Hello, Friends! Today, I’m going to take a look at Essential PH-1 Review. Some phones demand your attention, this Essential Phone was made by the team, lead by the creator of Android itself, Andy Rubin. He has a brand new billion dollar company that’s trying to create a whole new operating system for the connected world and a smart home device that will run on it. But before all that happens this phone has to happen, it runs Android and it cost around $700. But it feels like a million bucks and it has an all new wireless module system. So, let’s get started-
So, as you’d expect with a name like Essential Phone, this is all about giving you the essentials of the high-end device with no extra features, styling, or design cues that are just there to stand out, but not necessarily enhance your experience of the phone. And you can tell that right away when you pick it up because this is all about the ceramic back and a full titanium frame. This frame immediately differentiated itself from the aluminium frame and the glass back that you find on most other phones.
On the bottom, it does have a little bezel but it’s not much bigger than what you’d get on say a Samsung Galaxy S8. On the back, there are two contact points and there are where the wireless accessories can connect. These pins are just for power any kind of data transfer is done wirelessly. And there’s a 360’ camera module that looks pretty cool. There’s no headphone jack and even though they give you the USB-C adapter.
Now, if there’s a one thing I would knock about the design, it would be the back panel. It looks almost too simple to me. There’s no branding or design lines but you can always put skins on the back to give it some texture and some grip.
All that really breaks the immersion is an 8-megapixels front-facing camera which has been given its own space at the top that peeks out from the top of the screen. But even that little bit of interruption just adds to even more uniqueness and the design of the phone.
The titanium and ceramic combination seemed to be holding up quite well. I did go through a couple of accidental spills very small drops though with this phone especially since the ceramic material tends to slip about a little bit too easily. But as Essential has touted the titanium body holds up pretty well and definitely is not dented or scratched in any way.
Essential Phone says that all these materials will keep this thing from shattering if drop it or scratching in your pocket but we didn’t actually test those things.
The fingerprint sensor is on the back in the middle where you can actually reach it, where it belongs Samsung.
In terms of the speaker at the bottom, it sounds pretty good and it gets loud but it is a Mono speaker and I really wish the gun for a stereo setup. It’s just something, I really like when it comes to smartphone speakers.
This phone is incredibly different a 5.7-inch Quad HD display that absolutely goes from edge to edge. As it can be making for a 19 by 10 aspect ratio and some of the most minimal bezels we’ve ever seen. The display has been performing quite well and even in broad daylight, I’ve been able to see everything with the brightness cranked all the way up to maximum. The colours are on point but it’s not super bright there with a 500-nits screen excellent for indoor use. But the screen gets hard to see on really bright days. It has very thin bezels, it has rounded corners but the camera is still positioned at the top and you have a gap or cut out on the screen where the camera is.
What might be a little bit surprising is that this 5.7-inch display is actually pretty easy to handle in one hand and I think that’s due to the body more than anything. The flat sides make for a phone that is easy to grip and the phone manages to not that need to be too narrow or too tall and you still get quite a bit Real Estates.
The camera has two lenses, one is an RGB sensor and the other is a Monochrome sensor. The idea here is that they’re taking two photos and then combining the data to produce something that’s as clean as possible.
The front-facing camera is an 8-megapixel shooter that actually records 4K video which is pretty cool. And all of this is supported by a camera app that is decidedly bare-bones and has actually been updated three times. Those updates add in an HDR mode which was kind of weird and a bit more speed when taking pictures shooting what the Essential has gotten better in terms of the shutter to file speed but it does still have some glaring holes, for example, it’s still a little bit at changing from the regular lens to the mono lens. And furthermore, the updates still don’t address the issue that the camera is still just a little bit too basic.
Now, users will be able to fire up the camera and start taking pictures pretty easily but aside from a slow-motion, there’s very little else by way of extra shooting modes or even a manual mode. Now, this is not a bad thing when the phone is a good automatic shooter but unfortunately it kind of falls short.
Photos from the Essentials seem to like a lot of proper processing as pictures are rather flat and pale in comparison to other phones like the Google Pixel. Dynamic range is lacking even when HDR’s turned on and it’s not even HDR auto, pressing HDR for some reason turns the flash back onto auto which is again kind of weird.
And while pictures can certainly be decent in really bright situations it tapers off pretty quickly as a light dims. Colours don’t really get a big punch in or out of HDR which is evident in the pictures compared to the Google Pixel. The Essentials simply doesn’t have an answer when HDR’s turned on while the Pixel manages to make the best of the poor scene.
Holding all the RGB photos aside and just using the monochromatic sensor leads to very detailed and dramatic Black & White photos but that really wasn’t the point here. We are certainly going to get more updates from Essential. After all it was a promise of theirs but if history is any indication updates don’t actually really make the camera quality that much better. Nonetheless we will be there to report any major changes should they come for this decidedly average camera.
360′ Personal Camera: –
There’s one more interesting thing to talk about to Essential Phone and it’s related to these two little metal pins on the back just like Motorola, Essential is trying to get you to buy a bunch of modules but the centrioles approach is potentially more exciting what Motorola is doing. These two little metal contacts here are just for providing power. The data is transmitted over wireless USB and the modules attach by magnets.
The first module that Essential shipping is a 360-degree camera which costs $1.99 but you can get it bundled with a phone for 50 bucks for a limited time. It’s an intriguing little widget. It doesn’t need its own battery, display or Bluetooth radio so it’s super small. It attaches via those magnets with a really pleasing firm snap and when you do it automatically fires-up the phone’s camera. When you attach the 360-degree camera to the back of the Essential Phone a tiny little fan spins up in the camera to keep the electronics cool. Now, it doesn’t actually do it you’re actually recording.
Once the camera app is open, you can shoot 360-degree stills or videos in 4K and even stream live. It works but sometimes it is a little bit buggy.
The Essential is running Android 7.1.1 and it feels very stock to me which I love. The two apps that they’ve included that aren’t very stock, are their profile migration app it’s called switch back I never used it and their camera app, it’s called click. I don’t love the icon and like I mentioned before it’s not a full featured camera app but everything else feels like stock Android.
There’s a little bit of trickery going on when it comes to the UI and that notification bar at the top. Of course, it’s trying to bleed all the way to the top of the device and a number of applications actually try to take advantage of it for example- Gmail will actually change the notification bar to a red colour and that shows in the Essential’s Phone UI.
However, there are other applications that don’t take advantage of that API just yet they have to get updated in order to do so and Facebook is our main example right now. And when notifications come down they tend to have a little bit more white space above the actual text then you might be used to with your more conventional device.
Performance & Memory: –
The Essential Phone is the Snapdragon 835 with four gigabytes of RAM and one interesting development was the move to 128 gigabytes of internal storage throughout which is good. It has fast UFS 2.1 storage all the technical components in here were obviously picked to give this thing some really good speed. The performance feels like a 2017 flagship phone. One thing I noticed, this phone doesn’t get that hot so even after running a bunch of loops and stuff for benchmarks. It felt cool to the touch not like cold but lukewarm at most.
The speaker for those who care is, it’s actually really very loud but it’s not like the best quality loud. So, there’s no big dynamic range, no bass or anything like that it’s just really loud. It’s also the small pretty blockable grill at the bottom of the phone. And there’s also no 3.5mm headphone jack, only USB-C port and the USB-C audio experience is actually above average. This phone can drive headphones pretty well leading to some of the fuller and louder experiences.
As far as the battery goes you get a capacity of 3040 milliamp-hours. I have been getting better battery life than usual for big Android phones. This battery is easily lasting through a whole day for me with up to 7 hours of screen on time. It does support the quick charge and it takes about an hour and a half for a full charge.
The awesome accessories included in the box which is also first of all totally non-branded no logo anywhere. But also really high quality and really cool to see a smartphone bundled braided high-quality cables in the box. And a super high-powered 27-watt charger that goes extremely fast.
Overall, with the Essential Phone, you’re getting excellent ergonomics and build quality. The titanium and ceramic materials are really nice. Up front, the Ultra-thin bezels look really cool. It’s not highly functional but it adds to the super clean aesthetic of the phone. The fingerprint scanner is reasonably quick and the ceramic material in the back gives the phone a unique feel but it adds a little bit of weight.
Under the hood, the Snapdragon 835 delivers awesome performance as expected. The storage is also really fast but the phone only comes in a massive 128 gigabytes variant. So, you’re forced to go pretty big and the battery life will last about a day of heavy use.
But the real negatives are the lack of some of the major features like wireless charging, it doesn’t have official waterproofing and no 3.5mm headphone jack., the price and the mediocre camera experience.
Here’s the final thing I want to say if you don’t mind any of those issues or problems and you don’t mind that the high price tag. You’re still gonna enjoy this phone. It’s really great overall Android device.
|Indian Buyers||Buy Now||Price|
|Essential PH-1||Rs 45,090|
|Essential PH-1||$ 699.00|
|BODY||Dimensions||141.5 x 71.1 x 7.8mm|
|DISPLAY||Type||LTPS IPS LCD, 1312 x 2560p (504 PPI)|
|Corning Gorilla Glass 5|
|CAMERA||Rear||Dual 13-MP RGB + Monochrome, Image Fusion Technology f/1.85, Hybrid Autofocus, LED Flash|
|Front||8-MP, f/2.2 fixed Hyperfocal lens|
|Video||2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps|
|Features||Geo-tagging, touch-focus, face detection, Panorama, HDR|
|PROCESSOR||OS||Android 7.1 Nougat|
|Chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|MEMORY||Internal||4GB RAM, 128GB|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint, Gyro, Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Proximity, Compass, Barometer|
|CONNECTIVITY||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO, Dual-band, WiFi Direct, Hotspot|
|USB||Type-C 1.0 Reversible Connector|
|Others||Bluetooth v5.0, NFC & GPS|
|SOUND||Speaker||Loudspeaker with Stereo Speakers|
|Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|BATTERY||Li-Ion 3040 mAh|
- Essential PH-13.9