Specs summary

Screen
5.71"

The Essential Phone's screen is 5.71 inches with 1312 x 2560 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.9 GHz

There is a Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 Octa core 1.9 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system (OS).

Camera
13+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 13+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
128 GB

Internal memory is 128 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
3040mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 3040 mAh battery. Essential's performance ratings are minutes (2G), minutes (3G).



The Essential Phone is an Android phone that nails it with design, performance, and software.

- Julian Chokkattu , Digital Trends 

Even though the Essential Phone is, for now, far from perfect, it's hard not to be excited about what it could be.

- Karissa Bell , Mashable 

Reviews summary

7.7/10AVG.
RATING
Based on 20 reviews

What's good

  • Crisp, bezel-free display
  • Solid, attractive design
  • Powerful performance
  • Plenty of internal storage

What's bad

  • No microSD support
  • No headphone jack
  • Camera software issues
  • Questionable future of modular add-ons

It’s rare to see new faces in the mobile market. Especially new faces challenging the flagship behemoths on their first release. But Essential’s pedigree involves one of Android’s original founders and a handful of ex-Apple and ex-Google experts.

The phone’s received endless hype since it was announced and the spec sheet looks great. Despite a few release delays, this much-anticipated phone is now available.

How’s this disruptive, minimalist phone sitting with reviewers? Let’s dig in and see what everyone is saying!

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The Essential Phone distinguishes itself from the pack out of the gate with a unique choice of materials. The phone doesn’t use the typical aluminum or glass, instead opting for ceramic and titanium.

It appears this decision paid off as reviewers raved about the stylish design and how the phone feels in the hand.

Android and Me declared, “The Essential Phone feels absolutely phenomenal without a single bit of exaggeration.” Engadget noted, “[The phone] feels dense, in a reassuring sort of way.”

Reviewers had no trouble with scratching or grip. Though some noted the ceramic back attracted fingerprints.

The only design complaint from reviewers was the lack of water resistance as this feature is common in today’s flagship market.

Heading around front, reviews continue to stay positive. The phone’s 5.7-inch 2560-by-1312 pixel LCD panel wowed reviewers for both color reproduction and clarity. The screen fills nearly every inch of the front of the phone—including the areas around the front-facing camera. Engadget noted, “It's almost impossible at first not to gawk at the PH-1's screen.”

Many reviewers questioned whether the camera floating in their notification bar would create problems. Fortunately, no one had any issues.

With an octa-core Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM, the phone sits on par with many of 2017’s most popular flagship releases. Paired with a near-stock version of Android 7.1.1, reviewers had no complaints about performance.

The Next Web said, “The Essential Phone feels faster than any phone I’ve used to date, except maybe the OnePlus 5 and Pixel.”

The phone is also confirmed to get Android 8.0 Oreo soon.

You won’t find a microSD slot to take advantage of Android’s adoptable storage. However, with 128GB of internal storage, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Reviewers had little trouble getting a full day out of the 3,040mAh battery either. Digital Trends noted, “Starting at 8 a.m., with medium to heavy usage including browsing the web, taking lots of photos, watching a few YouTube videos, and playing a game, the battery reached 30 percent by 6 p.m.”

Should you need to top off during the day, the 27-watt USB Type-C charger offers as much as 30% in only 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. The camera left most reviewers wanting more. While the 13MP dual-lens rear camera and 8MP front-facing lens sound great on paper. Most reviews noted issues with shutter lag, poor low-light performance and muddy colors.

The Next Web said, “I’ve had better shooting experiences on midrange phones. Fortunately, it mainly seems to come down to software… I installed Google’s camera app for the Pixel, and the results are night and day.”

Many of the later reviewers noticed a considerable difference in picture quality as patches rolled out. In time, picture quality might improve. For now, most reviewers had trouble recommending the phone for those looking for a good camera experience.

Some reviewers also criticized the lack of 3.5mm headphone jack. However, those that tested the included USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter had no complaints.

Modular attachments are still a mystery. At release, only one is available and none of the reviewers tested it. However, general opinions seem to be that the design will leave greater flexibility in mod options once they appear.

Overall, reviewers were split on recommending the device. If you’re looking for a top-notch photo experience, the Essential Phone isn’t there yet. Otherwise, reviewers felt it brought a lot of value to the table.

Engadget summed up opinions well, saying, “It's an exceptionally crafted device and a stunning first effort from a company that didn't exist 18 months ago. While the PH-1 stands as a testament to Rubin's vision, a few shortcomings keep it from being as truly great as promised.”


Reviews (7.7/10 Avg. rating)


WhatsYourTech

Among the smoothest Android phones I’ve used to date

from WhatsYourTech

It’s undoubtedly one of the smoothest Android phones currently available, though achieves this partly by refraining from adding anything of its own. Addition by subtraction is really the theme encapsulating this device, which will surely please those looking for it.

Read full review

It’s undoubtedly one of the smoothest Android phones currently available, though achieves this partly by refraining from adding anything of its own. Addition by subtraction is really the theme encapsulating this device, which will surely please those looking for it.

Read full review

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Talk Android

A premium device running clean, stock Android

from Talk Android

I would definitely recommend the Essential Phone to anyone looking for a well-built flagship, especially an Android purist. As long as photography isn’t your top priority, there’s a lot to like with Rubin’s first effort.

Read full review

I would definitely recommend the Essential Phone to anyone looking for a well-built flagship, especially an Android purist. As long as photography isn’t your top priority, there’s a lot to like with Rubin’s first effort.

Read full review

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Ars Technica

Impressive for a new company but not competitive

from Ars Technica

If we're not grading on a curve, the Essential Phone's camera, screen, water resistance, and the lack of memory expansion can't compete with other flagship Android phones. If you're pricing a phone at $700, you need to compete with the other $700 phones, and Essential's first phone just can't do that. It's hard to see anyone buying an Essential Phone after looking at the competition.

Read full review

If we're not grading on a curve, the Essential Phone's camera, screen, water resistance, and the lack of memory expansion can't compete with other flagship Android phones. If you're pricing a phone at $700, you need to compete with the other $700 phones, and Essential's first phone just can't do that. It's hard to see anyone buying an Essential Phone after looking at the competition.

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PhoneArena

Not the smoothest execution

from PhoneArena

The Essential phone is a beautifully crafted piece of technology. Despite the bugs, the device feels really, really good in the hand. The phone’s design works. The screen’s design works too, regardless of concerns one might have had with the front facing camera placement. Unfortunately, that is where the allure begins, and ends.

Read full review

The Essential phone is a beautifully crafted piece of technology. Despite the bugs, the device feels really, really good in the hand. The phone’s design works. The screen’s design works too, regardless of concerns one might have had with the front facing camera placement. Unfortunately, that is where the allure begins, and ends.

Read full review

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Android Police

Essentially okay

from Android Police

The Essential Phone is an impressive piece of hardware, and the company deserves kudos for that. Essential built a device with materials that set it apart from the competition, and one that many established smartphone makers would probably struggle to build. Yes, it's a little heavy and basic-looking, but the titanium/ceramic chassis feels durable and different than every other phone out there. I don't like that there's no headphone jack, but this is a battle we're going to lose. At least Essential includes an adapter.

Read full review

The Essential Phone is an impressive piece of hardware, and the company deserves kudos for that. Essential built a device with materials that set it apart from the competition, and one that many established smartphone makers would probably struggle to build. Yes, it's a little heavy and basic-looking, but the titanium/ceramic chassis feels durable and different than every other phone out there. I don't like that there's no headphone jack, but this is a battle we're going to lose. At least Essential includes an adapter.

Read full review

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Cnet

We deserve more than this unfinished phone

from Cnet

I can't recommend the Essential Phone with a clean conscience. Despite having two extra months to work on it, the phone I'm holding still feels unfinished in too many ways, and too many of the reasons you'd buy an Essential Phone -- a wide variety of modular accessories, quick Android updates, seamless interaction with all your smart home devices -- are based on promises the company has made.

Read full review

I can't recommend the Essential Phone with a clean conscience. Despite having two extra months to work on it, the phone I'm holding still feels unfinished in too many ways, and too many of the reasons you'd buy an Essential Phone -- a wide variety of modular accessories, quick Android updates, seamless interaction with all your smart home devices -- are based on promises the company has made.

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Android Headlines

Not very essential

from Android Headlines

On paper, the Essential PH-1 seems like it would be a winner in almost every category. From the gorgeous and stylish build, to the extensive care that has gone into the design and material choices for the phone, there’s little on the outside to make you think this would be a bad experience. Even the benchmark results and internal components fit within the frame of a $700 phone, however this facade breaks down once the phone is used. You’ll find little to justify the high price tag, no matter if we’re talking features or the overall experience, and the whole package feels more like it was sent out unfinished rather than a careless mistake in the design process.

Read full review

On paper, the Essential PH-1 seems like it would be a winner in almost every category. From the gorgeous and stylish build, to the extensive care that has gone into the design and material choices for the phone, there’s little on the outside to make you think this would be a bad experience. Even the benchmark results and internal components fit within the frame of a $700 phone, however this facade breaks down once the phone is used. You’ll find little to justify the high price tag, no matter if we’re talking features or the overall experience, and the whole package feels more like it was sent out unfinished rather than a careless mistake in the design process.

Read full review

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Mobile Syrup

No one said hardware was easy

from Mobile Syrup

At the moment, the Essential Phone represents a promise. It will be exciting to see what the team that built this phone goes on to do next, especially since they got so much right, but when it comes to consumer electronics, it rarely makes sense to buy a promise.

Read full review

At the moment, the Essential Phone represents a promise. It will be exciting to see what the team that built this phone goes on to do next, especially since they got so much right, but when it comes to consumer electronics, it rarely makes sense to buy a promise.

Read full review

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The Next Web

A stunning phone that feels incomplete

from The Next Web

The PH-1 makes compromises like every other phone, and its default camera experience is confusingly poor. But its blend of premium hardware, great battery life, small bezels, powerful specs, and stock Android is hard to find elsewhere. That combination alone makes the PH-1 one of the best phones of the year for Android purists. If Essential can do something about its camera app, maybe it will be a great phone for everyone else too.

Read full review

The PH-1 makes compromises like every other phone, and its default camera experience is confusingly poor. But its blend of premium hardware, great battery life, small bezels, powerful specs, and stock Android is hard to find elsewhere. That combination alone makes the PH-1 one of the best phones of the year for Android purists. If Essential can do something about its camera app, maybe it will be a great phone for everyone else too.

Read full review

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Tom's Guide

Beautiful but not fully baked

from Tom's Guide

While the Essential Phone sports a jaw-dropping design and a smart system for adding on modules, its mediocre camera and below-average battery life hold it back.

Read full review

While the Essential Phone sports a jaw-dropping design and a smart system for adding on modules, its mediocre camera and below-average battery life hold it back.

Read full review

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Darn, there are no reviews yet for this phone.



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Full Specs

Overview
Release date August 31, 2017
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kindom
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA:
800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /800/850/900/1800/2600/2300/2500 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO Rev. A, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 Octa core 1.9 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 128 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included Data Cable, Manual, USB Power Adapter
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 3040 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Unknown
Wi-Fi Surfing Time Unknown
3G Surfing Time Unknown
4G Surfing Time Unknown
Talk Time Unknown
3G Talk Time Unknown
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Titanium
Colors Black Moon, Stellar Grey, Pure White, Ocean Depths
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 cm (5.6 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
Weight 185 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof No
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1312 x 2560 pixels
Pixel density 504 pixels
Size 5.71 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared No
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
Expansion Slot Info
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallett No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 1.85
Resolution
13+ megapixels
Dual lens
Yes
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Multi-shot, Panorama, Self-timer, Dual camera feature (13 MP 2nd camera), Phase detection
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels), 30 fps
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
f/2.20
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MIDI, MP3, MP4, eAAC+, AAC+, AAC, WMA, WAV, M4A, OGG
Radio Unknown
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack No
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Viewable document types No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Essential PH-1

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