Microsoft Lumia 550 phone review
Maybe Microsoft and the Lumia brand have been struggling in the flagship market, but when it comes to budget phones, they are head to head with some of the biggest budget phone sellers in the world. And there is a reason for all that. While the Android budget phones will struggle with the performance of the low end processors and the low amount of RAM memory, Microsoft’s Lumia won’t have that problems because the Windows Phone OS is very resource efficient, so a budget phone will work just fine.
But, the Microsoft Lumia 550 brings something new to the table. It is the first budget phone that will run the new Windows Phone 10.
We don’t expect something special at this price point, so the polycarbonate case of the phone makes it look simple, while being practical for everyday use. While the Microsoft Lumia 550 resembles to the last year’s Lumia 640 in performance, it looks more like the bigger (and marginally more expensive) brother, the Microsoft Lumia 950, and that is a good thing.
The phone measures 136.1 x 67.8 x 9.9 mm and weighs 142g. That’s a bit thick and heavy for a 4.7 inch screen device, considering the only 2100 mAh battery.
All of the physical buttons are on the right side of the phone, and there is the standard capacitive Microsoft button at the front.
The Microsoft Lumia 550 boosts a 4.7 inch display with the resolution of 1280×720 pixels. This brings us pixel density of 316 ppi, which makes the phone visually sharp, so one couldn’t wish for more considering the price. Otherwise the screen is bright enough, and even if the color reproduction is not the best, it is not the worst either, so we would put the quality of the screen somewhere in the middle.
The Microsoft Lumia 550 has a 2100 mAh battery as we mentioned, and Microsoft promises up to 14 hours of talk time. Still, the numbers in the reality don’t show numbers very close to this.
The processor used in this phone is the entry level Snapdragon 210, which is a quad-core processor that works on 1.1 gHz, matched with the Adreno 304 GPU. The processor is somewhat weak even for a Windows Phone OS based phone, but Microsoft had to cut on the price somewhere. Other than that, the phone has 8GB of internal storage (that can be enlarged with micro SD card of up to 200GB), and 1GB fo RAM.
As we mentioned, this is the first budget phone to come with the Windows Phone 10 out of the box. And the new OS works just fine for the phone. We get all the features like the Live Tile homescreen, the action center, there is the Glance screen which look excellent even on the entry level Lumia 550 (it displays a monochrome clock, the date and number of missed notifications, even when the display is off). So all in all, we believe that Windows Phone 10 is a really good match for this phone, with the only drawback being that it takes up 5GB of the storage space, so you are only left with 3GB of storage. On the bright side, you can transfer all of your apps to the microSD card.
We came to the camera department. The main camera is a 5 megapixel shooter, with aperture of f/2.4, accompanied with a LED flash. And the 5mp pictures taken with the Lumia 550 are looking really good, boosting good contrast and not that bad noise. The front camera is of 2 megapixels, and is not that good, but used as a Skype camera, it will do it’s job just fine.
Make no mistake, there is reason that this phone is so cheap. And that is a combination of things, like the cheap materials used to build the phone (even though the build quality itself is not bad), the cheap processor used, the internal storage… But on the first look you will notice that Microsoft worked mainly on the screen and the camera, while the processor wasn’t one of their main priorities. And that is not a bad thing. While there are a few phones that you can choose from at this price range, this is the one with the newest OS, 720p screen and a good camera. So, if you consider buying even an android phone, and you are on the budget, you should check out the Windows Phone 10 first, and later paired with the Lumia 550. We think you won’t be disappointed.