Sony Ericsson K550 review: A Cyber-shot on a budget

GSMArena team, 09 February 2007.
Pages: 1234

Already a magic word in the world of mobile phones, the Cyber-shot brand, has now received a new member. The Sony Ericsson K550 is a feature-rich cameraphone with an enjoyable 2 megapixel camera, nice imaging applications, FM radio and a memory card slot. And all that at a reasonable price that may attract your attention. Anyways, if weve managed to grab it, feel free to join us on a tour with the K800s little brother.

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Sony Ericsson K550 official images

Key features:

  • 2 megapixel camera with auto focus
  • Active lens cover
  • M2 memory card slot (comes with a 512MB card)
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Bluetooth support
  • Multi-tasking
  • Small size

Main disadvantages:

  • Low resolution display
  • Camera not as good as the Cyber-shot brand suggests
  • Records video in ancient QCIF resolution only

The Cyber-shot revolution has done only good to the Sony Ericsson sales. It proved rather successful and that is the reason why the manufacturer naturally releases a more affordable cameraphone to the masses. Sony Ericsson continue their long line of bar phones which are either camera or music-oriented with the K550. The midrange K-series continuation comes again in a small shell with a tight fit waist. At only 14 mm thickness, it surely packs in some nice features. So lets continue with our review, but bear in mind that in the case of Sony Ericsson the Cyber-shot logo does not necessarily mean great camera performance but enhanced imaging capabilities.

The Sony Ericsson K550 is going to be produced in two distinct versions. The first one is the K550i and the second one the K550im which is an i-mode version of the mobile and is the first i-mode phone by the manufacturer bearing that Cyber-shot logo. The test handset we received is in fact namely that i-mode version. It carries certain differences and as such those will be duly noted. Nevertheless, it gives us pretty much the full picture about the more widely-distributed would-be version K550i.

An impressive start

Sony Ericsson K550 leaves nice impression at first sight. It measures 102 x 46 x 14 mm and weighs only 85 g. The handset design is styled with the new Sony Ericsson style circular navigation keys and thin metallic alphanumeric keys. This is obviously the design that is going to reign in the Sony Ericsson camp this year as we see it on almost all their latest bar-shaped mobiles.

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The Sony Ericsson K550

Above the 262K colors TFD display with a 176 x 220 pixels resolution there is only an in-call speaker grill and the Sony Ericsson brand name. The display itself has a silver rim all over which adds a certain stylishness to the design. Below the display there are the navigation keys which have a silver finish.

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In-call speaker keypad

The left side of the device features a dual volume key and the regular Fast Port used for connecting the headset, the charger and the data cable. The port is indeed the regular one use by Sony Ericsson but is unusually positioned on the left side. In fact we saw that same solution in the Sony Ericsson W880. That is the same reason why the bottom side of the device is pretty bare.

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The left side play/stop button Fast Port bottom side

The top side on the other hand accommodates an On/Off key and the Infrared port.

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The top side on/off button and infrared port

The right side of the device features a camera shutter key and a dual volume key which serves the double purpose of zooming in and out when taking pictures or shooting video. There are also two small sliders which in fact lock the battery cover.

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The right side camera shutter volume/zoom buttons

Flipping the phone over reveals the active lens cover. Sliding it down activates the camera interface automatically. The active cover in fact covers not only the lens but also a self portrait mirror. Just beside the cover there are two powerful LEDs which serve the purpose of a photo flash as well as a flashlight when used with the Light application that is preinstalled in the phone.

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The back panel: the active cover closed and opened

Once you slide open the two sliders which lock the battery cover it is removed with an ease. This type of locking mechanism seems rather stable and secure.

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Removing the battery cover

Once the cover is removed, the battery and the memory card slot are revealed. The battery is a standard Sony Ericsson BST-33 Li-Polymer with a capacity of 950mAh. There is no official information about how long the battery is supposed to endure, but our impression is that Sony Ericsson K550 does nice in that department. With a moderate use the fully charged battery was capable of enduring at least 4 days. The same battery in fact is used in Sony Ericsson W850 and W880.

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Under the cover M2 card slot BST-33 Li-Po battery

The SIM card bed is under the battery. Its a regular Sony Ericsson one meaning that the SIM card is easy to slide in and hard to slide out.

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SIM card bed

Generally we are pretty pleased with the design and construction of the Sony Ericsson K550. It feels nice to touch and fits perfectly in your hand.

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Sony Ericsson K550 held in hand

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