Pros: 7.1 Megapixel camera. Great price. Many different options, and capabilities. 4x Optical Zoom. Takes AA batteries available everywhere.
Cons: Comes with small memory card, so expect to also buy a memory card with the camera.
The camera has 9 different picture settings. Manual, Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, Indoor, Night Scene and Movie mode. In most modes, the only settings you can change are the ISO, the image size, as well as image quality. You can choose from Superfine, Fine, and Normal qualities. Using the included 16MB memory card, the A550 says you can shoot 16 pictures in Normal quality (on the largest image size). 7 on Fine, and only 4 on Superfine with flash. You can choose from numerous different sizes of images. 3072x2304, 2592x1944, 2048x1536, 1600x1200, 640x480, Postcard 1600x1200, and Widescreen 3027x1728.
In movie mode you can record movies, with audio, in 640x480 at 30 frames per second. It is limited to either 1 gig in size, or 60 minutes long. However, while shooting in movie mode I have noticed that longer videos, the audio does get off of the imaging, and they do not sync up.
The different modes provide different effects. Such as, the portrait mode keeps the object in focus sharp and detailed, while it slightly blurs out the background. (You can focus, and see what's being focused by holding the shutter release button half way down). Manual mode you completely control. Changing everything from white blanace to what ISO you use (80, 100, 200, 400, 800). Auto mode controls it all for you, and readjusts based on what it feels like is the best setting for your current light conditions. Kids&Pets mode automatically reduces blurriness from movement.
The LCD is very easy to see, even in sunlight you can find a way to see it. I personally think it's plenty big enough, but some people have complained that it's a little on the small side. The camera itself loads up and shuts down in less than 2 seconds. Without flash the camera can take a picture every few seconds. This is a powerful camera usuable by everybody. Beginner to advanced, with no problems whatsoever.