The "1-Minute" Review
- Limited internal storage
- Lackluster front-facing camera
- Bland design
- Windows 10 is a personal taste issue
Microsoft hopes to win new fans for Windows 10 and uphold the Nokia legacy with the release of the Lumia 550. With its affordable pricing and respectable specifications, it seems to bring a touch of mid-market performance to those with entry-level budgets.
If you’re looking for an entry level Windows phone does will the 550 make the cut? Let’s see what the reviews are saying!
The Lumia design has always been minimalist and understated. The 550 makes no changes to this trend. With a blocky design, a plastic shell and two color options, it’s about as minimal as things get. TechRadar notes, “With its preponderance of straight lines and matte plastic, the Lumia 550 is likely to be greeted by phone fans who place a premium on style with an audible "meh".
Heading around to the front of the phone, you’ll find a 4.7-inch 720p screen. TechRadar call the screen “one of the highlights of the device.” While Recombu put it through its paces and found, “Brightness levels aren’t too strong, which poses a minor problem in harsh sunlight.” Reviews pointed out that text, video and other common items showed ample detail but that a lack of screen treatment led to serious glare and smudge issues.
The phone uses a 1.1GHz quad-core Snapdragon 220 processor to keep apps running smoothly. Reviews indicate that the phone isn’t a powerhouse by any stretch but good enough for basic daily productivity, social media apps and media consumption. Windows Central notes, “You're not going to be playing any intense games on it with the greatest experience, but for most things it'll handle whatever you throw at it just fine.” With only 1GB of RAM, multitasking reviews don’t fare any better.
The phone offers 8GB of internal storage for your apps, videos and music. Unfortunately, Windows 10 and the pre-loaded apps take up 5GB, leaving a scant 3GB for loading your own things. GSM Arena said, “A microSD card will be an obligatory purchase with every Lumia 550.”
Powered by a 2100mAh battery, reviews on battery life are mixed. MS Power User said, “The battery life on this device is par for the course, it lasted almost a whole day of medium use (messaging, Reddit, Twitter), only being charged at nighttime. For the price, I have no complaints.” This is a major difference from the finding at TechRadar, who “found that the handset needed charging up to three times a day during intensive periods of use.” If you’re a heavy phone user, reviews seem to point to needing a spare battery. Fortunately, the battery in the Lumia 550 is removable.
Love taking pictures? The Lumia 550 offers a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing lens. Reviews on the rear camera are positive with MS Power User saying, “The rear snapper takes OK pictures, it is somewhat slow to focus and no frills on this camera means that you are pretty much limited to taking bad-average images in good light with some bright spots here and there.” Some reviews noted that the front-facing camera had issues with focus and details, but at only 2MP, the camera is likely best for video chats and social images only.
Overall, reviews are a mixed bag. Reviews found the phone design and performance adequate, but the experience was less than stellar for anything more than basic tasks. Pair this with personal opinions on Windows 10 and it might be a good idea to find a place you can try the phone before committing.
Windows Central summed up reviews best, saying, “As a cheap phone it's mostly great news. The hardware is solid and ticks most of the right boxes. But as with the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, its the software that lets us down. Windows 10 Mobile, for all the innovation it brings, still doesn't feel like it's ready for a consumer product.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
Prices (Where to Buy)
Microsoft released the Lumia 550 on December 14, 2015.
Microsoft Lumia 550 prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Microsoft's suggested retail price is $139.00. You can compare Lumia 550 prices from around the web here on The Informr.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Microsoft Lumia 550 user manual here.
Microsoft backs up the Lumia 550 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Lumia 550 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Microsoft support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Microsoft's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.