After using the PH-1 for a week, I believe that hype is largely earned, despite some baffling flaws. The Essential Phone is so spartan it borders on feeling incomplete, but Iâm also convinced Essential will quickly become an important new pillar of the Android community.
The Essential Phone is defined by its minimalism, so much so that itâs baked into the name. What is essential to the modern smartphone, and what can be left out?
The obvious answer is âit depends.â Whatâs essential to one person may not be the same for everyone.
Maybe you really need an unbreakable screen, a la Moto Z. Perhaps youâre heavily invested in Appleâs ecosystem, so youâll need an iPhone. Some people canât live without waterproofing or wireless charging. And, the most egregious omission for many will be the lack of a headphone jack. That alone will turn off many potential buyers.
And yet, Essential COO Niccolo de Masi tells me that the companyâs name refers not only to what is important today, but what will be years down the road. The headphone jack is paramount to many usersÂ today, but with companies like Apple, HTC, Motorola and (probably) Google removing it, itâs not clear how long that will be the case.
But to putting aside the philosophizing for a bit, the PH-1 offer a particular combination of qualities Android users have been dreaming of for years:
- Premium build quality
- Minimal bezels
- Stock Android
- Flagship specs
You can find competitors that tick a few of those boxes, but not all. Samsung has a heavy skin, Motorola is bezel-tastic, and Google doesnât have the modularity. And none of those phones feel quite as premium.
Those specs by the way, include:
- 5.7-inch LCD display
- 2560 x 1312 resolution
- Snapdragon 835
- 4 GB RAM
- 128 GB storage
- Dual 13-MP cameras, RGB + monochrome
- F1.85 aperture
- 8MP Front facing camera
- 3,040 mAh…