Unlike the Walkman music phone range that have been breeding like bunnies, the Cyber-shot camera series has been more restrained in furthering its bloodline. Not including the upcoming K850i five-megapixeller, you can count the Cyber-shot collection on one hand: the K800i, its successor, the K810i and our featured phone here the K550i.

Sony Ericsson is looking to dribble down the Cyber-shot experience to prepay-level with the K550i and at 80 quid it represents a Billy bargain. But with dropping down a division, will the Cyber-shot standard we’ve been privy to on the K800i and K810i be diluted?

Keyed up

The EDGE-enabled K550i appears to be your average Sony Ericsson candybar, trim at 14mm and pocket genial at 95g. It has swiped the tiny lozenge tab keyboard introduced on the W880i, which proved a thorny customer for the fat of finger. However, the keypad works much better on this thicker set Cyber-shot.

Otherwise the K550i plays out like all its fellow user-friendly Sony Ericsson compadres, complete with W880i-esque bar grips on the five-way D-pad for added purchase.

Photo fit

The pixel power may have diminished but the 2MP lens is still a bright performer. A slightly rickety sliding lens cover fires up the shutterbug when opened, while the simple camera user-interface and photo settings mirrors past Cyber-shots to a tee.

Sadly, Sony Ericsson has omitted its BestPic and Photo Fix picture trickery, and the flash is a rather crude yet dazzling LED light rather than the better Xenon-style number.

To compensate the K550i has been awarded bona-fide autofocus and macro for close-ups. Not a bad trade off considering its prepay ranking. For a mid-range snapper the K550i delivers some cracking photos with strong detail, especially when it prowls in for close-ups, along with consistent focus and vivid colours. It’s not going to be always on the money but the standard is high for this level.

Music mix

Elsewhere the K550i arrives loaded with the capable standard issue Sony Ericsson music player, which sounds sweet, especially with a bass boost, through the supplied earphones. The manufacturer’s music recognition TrackID service also gets a look in, while you lucky pups even receive a built-in FM radio.

The K550i may not have the pixel power or software bells and whistles of its bigger Cyber-shot brothers, but it’s one of the most accomplished two-megapixel camera phones doing the rounds. And at just £90 on prepay your day just got even better.

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Stuff says... 

Sony Ericsson K550i review

The best value camphone around. It may have prepay status and modest photographic ambitions, but the K550i doesn’t tarnish the Cyber-shot name one jot