Sony Ericsson K550i Review - Mini-marvel

By: Darren Evans

The K550i is a direct replacement for the K510i, but this updated version boasts a full range of upgrades to make it stand out from its forerunner. With the Cyber-Shot branding included, this is clearly aimed at being a fashionable mid-range handset and all the signs are pointing in the right direction.

The K550i does make a good first-impression, as the design of the device is complimented well by the black/silver colour scheme. All of the keys are silver with the rest of the handset done in black which leaves a nice impression. What really draws the eye however, is the neon-blue backlight for the keys when the phone is in use or calls come through. Sony Ericsson has thankfully avoided use of the joystick of old in favour of a more-normal D-pad.

With regards to the keypad, it is very similar in style to a lot of recent Sony Ericsson handsets, in particular the W880i as each are thin, yet responsive. Weight will not be an issue as the K550i comes in at only 85 grams. Whilst in terms of thickness it can't possibly stand up to the W880i (for example), the K550i is still a respectable 14mm thick and is large enough to keep grips on the phone, yet light & compact enough to be pocketable.

For the price bracket, the K550i does make an attempt to pack in a wealth of features. The display quality on the 1.9" screen isn't an outstanding characteristic but is more than adequate enough to keep it on an even keel with its competitors. The connectivity is in-keeping with its price-range, as you get EDGE and standard GPRS, which may not sound like much but to get better options such as 3G you will need to go well-out of the K550i's pricing zone.

Some surprising features are available that do attempt to make the K550i stand out from the rest, such as Push E-Mail; picture-blogging and support for TrackID. What will also work in its favour is the amount of integrated memory of 64MB. When coupled with support for the M2 format up to 2GB, you get a very-healthy amount of available memory.

Due to this, the K550i can be easily used as a music phone seeing how it supports all the usual formats and has the same music-player seen on the W-series, the absence of the MegaBass sound-enhancement feature seems to be the only difference between this and the Walkman range. Enhancing the music capability is the addition of a flight-mode allowing use of the music player on planes.

As the K550i is Cyber-Shot branded, the camera is sure to be a chief selling point and the initial signs are very good as autofocus and LED flash are both included, already putting it ahead of most of its rivals. Handily a shutter is used to cover the camera lens from scratches and finger marks and also activates the camera interface when slid-open. Picture quality is on a par with the W880i, which considering that the K550i is the cheaper of the two is impressive. The only misgiving is that the Cyber-Shot branding is a little misleading as it's been added for marketing purposes rather than technical enhancement, with "branding" being the key word here.

Though the K550i is unlikely to win any awards for innovation or its features, the combination of a good camera, adequate music player and excellent build-quality & usability will make it an ideal purchase for those looking to save money, without holding-back on features, just don't go expecting too much just because it's a "Cyber-Shot."

The is currently available on most and on .

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