Size and weight is a big decision factor when you are trying to find the ideal camera for your needs.
In this section, We are going to illustrate Nikon L31 and Canon 550D side-by-side from the front, back and top in their relative dimensions. Nikon L31 has external dimensions of 96 x 59 x 29 mm (3.78 x 2.32 x 1.14″) and weighs 160 g (0.35 lb / 5.64 oz) (including batteries). Canon 550D has external dimensions of 129 x 98 x 62 mm (5.08 x 3.86 x 2.44″) and weighs 530 g (1.17 lb / 18.70 oz) (including batteries).
Below you can see the front view size comparison of Nikon L31 and Canon 550D. Nikon L31 is clearly the smaller of the two cameras. Its body is 33mm narrower, 39mm shorter and 33mm thinner than Canon 550D. As you can tell, actually this is not a fair size comparison since Nikon L31 has a built-in lens but Canon 550D doesn't. Once you put a lens on 550D, its thickness will increase significantly.
Weight is another important factor especially when deciding on a camera that you want to carry with you all day.
Nikon L31 is significantly lighter (370g ) than the Canon 550D which may become a big advantage especially on long walking trips.
Again, this comparison may not be very useful in real life as we are comparing the weight of a camera with a built-in lens to the body-only weight of an interchangeable lens camera. Once you put a lens on 550D, the total kit will weigh much higher.
Unfortunately neither Nikon Coolpix L31 nor Canon EOS 550D (EOS Rebel T2i / EOS Kiss X4) provides any type of weather sealing in their body, so you have to give extra care especially when you are shooting outdoors. If weather sealing is a must-have feature for you, check these sections: Top Compact Cameras with Weather Sealing Top DSLR Cameras with Weather Sealing
LCD Screen Size and Features
Canon 550D's 3" LCD screen is slightly larger than Nikon L31's 2.7" screen.
Unfortunately, both cameras has fixed screens so they don't tilt or flip in directions.