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PSA: Not All Zenfone 2’s Are Equal

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Check the specs so you don’t get disappointed

It’s no secret that ASUS’ Zenfone 2 is one of the most hotly anticipated smartphones in the PH today. Both online and offline stores have already begun offering the device even before its official launch in the PH. If you were wondering, all the Zenfone 2s being sold at this point in time are grey market units, meaning they only receive store warranty and not the warranty that ASUS gives to its official products.

Anyway, we swung by Premium Mobile in Megamall yesterday and checked out if all of the Zenfone 2s were already sold out. Predicatably, the store managed to sell the few units that they had in stock, but we learned that they actually offered two versions of the Zenfone 2s for sale: the ZE550ML and the ZE550CL. While both are Zenfone 2’s by name, they are very different devices.

ASUS Zenfone 2 ZE550ML

  • Intel 64-bit Atom 1.8GHz Z3560 quadcore
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch HD IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 16/32 of storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 13-megapixel rear camera dual-color Real Tone flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with ZenUI
  • 3000mAh battery

ASUS Zenfone 2 ZE550CL

  • Intel Z2560 Atom dual-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5-inch HD IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 16/32 of storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • Single SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with ZenUI

For one, the ZE550ML sports the new Moorefield architecture of Intel. We’ve seen the actual performance of the new generation of chips in the FonePad 8 (though the Fonepad 8 has a lower version of the chip) and the performance gap is night and day over the previous generation. The ZE550CL on the other hand, is essentially a slighty upgraded version of the Zenfone 5. It sports the same processor family as the Zenfone 5, with LTE capability, slightly new casing and a new display (though the resolution is the same). The price for the ZE550CL is priced at more than 9K, which means you are paying more than 2K to get LTE capability. The ZE550CL doesn’t even have the new camera sensor that the other Zenfone 2 SKUs have.

While more techie readers may know the difference, there’s definitely a lot of people that may assume that all Zenfone 2s have the same specs. Don’t be fooled – there’s a big difference between the models. Even the people selling the phones may not be as knowledgeable about the devices that they’re selling (they’re both Zenfone 2s, right?) – almost all of us may have already encountered a sales person that don’t know half of the things they’re talking about. The safest bet right now is to get the Zenfone 2s when its officially launched, through official ASUS resellers and dealers. Our EIC Carlo Ople outlined why you should wait for the official release of the Zenfone 2, and just fork out the extra cash to get the highest version of the device.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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6 Comments

  1. Problem with ASUS? They gave a number of distinctively different devices with the same name. Leaves us confused. I think it would be better if they gave unique names for the devices of the Zenfone 2 Family

  2. very confusing indeed. agreed with Morpho that Asus should give unique names to each variants. why not name the lowest zenfone variant with zenfone 2 light? and just zenfone 2 for the midrange variant, and Zenfone 2 Pro for the highest end variant with 1080p displays and 4GB RAM?

  3. The way they “named” their devices is annoying. I wouldn’t even call it naming. The number letter scheme that they’re using is easy to confuse.

    The lowest end version is disappointing as there’s hardly any difference between it and the original Zenfone 5. They should have called that one as Zenfone 5s or Zenfone 5 LTE or something.

    The real Zenfone 2 starts at ZE550ML and even that’s a bit of a tease. They could have done away with the 720p and should have gone straight ahead to 1080p considering the size of the display.

    It was better before when they just kept it simple with Zenfone 4, 5 and 6.

  4. I even think that ASUS should’ve released just one Zenfone 2 variant. They could reserve the other variants for a latter release, following consumer demands. It’s becoming more like MyPhone’s Rio Series.

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