Phones

Day Review: Essential Phone. Conceptual Smartphone

Written by Tyler Rondman

Day Review: Essential Phone. Conceptual Smartphone

Today’s review of Essential Phone will be purely conceptual and a bit spy, as the release of this futuristic smartphone with a large screen is delayed for the first time. And some have already doubted that he will never ever be born.

The creation of Essential Phone (model number Essential PH-1) is handled by a team compiled by Andy Rubin – one of the creators of the Android operating system. Initially, it gathered a lot of “stars”, who worked early in Apple, Google, Samsung and other well-known companies.

Long ago in the network media, there were reports that Essential was abandoned by key specialists, who caused many experts to doubt Andy’s ability to release the announced smartphone at all, but the management says that by the end of the year it will begin to sell at least in the US.

Where and how to buy Essential Phone

To begin with, while the novelty did not enter the market at all, although the company’s representatives promised to launch sales in the second half of July. At the moment, the company’s website sells a smartphone for $ 699.00. You can also order a kit with a panoramic camera – for only $ 749.00.

In addition to the site of Essential, this device can now be ordered from the US mobile operator Sprint. In future, the manufacturer plans to enter the markets of some European countries (primarily Germany and France) and Asia (China and Japan). Will there ever be an Essential Phone in Moscow and Russia in general – no one knows.

Modular construction

Andy Rubin decided, in our opinion, to do something that so far no one really could: release a modular smartphone. Of course, here you can recall last year’s LG G5, but its modularity in that remained unclaimed.

As a result, the Essential team decided to go to their own way and instead of a contact wire interface to develop their own original wireless. Why, it turns out, was there not enough standard Bluetooth and Wifi? And because the first one is slow, the second one can simultaneously connect to only one device.

At the moment, only one similar accessory for Essential Phone is presented – a panoramic camera with a 360-degree view. It is important to note that the camera still has a wired connection to the smartphone for power, which looks a bit weird.

Large screenless screen

In the face of Essential Phone, Andy Rubin decided to present his vision of a smartphone in the future. The screen of this device is almost devoid of frames on three sides, but unlike the Xiaomi Mi Mix, the front camera is located at the top and a special slot is made underneath.

As a result, the screen area available to the user is relatively smaller than it could be, especially since on the lower part of the display there are on-screen control buttons. Also, such a non-standard screen configuration requires the use of a special add-on for Android.

Another important difference between the large screenless Essential Phone screen is it has non-standard resolution QHD + 2560 × 1312, which received the brand name Full Display. Unlike Samsung, which made the Galaxy S8 screen more elongated (Infinity Display), where the bet is made, on the contrary, on a wider display.

You cannot also ignore the support of 10 simultaneous touches and the recognition of the force of pressing the screen. Outside, the Essential Phone display is protected by the modern high-impact glass which is Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

Dual main camera

In principle, she cannot boast anything particularly new. The configuration of two 12-megapixel sensors, one of which is color and the other black and white, was introduced by Huawei last year on the example of P9 and Honor 8. The main advantage of this solution is a wider dynamic range compared to a single camera.

However, in general, the parameter of the Essential Phone’s main camera is very good. First, aperture optics with aperture f / 1.85. Secondly, hybrid autofocus (contrast + phase + laser). Yes and frontal camera also “nothing”: 8 Mp, aperture f / 2.20 and video recording 4K.

Design

Essential Phone looks very stylish, fashionable and even futuristic. It is important to note that the design of the smartphone was developed independently, in contrast to the same Chinese manufacturers who usually without a twinge of conscience copy the finds of Apple and Samsung.

The case of the device has a metal frame made of a strong titanium alloy; the back cover is made of a pleasant touch ceramic. The thickness is only 7.8 mm. The main camera module does not protrude above the back cover, which can be noted as an additional plus.

All the mechanical controls (the “Power” button and the volume control keys) on the Essential Phone are at the right side edge, the SIM card insertion tray is in the bottom, to the right is the USB Type-C port, and the round fingerprint scanner is in the rear.

It is interesting to note two contacts for the supply of modular accessories, which is located at the back of the smartphone to the right of the main camera.

At present, Essential Phone is available for order in the following colors: Black Moon (black) and Pure White (white). Later, Stellar Gray (gray) and Ocean Depths (dark blue) should also appear.

About iron

Essential Phone was originally conceived as a flagship smartphone, so it’s easy to guess the most powerful mobile processor from the available ones was chosen on the basis of- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835

But the RAM in the novelty is somehow not enough in today’s standards – only 4 GB. In this case, the amount of built-in flash drive is quite impressive – 128 GB in the base version. The possibility of installing a microSD memory card is missing.

But there is support for two SIM-cards of nano-SIM format (not for all modifications) and various standards and frequencies, which includes even the CDMA 2000 and TD-SCDMA. Thus, Essential Phone can be called without exaggeration as an all-wave smartphone.

The battery of the novelty is relatively modest; its capacity is 3040 mAh. There is a quick charge (presumably, Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 or even 4.0). For connection to a PC, charging and OTG, a modern USB Type-C port is used; the data transfer rate corresponds to the USB 3.1 specification.

Also, Essential Phone has a support for NFC, the latest version of Bluetooth v5.0 LE, dual-band Wifi and navigation with GPS and GLONASS. Alas, but there is no wireless charging. Although the ceramic body quite allows it to be organized in contrast to the metal one.

Disadvantages of Essential Phone

  • There is no 3.5 mm headphone jack and headset.
  • There is no microSD slot.
  • Need to complement the wireless interface for accessories by connecting the power “by wire”.
  • Weak battery – only 3040 mAh.
  • A non-standard solution for the front camera.

Equipment

  • Smartphone
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • USB Type-C Adapter -> 3.5 mm audio
  • Charger which supports for fast charging 27W, USB-C

About the author

Tyler Rondman

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.