Read this before you get the new Asus Zenfone 2

Five versions to choose from, and the top-tier version with 4GB of RAM is now available

How much would you pay for a top-of-the-line Android smartphone? Nearly S$1000? Fortunately, you don’t need to sell an arm or a leg to get the Asus Zenfone 2. Because it starts from a mere S$249.

The challenge? Figuring out if this is the right one for you. By now, you might have realised that there are more versions to choose from. So here’s the deal - the most affordable option is the Zenfone 2 ZE500CL. This will come with 2GB of RAM, a 5in IPS display with a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera.

Now that sounds pretty basic, so if you go a notch higher and pay S$299 for the Zenfone 2 ZE550ML, here’s the difference - it has a more powerful 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. This version also uses Intel’s Moorefield Atom Z3 series quad-core processor, clocked at 1.8GHz rather than the Clover Trial+ 1.6GHz chip in the ZE500CL. Plus, the ZE550ML is a dual-SIM device - perfect for frequent travelers. Also, a little more juice is added, a bump-up to a 3000mAh battery instead of the 2500mAh battery powering the entry level Zenfone 2.

Going for broke, you say? Even then, the top-tier item of the three versions, model number ZE551ML, is still pretty affordable at S$349. Almost everything you get on the ZE500ML is found on this higher end version. Plus, a boost in storage space from 16GB to 32GB, and a larger 5.5in screen with a higher screen resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels.

But all three versions have one thing in common - 2GB of RAM. A bummer, considering that Asus was drumming up the hype of the Zenfone 2 being the first smartphone armed with 4GB of RAM. Outside of geek talk, that gives you a smartphone that handles multi-tasking like a pro. Except, the versions that are being sold here don’t have that added boost.

Let the fact sink in. Now, for some good news - the Zenfone 2 will be available from today and starting from 9pm, you can order a unit from Asus’ online store. You’ll have to wait a while more to get this with an accompanying two-year contract - the phones will be sold through StarHub and M1 from 18 April.

Wait, isn't there a 4GB version?

Update 14/05/15: If you've been holding out for the 4GB version, your patience will be rewarded. Pre-orders have begun on Lazada Singapore, and we haven't told you the best bit - it'll be delivered to your doorstep, free of charge, on 16 May. Alternatively, you can hop on down (or walk, really) to a Singtel, StarHub or M1 shop to get the Android smartphone with a two-year contract.

Why yes. And there are two versions that you can choose from, both of which are denoted as ZE551ML too. The difference is in the memory and internal storage - for S$429, you'll get a unit that comes with 4GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Top up a bit more to S$499, and you'll bump up the internal storage to 64GB.

But if you're hoping to get that monster of a device, hold your horses. Both versions won't be available till May 2015, so if you're aiming for these higher-end versions, stay the course and order them when they're available on the Asus online store.

How fares the Zenfone 2?