Microsoft's Lumia 550 is a startlingly cheaper alternative to the 950

Forget the mid-range: there's a low-end option to match the new flagships

Microsoft took the stage yesterday to unveil the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL: a pair of performance-packed flagships that will set the standard for Windows 10 handsets. Naturally, they're both pricey.

But there's something else on the horizon: the Lumia 550, which - as the lower number implies - is a much, much cheaper Windows 10 option. Microsoft spent a matter of seconds on the device during the larger presentation, but now full details are available.

The Lumia 550 cuts down the glossy specs of the 950 and 950 XL pretty dramatically, but it sounds like a pretty solid low-end option. It'll arrive with a 4.7in LCD screen running at 720p (315ppi), which isn't too far off from what's on the iPhone 6s. That said, the quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor and 1GB RAM more obviously hint at a budget device.

It'll ship with 8GB internal storage and support for microSD cards up to 200GB, plus the 2,100mAh battery is removable. You'll find a 5-megapixel shooter on the back, and a 2MP selfie cam up front. And very thankfully, it's built for LTE, so this budget phone won't be so hobbled from the start.

Microsoft says the Lumia 550 will ship in December at a price of just US$139 (RM600) - about a quarter of the price of the standard Lumia 950 (US$549 (RM2370)) although it's not yet known when availability will expand outside the United States. It might be meager compared to the impressive Lumia 950 phones, but that price might make a low-end Windows 10 phone seem downright appealing.

[Source: Microsoft]