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Both an FM radio and a music player are built-in and Sony Ericsson’s headset is required for both. Its proprietary connector precludes you substituting your own favourite headset, and it contains the FM antenna for radio listening.
There is 64MB of memory built into the handset and you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the expansion format of choice is Sony’s Memory Stick Micro. The slot is on the left edge and protected by the battery cover.
Battery life is exceptional. The screen turns itself off automatically pretty quickly, which helps conserve power. This meant my expectations from the battery were high, but nonetheless I was pleased that after a full charge I got twelve hours of music before a low battery warning was delivered and after that a further half hour of music playback.
Other applications include email and RSS support, five alarms, calendar, task manager, notes taker, sound recorder, timer, stopwatch and calculator. On the multimedia side of things you also get a video player, VideoDJ for editing movies shot with the handset, TrackID for identifying snippets of recorded songs over the air, and a blockslider puzzle game.
Bluetooth and infra-red are both built in, and you get the PC Suite software as well as the USB cable you’ll need to take advantage of its synchronisation and file transfer services. This cable is proprietary at the phone end as it shares the power and headphones socket.
The K550i delivers much that is familiar in Sony Ericsson’s handset range. It is in many respects an average mobile phone, though. The camera can be bettered and the screen is small. Still, if you need long battery life it could well make your shortlist.