Smartphone of the Month: Essential Phone

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Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, has been working on a new Smartphone for the passed couple of months. He then launched his site, Essential, to showcase his phone and its features. But this week has been the most important, as he announced that the phone would ship within a week.

Whether you’re an Android fan or not, the Essential Phone, or rather Essential itself, will be a company to look out for.

Enough rambling, let’s get into it:


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The phone is made up of Titanium and Ceramic, which Essential promised would make its phone more durable than the average Smartphone. It has a blocky, Sony-esque design that they perfected and is by no means another iPhone or Samsung wannabe.

The front camera is in the middle of the phone in-line with the screen. Wait, what? Yes, you heard right. Switch on the screen and you notice that it wraps around the sides of the camera. It is a unique design that I myself am intrigued by.

One thing that may not be as apparent is the branding, or lack thereof. Nowhere on the phone does it have the Essential branding or any marking whatsoever. I feel this makes the phone look more elegant and sleek.


The Screen is a 5.71″ LCD display with a resolution of 1312×2560. Being a ‘future-proof’ smartphone, I was surprised that it came with an LCD display, as it is not as good for VR compared to AMOLED.

The Aspect Ratio is 19:10, which means it’s taller than than the average phone, but it is following suite with the LG G6(18:9) and Samsung Galaxy S8 (18.5:9). What does this mean for you? According to LG and Samsung, having a taller, narrower screen makes it easier to hold and use the phone.


The phone is poised to ship with Android 7.1, which is not a surprise. I did not expect it to run Google’s new Android O (8.0) before their own Pixel phones.

Another plus is that the software is as close to stock as possible and the phone comes with no bloatware.


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The Essential phone features a Dual camera setup (13MP f/1.9). The first lens is normal, but the second one is a Monochrome lens that, when combined, refines photos. Also on board is a Laser Autofocus which allows images to be taken faster.

In the front, there is an 8MP sensor (f/2.2) that can record in 4K.

Overall, the Camera specs are good. It is something to expect from Flagship phones these days. However, photo tests still have to be done to determine the quality of these cameras.


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A Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB RAM. Not too shabby. The processor, as proved on other phones, is solid and gives a snappy performance. But maybe Essential could have boosted the RAM to make the phone truly ‘future-proof.’

Storage-wise, there is only a 128GB model, which is plenty of space. It has to be, because there is no SD card slot. Another ‘missing essential’ is the headphone, something I personally am not a fan of. A USB-C adaptor does ship with the phone, but lets be honest; who wants to walk around with something that can easily be lost?

Speaking of; the phone uses what is going to be an industry-standard USB-C cable with fast-charging capabilities. 3040mAh is the battery capacity, which seems small for a phone with that screen size. Again, a real-world test is needed to see just how good the battery life actually is. It is also non-removable, but there is no waterproofing, which is a sleight let-down.

At the back of the phone we have a ‘one-touch’ fingerprint sensor positioned perfectly to touch each time (take notes, Samsung). It is said to be very good, but the position alone sells me on it.

About those Modules

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Last year, the LG G5 tried implementing modules, which was a gigantic blunder. Motorolla tried and fared much better. How will the Essential phone stack up?
At the back, there are two small silver dots. They are used to pair up with the modules like a magnet and to power it up. At the moment, only a 360° camera is available, but they plan on releasing a charging dock soon.


Final Word

The Essential Phone ticks off the right boxes, but also leaves some unchecked. Can you live without a headphone jack? Or Waterproofing? Power users, what about that non-removable battery?

Personally, I feel that this is a great phone. The camera and battery are yet to be evaluated. That, coupled with whether it will receive timely software and security updates will be a deciding factor for me.

What do you think? Is the Essential Phone a Pixel Killer? Let us know down below.


Article Written by Uwais Khan (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn)