Microsoft’s insistence on calling it “Windows 10” with no qualifier notwithstanding, Windows 10 for phones (or Windows 10 Mobile, whatever you want to call it anymore) is coming to several handsets soon, and if anything saves the company’s mobile bacon, this OS update will be it.
There are and will be Lumia handsets at multiple price points loaded with the new OS, and one of those -- the Lumia 550, which was announced alongside the Lumia 950/950 XL -- is now available. Like the Lumia 950, the Lumia 550 will ship to consumers with a “final” Insider version of the OS.
At a mere $139, the Lumia 550 looks to be one of the least expensive new Window 10 mobile devices available. That price tag is not just cheap for a Windows 10 mobile device; that’s cheap for a smartphone.
However, this is a somewhat underpowered device. Where the Lumia 640 and 640 XL are budget-friendly handsets that promise reasonable performance, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (1.2 GHz, quad core) SoC with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of onboard storage, the Lumia 550 has a Snapdragon 210 (1.1 GHz, quad core) SoC. It does, however, have the same 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of onboard storage as its bigger brothers.
Although I have not performed benchmarks, I have been using a Lumia 640 XL (single-SIM variant) for months, and anecdotally speaking, the day-to-day performance is adequate, but it’s a bit slower than one would normally prefer. Thus, one should temper one’s expectations about the Lumia 550's performance. This is not a substitute for a “flagship killer” type of smartphone.
The Lumia 550 launches today in Europe, and other markets around the world will get it “in the coming weeks,” so sayeth Microsoft’s blog post.
|Microsoft Lumia 550|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 (MSM8909), 1.1 GHz, quad-core|
|Display||4.7-inch (1280x720, 315 ppi) with Glance|
|Storage||8 GB onboard, up to 200 GB microSD|
|Camera||Front: 2MPRear: 5MP (AF f/2.4, 720p @ 30 fps, LED flash)|
|Battery||2100 mAh (removable)|
|Connectivity||-micro USB (USB 2.0)-Bluetooth 4.1-3.5mm stereo headphone-LTE (up to 150 Mbps down, 50 Mbps up)-GSM, WCDMA|
|OS||Window 10 for phones|
|Misc.||-Changeable back cover-Glance screen (see time, notification, etc. without unlocking the phone)-Sensors: ambient light, accelerometer, proximity -A-GLONASS, A-GPS, cell/Wi-Fi network positioning, A-BeiDou|
|Price||$139 USD (plus taxes)|
Update, 12/7/15, 1pm PT: Fixed typo, added clarification.
Seth Colaner is the News Director at Tom's Hardware. He curates and edits the news channel and also writes on a variety of topics. He would have become a professional ultimate Frisbee player, but he was born 15 years too early.