Three months after it was unveiled, the Essential Phone is now available and ready for public scrutiny!
Before discussing specifications and reasons why you should get yourself the new Essential Phone, let’s take a short look at the history of this latest mobile gadget.
As you all know, Essential was the brainchild of Andy Rubin, the co-creator of Android that was later on acquired by Google. Rubin oversaw the development of the Android OS at Google before being moved to other projects within the company.
After nine years, he left Google to start his own incubator company, Playground Global. Now Rubin heads the tech company Essential Products that manufactures the Essential Phone line.
According to Rubin, on one of his night outs with a friend, he realized that he needed to start a company that would use “21st century methods to build products for the way people want to live in the 21st century.” Thus resulting in the creation of Essential.
“So why did I create Essential? Well, my hardware engineers wanted me to talk about how we are bringing real passion and craftsmanship back into this category. My software engineers wanted me to talk about our vision for making all devices, even those we don’t make ourselves, play well together. My partners wanted me to talk about how we are using methods that could change how successful technology companies are built forever,” Rubin cited in one of his blog posts published on Essential’s blog site. He went on to say:
“For all the good Android has done to help bring technology to nearly everyone it has also helped create this weird new world where people are forced to fight with the very technology that was supposed to simplify their lives. Was this what we had intended? Was this the best we could do?”
On May 30th, the Essential Phone was officially launched live at the Code Conference by Rubin.
The New Essential Phone: Everything you Need to Know
One of the first things that you’ll notice when you get a hold of an Essential Phone is that it doesn’t have any branding. Yes, folks. A phone could be ‘essential’ by just being plain and straightforward.
Not like the usual smartphones emblazoned with brand logos, Rubin said that they didn’t put any branding in the Essential because they wanted the phone “to be yours, not theirs.”
Wireless Modular System
If you look closely at the back of the phone, you’ll see two vampire bite-like holes near the camera. Apparently, these holes are magnetic connectors used to power Essential’s new system of wireless module accessories.
Right now, the 360 camera module is the only available module accessory for the Essential. This accessory is being powered by the phone itself when in use, which means it’s one more accessory off your charging list.
The 360 camera can be easily attached or detached at the back of the phone and with the popularity of 360-degree videos, this is seriously a big deal for a tiny accessory. Using the wireless module, you can snap 360 still images or record videos in 4k!
Rubin and his team are in the process of creating an ecosystem that would include a number of modular accessories and powerful software to enhance the new Essential Phone wireless modular system.
So, if you are a bit disappointed that there is only one available accessory today, just expect that there are more to be released in the coming months.
New Essential Phone Design and Hardware
The new Essential Phone is made from ceramic and titanium which means that this is a gadget to beat when it comes to toughness and durability. Its front is covered in Gorilla Glass 5. In a statement to Know Your Mobile, one of the phone designer’s said:
“The thing about titanium (used in our phone) is that it’s stiff. Really — it won’t bend. Often found in aerospace designs for similar reasons, it allows us to use thinner walls and have more room for bigger batteries inside. We can also shrink the borders of the product without having to worry that the display will get damaged if the phone is dropped.
But it wasn’t easy to get. I literally went around the world three times before I found a partner that shared our vision. But I’m glad we did, because the finished product is beautiful.”
While the new Essential Phone is considered a no-bezel phone, you could still see a small bezel at the bottom. The phone screen is LCD and to support the backlight under the screen, there has to be at least a thin bezel.
The phone has a 5.7-inch screen which makes it bigger than the iPhone 7 Plus or Pixel XL while its size is closer to those of the iPhone 7 or Pixel. It’s like owning a small phone without really feeling it because of the large display.
The new Essential Phone has a 19:10 aspect ratio, making it a bit taller than the Samsung Galaxy S8. Display wise, it’s just awesome! It has a wide viewing angle, the screen is viewable under direct sunlight, and comes packed with two kajillion pixels like the rest of the modern smartphones we have today.
At the bottom of the phone lies a speaker which produces a pretty decent, loud sound. You’ll find a fingerprint sensor in the middle, at the back of the phone. The location makes it easier for the sensor to be reached.
Following the latest trend, the new Essential Phone has no standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone is also equipped with one of the world’s thinnest dual camera system-a 13-megapixel primary camera and an 8-megapixel front facing camera. It uses both color and monochrome sensors that can capture up to 200% more light than traditional phone cameras.
Even in low light, you’ll get stunning pictures that are vibrant and rich in colors!
Phone Performance and Software
The new Essential Phone comes equipped with a 1.9GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB RAM, making it one powerful Android phone. It has a 128GB of non-expandable internal storage. It runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat and is powered by a 3040mAh non-removable battery.
The new Essential Phone is single SIM and only accepts Nano-SIM. Its connectivity options include GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, and USB OTG. It has a built in Compass Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Gyroscope, and Barometer.
The new Essential Phone can be yours for $699 USD. You can buy the 360-degree camera modular accessory separately for $199 USD. A phone and camera accessory bundle can be purchased for $749 USD. Currently, the Essential Phone is available only in the United States but will be hitting the international market soon.