Essential Phone: Pre-release Review

The much anticipated Essential Phone, baby of Andy Rubin, creator of Android, is soon to arrive. Can this phone live up to the hype that has been surrounding it? The phone is not yet released but a few people have been lucky enough to get their hands on one to review. I was not one of those people. However, I have seen many of these reviews over the past few days and been able to come up with an opinion. So here it is.

First the most striking part of the phone: the screen. The phone has an almost bezel-less design. The Essential Phone is not the first smartphone to do this in 2017 however, the way which it has approached the biggest smartphone trend of 2017 is more interesting than other companies. The screen goes all the way to the top of the phone with just a tiny cut out for the 8MP front facing camera. Some may worry that this would get in the way of the notifications they receive, however they just seem to drop slightly lower on the screen. So no problem there.

The rear of the phone is very simplistic with no logo or any text at all. There is a finger print scanner, the dual sensor camera, the flash and two connector pins. I’ll go into all these points later, however before that I want to quickly mention what the phone is made of. The Essential Phone is made from titanium and ceramic (the ceramic is on the back of the phone and could easily be confused for glass however it is much more scratch resistant). The use of these materials supposedly makes the Essential phone much more resistant to damage if the phone is dropped or scratched. However, the phone is not waterproof, which makes little sense to me in a 2017 flagship phone, especially when Essential have made such a big deal out of how resistant this phone is to damage. Why not go all out on making this phone tougher than the competition?

As previously mentioned this phone was made by the father of Android, Andy Rubin, so a great software experience was to be expected and the Essential Phone seems to have delivered with basically stock android. Some people have complained that the camera app is too simple and does not offer the user much to play around with. Personally, I am no photography expert, so this is not a problem for me. However if you are then this may not be the phone for you.

On the topic of photography, from what I have seen the Essential Phone takes good pictures in good lighting and thanks to the second camera sensor being a monochrome sensor, this allows for greater detail in pictures. This therefore allows for good low light photography. This photography is not supposed to be the same standard as the Google Pixel, but the pictures are still good.

Essential seem to be another company that believe modularity is the future of smartphones. This is what the two connector pins on the back of the phone are for. To push this, Essential are also going to be launching the worlds smallest 4K 360 degrees camera as a module that can be attached to the phone.

One final point to quickly mention is that the Essential Phone is another smartphone to join the growing list that has ditched the headphone jack (don’t worry, a dongle is included). This doesn’t really bother me personally, however this is something that a lot of people do not like and seems to be a trend that people want to go away.

Personally I think that the Essential Phone looks good. However there is nothing about it that makes me want to buy it. I have a Google Pixel so I already get a great stock Android experience and the unique features of the Essential Phone such as modularity and the cool screen just aren’t something that really excites me personally.

Overall, this looks like a great first attempt from Essential and it is a phone that I really wanted to be excited about and wanted to love, but so far nothing has made that happen. This may change when I get to play with the phone myself but from what I have seen so far this is not a phone that I will be going out and buying.

What do you think of the Essential Phone? Will you be buying one? Let me know down in the comments.


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