with it. I use it all the time. I use raw, which the camera with CHDK can save as digital negative DNG files, when I want to do black and white later on with the image.