The Microsoft Lumia 550 retail package is a bit barren - the phone itself, some guides to get you started and a charger with a non-detachable microUSB cable. Pretty standard so far, but there's no headset or a separate microUSB cable for data transfer.
While most in-box headsets are not high-quality and get tossed in a drawer somewhere, a USB cable always comes in handy, even if it's a short one, so we kinda miss that.
The Nokia Lumia 550 measures 136.1 x 67.8 x 9.9mm and weighs 142g. That's a bit heavy and thick for a 4.7" device, considering the 2,100mAh battery. The top and bottom bezels are also oversized, considering there are no stereo speakers or capacitive touch keys.
The Lumia 550 and Lumia 640 are similar in terms of build and even measurements-wise, they're just a few millimeters and grams apart.
The Microsoft Lumia 550 comes from the same mold as some of its predecessors, namely the Lumia 640. As such, it offers familiarity, but not much in terms of excitement factor. However, we actually prefer Microsoft's approach in the budget-oriented sector - reuse design and spend more on better screen and camera.
The polycarbonate plastic is not the best quality material we've seen, but it has a nice matte feel to it. Have in mind, that the black version we tested is prone to collecting smudges and fingerprints. The alternative white model should hopefully be more smudge-resistant.
Above the screen, there's a 2MP camera that shoots modest 480p video. It's certainly not the new king selfie camera, but will be good enough for Skype videos.
There's also a proximity and an ambient light sensor on the top right. The earpiece and mouthpiece are cutouts in the front glass and are hidden under a metallic mesh.
The only hardware buttons on the phone are on the right side. The Volume rocker is fairly comfy to use though the Power button is a bit low, especially if you try to push it with the thumb of your right hand. There's no shutter key here and we miss the times when Microsoft deemed those mandatory.
The wired ports on the Lumia 550 are split between the top and the bottom - the 3.5mm audio jack goes up top, while the microUSB 2.0 port is situated down under.
The 5MP camera is positioned on the mid-line on the back, but it's some distance off the top edge. This leaves you enough room to put your finger there to hold the phone steady, without covering the camera and smudging its lens. A single-LED flash is next to the camera to be used for low-light shots and flashlight.
The small round grille for the loudspeaker is in the lower right corner. The camera and speaker are pretty flush with the back, which is good design-wise, but leaves the camera lens open to scratches and muffles the speaker.
On the positive side, the back cover comes off, giving you access to the battery and the card slots - one slot is for the microSIM card, while the other one is for the microSD.