You're right, it is what the author wants (but aren't all reviews like this?). Some reviewers think video and live view is essential, and others dont, and will subtract or add points based on their own preference. Its just a fact, but, I meant unbiased in that he reviews all his cameras like this (only distinguishing by segment: entry level, semi-pro and pro), but, he does clearly state that it wasn't a typical review.
My contention is that this might not be the "upgrade" that most people might think it is. I think the A550 is an excellent camera, and Sony will be better for it, but I don't think upgrading from a A300 to this will make much of a difference for me. I think, just like it was a couple of years ago, the A700 is still the best upgrade route, while the A550 is more for someone who wants to buy a Sony, but finds the new entry level too silly
and the A700 too complicated/large/heavy.
Also, his mention of the A850 might sound odd, but, a FF camera is now under $2000.00! That really is unbelievable, and makes it that much more accessible to a lot more people. If you can afford it, and have the will power to save for it, why not just get the A850?
I dunno, might be wrong to generalize like that, but for me, I want my next camera to have a better build, better viewfinder, better noise control, better lcd. The A550 has all of these, but for me, the A700 is more attractive based on my needs.
N.B. The HDR looks fantastic, and sounds well implemented.