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Asus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML vs ZE551ML : How Exactly Are They Different?

As soon as our airplane from Indonesia landed in Manila yesterday and I turned on my phone's mobile network, I immediately got bombarded with messages from my friends and readers in the Philippines who are eager to learn more about Asus ZenFone 2's local availability and pricing details.

Asus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML

I received a ton of questions about this amazing handset but the one inquiry that kept coming up was about the main difference between Asus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML and ZE551ML. You see, Asus is set to release four variants of their flagship model in South East Asia and the most affordable version is the 16GB ZE550ML, which will sell for only 2,699,000 Indonesian Rupiah or Php 9,639 (with current conversion) when it hits store shelves come May or June this year.

Asus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML vs ZE551ML
Asus flashed these pricing information cards for the 16GB ZE551ML and 16GB ZE550ML and apparently, the data presented baffled some of my readers as the two handsets appear to be largely the same. Well, the truth is, they are very much alike but they have one key difference.

Asus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML

According to Mr. Gabriel Paolo Padit, Asus Philippines' PR Specialist, the 16GB Asus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML has the same features and technical specifications as the 16GB ZE551ML but the former only has an HD 720 x 1280 pixels IPS display compared to the Full HD 1080 x 1920 pixels IPS screen of the more expensive model. ZE550ML will also have a 13 MegaPixel PixelMaster autofocus camera with Dual Tone LED flash. Essentially, they're exactly the same except for their displays.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Comparison Table (TSTSCT)
Name Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551MLAsus ZenFone 2 ZE550ML
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category Midrange
Dimensions152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm
Weight 170 grams
Available Colors Osmium Black, Sheer Gold, Glacier Gray, Glamor Red, Ceramic White
Operating System Android 5.0 Lollipop with Zen UI
Display 5.5 inches (~403 ppi pixel density), Full HD 1080 x 1920 pixels, IPS+, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, Gorilla Glass 35.5 inches (~267 ppi pixel density) HD 720 x 1280 pixels, IPS+, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, Gorilla Glass 3
Processor 16GB version: Quad Core 64-bit 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z3560 chipset with PowerVR G6430 GPU
32GB and 64GB versions: 16GB version: Quad Core 64-bit 2.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3580 chipset with PowerVR G6430 GPU
Quad Core 64-bit 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z3560 chipset with PowerVR G6430 GPU
RAM 16GB version: 2 GB of RAM
32GB and 64GB version: 4 GB of RAM
2 GB of RAM
Internal Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB options, expandable via microSD card slot supporting up to 64GB16GB, expandable via microSD card slot supporting up to 64GB
Camera Main: 13 MegaPixels, 4208 x 3120 pixels, autofocus, Dual Tone LED flash
Front: 5 MegaPixels
Video Capture Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second for main camera, HD for front camera (TBC)
Audio and Video Playback MP3, WAV, eAAC+, FLAC, MP4, H.264
Ports microUSB v2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, 3G HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, HSPA+; LTE Cat4, NFC
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
FM Radio Yes
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Gyroscope
Network 2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 and SIM 2, 3G HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 4G LTE 700 / 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29), TD-LTE 1900 / 2300 / 2500 / 2600 (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41)
SIM Card Type Dual microSIM, Dual Standby
Battery Non-removable 3,000 mAh Li-Po battery
Uptime TBD
Value-Added Features Zen UI, PixelMaster camera, Affordable price tag; Top-notch specs, Fast Charging
Announcement CES 2015 ~ January 6, 2015
South East Asia ~ April 22, 2015
Availability Philippines: May or June 2015
Price Update as of April 21, 2015 ~
Official SRP in Indonesian Rupiah (280 INR = Php 1)
16 GB with 1.8 GHz Quad Core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3560 chipset: 2,999,000 (Guesstimate: Php 10,710)
16 GB with 2.3 GHz Quad Core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 chipset: 3,999.000 (Guesstimate: Php 14,282)
32 GB with 2.3 GHz Quad Core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 chipset: 4,499,000 (Guesstimate: Php 16,607)
Update as of April 21, 2015 ~
ZE550ML Official SRP in Indonesian Rupiah (280 INR = Php 1)
16 GB with 1.8 GHz Quad Core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3560 chipset: 2,699,000 (Guesstimate: Php 9,639)

So between 16GB ZE550ML and 16GB ZE551ML, which Asus ZenFone 2 model do I recommend? Based on their recently announced SRPs in South East Asia, I believe the two variants will be separated by a margin of just Php 1,000. If you think such amount justifies the Full HD display on the ZE551ML, then go for that model. If not, go for the ZE550ML. If you ask me, I'd say you should just spend a bit more and get the version with the more crisp and clear screen so you can better appreciate photos and videos taken using the phone's stellar PixelMaster camera, which is one of Asus ZenFone 2's main selling points.

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