When ASUS released the first generation Zenfone smartphones into Malaysia last year, it was quite an eventful occasion to say the least. Despite all the delays and stock shortages, the Zenfone series has become quite a success for the Taiwanese company which eventually lead to the unveiling of the brand new Zenfone 2 at CES 2015 earlier this year.
Just like the original Zenfone series, the Zenfone 2 comes in several variations including the ZE551ML and ZE550ML which were on display at ASUS booth in Mobile World Congress last week. Since both of them looked identical to each other thanks to their 5.5-inch IPS display, let’s start by getting to know their differences.
The most visible trait that separated the two Zenfone 2 variant apart is their back cover. That is because the ZE551ML’s back cover features brushed metal finish while ZE550ML is in matte finish and draped with rubber-like coating. While the ZE551ML’s cover supposed to be more premium than the one on ZE550ML, the quality of workmanship on the units that we saw at MWC was rather questionable since the finish looked and feels rather rough.
In fact, I felt that the ZE550ML’s back cover is much more pleasant to hold than ZE551ML. At the same time, the series signature circular metal design on the lower front part of the phone is also not as polished and prominent as its predecessors. That being said though, the units that were on display at MWC 2015 were pre-production units as expected.
Hence, we are not casting any final verdict on Zenfone 2’s build quality at this moment. Nevertheless, we hope to see the quality on the actual retail unit to be way better than what we have seen at MWC 2015.
Apart from the difference back cover that each model has, the ZE551ML also features a higher resolution display at 1920 x 1080 as compared to ZE550ML’s 1280 x 720 display. Additionally, ZE551ML’s display also has higher pixel density at 403ppi which made it sharper than ZE550ML’s 267ppi display.
Another big factor that differentiate ZE551ML and ZE550ML is their processor options. According to the specs shown at MWC 2015, the ZE551ML is available with either 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z3560 or 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core processors. As for ZE550ML, users can either choose to have it with the same Intel Atom Z3560 or the slower 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3530.
Additionally, the ZE551ML can also be obtained with either 2GB or 4GB RAM while the ZE550ML’s RAM options are limited to either 1GB or 2GB. Same goes for their internal storage space as ZE551ML comes with as much as 64GB worth of space while ZE550ML maximum internal storage option is capped at 32GB. Not to forget, both NFC and ASUS BoostMaster fast-charging technology come as standard on ZE551ML but not for ZE550ML.
Apart from the differences that we have mentioned above, other aspects of Zenfone 2 ZE551ML and ZE550ML are pretty much the same with each other. These identical features include the latest ZenUI on top of their Android 5.0 operating system, 13-megapixels PixelMaster rear camera with 5-elements F2.0 lens and dual-coloured Real Tone flash, 5-megapixels front camera, and 3000mAh battery.
In terms of pricing and availability in our market, we have yet to receive any official information from ASUS Malaysia and we believe that both details will only be revealed as we get closer to Zenfone 2’s eventual release day in Malaysia which could happen as early as this coming April. We’ll keep you updated once the times comes, so stay tuned.
ASUS Zenfone 2 ZE551ML
ASUS Zenfone 2 ZE550ML