Andy Rubin’s startup, Essential has been covertly working on a high end phone for a few years now and finally the debut time has come. The device is called Essential Phone and it has high end specs, modularity and an edge to edge screen. Let’s see what this device has to offer, at $699.
Previously teased in discrete pics, the device is certainly a looker, all clad in metal and glass. Let’s see what it offers:
Interestingly this handset doesn’t sport any trace of logo on the case, since that’s what the public wanted, so Andy Rubin and co complied. The front screen panel takes up even more of the facade compared to the Galaxy S8 and LG G6. The selfie camera is right in the middle of the upper portion of the screen, so the screen surrounds it. That screen portion actually hides quite a few sensors, in ingenious fashion.
The handset’s case is made of ceramics and titanium, which means the device is able to survive a drop with ease. We’ve got a rectangular and angular design here, so curves aren’t the focus here. Essential Phone measures 7.8 mm in thickness and weighs 185 grams.
As far as hardware goes, we’re completely covered, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. At the back there are two metal pins that will be used to connect the device to a charging dock, plus an Essential camera module. That one films at 360 degrees and will be sold separately for $50. We find a fingerprint scanner at the back and there’s no audio jack here.
USB Type-C handles connectivity, with Fast Charge support. Upfront we find a LTPS LCD 5.71 inch screen, with 2560 x 1312 pixel resolution and 19:10 aspect ratio. The battery is a 3040 mAh unit and other specs include 4 microphones with noise cancelling and finally there’s Bluetooth 5.0 LE support. Essential Phone is a modular smartphone, so the magnetic pins at the back let you attach future modules.
Essential Phone packs a dual main camera with two 13 MP sensors with F/1.8 aperture. That setup includes a main color sensor and a monochrome sensor. The latter should be able to capture more light and in general this setup is prone for some quality low light capture. A hybrid focus system is included, in order to combine contrast focus, PDAF and laser focus.
Upfront there’s an 8 MP selfie camera with 4K video capture, which is something unusual, even nowadays. Vloggers will enjoy it.
Price and availability
Essential Phone is now up for order, priced at $699 in the US and it’s available in black or white. The $50 price for the camera module is a limited time offer, since the camera has a suggested retail priced of $199. It’s not very clear if this device will be available outside USA any time soon.