If we must summarize, we would definitely call Samsung i550 conservative. It does have its strong points but is by far not the most inspiring handset in terms of design. In fact, the plastic used on its body looks downright cheap. To put it mildly, we weren't impressed.
In terms of size the Samsung i550 stands at 115 x 53 x 13.8 mm, a decent and quite pocket-friendly achievement. It is surely on the slim side of smartphones and one of the slimmest to offer a similar or better feature pack.
Samsung i550 will be offered in two color versions -black and silver. Frankly, we do appreciate the silver one more but the black one isn't that much of an eyesore either. Anyway, appeal is not what this handset is about.
The front panel of the phone is dominated by the large 2.6" display. The earpiece is located right above it, dead center. In the left corner is the video-call camera. No surprises here.
Under the display is the trackball, which is the key navigation tool in the phone. We do like trackballs and this particular one had every chance of impressing us. Well, it failed. It was far too slow and needed a whole lot of rolling to move a single icon. It might be Samsung's first go at trackballs but we still expected more. Anyway, we are going to get back to the trackball and the rest of the keypad a little later in our review.
The left side of Samsung i550 features the microSD card slot, the volume rocker and the neck/wrist strap eyelet. The volume rocker has nice ergonomics and tactility but is a little too hard to press for our taste.
On the right side of Samsung i550 we found the USB slot and the dedicated camera key. The latter was a real downer for the lack of a half-press, which makes operating the camera rather unnatural. We can't see any good reason for Samsung doing such a thing but, after all, the camera is not the key feature in i550 so it may as well get away with that.
Topside of Samsung i550 we have the power key and the 3.5mm jack. The power key also gives access to the ringing profiles. We find the location of the 3.5mm jack very convenient; it's most comfortable for wearing the handset in you pocket with headphones plugged in.
The bottom part of Samsung i550 is quite plain. The only adornment here is a wide gray stripe.
|"...If we must summarize, we would definitely call Samsung i550 conservative. It does have its strong points but is by far not the most inspiring handset in terms of design. In fact, the plastic used on its body looks downright cheap. To put it mildly, we weren't impressed..."|
At the back side of the phone is the 3 megapixel camera lens. It goes with a LED flash which, as you may have guessed, is rather inadequate. Producing good night photos is hard for even the best equipped cameraphones and Samsung i550 falls seriously short of being one of them. There is also a self-portrait mirror backstage so you can frame you self-portraits better. More about the camera is coming up in the dedicated part of the review.
Removing the battery cover reveals the 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery. It will keep you going for a good 3.5 days under moderate use (a few calls and messages plus about 40 minutes of using the other phone's features a day). It is about what you expect, given the size of the screen. Plus, Wi-fi and GPS take their toll on battery life too.
To summarize, we are pleased with the build quality of Samsung i550. It looks sturdy and problems such as paint peeling seem very unlikely. What we are not happy about however is the rather cheap look. It's a fine line between neat and cheap but we, for one, were on the wrong side of it.