Size and weight are big decision factors when you are trying to find the ideal camera for your needs.
In this section, we are going to illustrate the Nikon L31 and Sony A55 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). Sony A55 has external dimensions of 124 x 92 x 85 mm (4.88 x 3.62 x 3.35″) and weighs 500 g (1.10 lb / 17.64 oz) (including batteries).
Below you can see the front-view size comparison of the Nikon L31 and the Sony A55. Nikon L31 is clearly the smaller of the two cameras. Its body is 28mm narrower, 33mm shorter and 56mm thinner than Sony A55. As you can tell, actually this is not a fair size comparison since Nikon L31 has a built-in lens but Sony A55 doesn't. Once you put a lens on A55, its thickness will increase significantly.
Here is the back view size comparison of the Nikon L31 and Sony A55.
Now lets look at the top view comparison of Nikon L31 and Sony A55.
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 (340g ) than the Sony A55 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 A55, the total kit will weigh much higher.
Unfortunately neither the Nikon Coolpix L31 nor Sony SLT-A55 provides any type of weather sealing in their bodies, 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
Sony A55's 3.00" LCD screen is slightly larger than Nikon L31's 2.7" screen.
Moreover, Sony A55 sports a Fully Articulated screen
which you can change the angle and position of the screen almost freely, making it possible to shoot from waist or over-the-head levels, and especially very useful for shooting selfies and video. On the other hand, Nikon L31 has a fixed type screen which provides almost no flexibility in shooting positions compared to A55.