Does this mean they take poorer pictures?
Worse in low light conditions?
Smaller lenses (in size and aperture) is the case with the other cameras, however not (in aperture) with this one and that is why I typed that F2 in bold because it is about 4x brighter than some..
(F2 lets 4x more light in than F4 , most compacts of this kind have a max aperture of 3.3 to 3.9)
F2 means tha half of the available light hits the sensor, at F4 it is a quarter so it is F 1/2 or F1/4...
As for the final image, (detail/sharpness/colours/exposure), that depends a lot on the sensor and the image processor the camera is using.
So having the exact same lens and sensor but a different "engine" you get a different image
(somewhat like people using Photoshop will get a different look starting with the same file)
BTW, the optics don't protrude but travel internally (called folding optics).
This is a Minolta patent. (most of those cameras are made by Sanyo now owned by Panasonic)