Essential Phone Review – Sweet Pixel 2 Alternative at $499

Lisa Gade reviews the Essential Phone PH-1, an unlocked Android smartphone with a stunning bezel-free display and titanium and ceramic construction. Essential is a new company started by Andy Rubin, the father of Android, and while it got off to a rocky start last month, several software updates and a price drop to $499 have greatly improved the phone. The phone supports both GSM and CDMA so it will work on most carriers. Sprint also sells it. The Essential supports modular accessories like a 360 degree camera via 2 pogo pins on the back.

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The Essential Phone runs Android 7.1.1 (8.0 Oreo coming later this year) on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage. it has a 5.7” QHD 2560 x 1312 display that’s striking, with a widescreen aspect ratio of 19 : 10 and a front camera that floats at the top of the display. The mobile phone has dual 13MP f/1.85 cameras (one color, one monochrome) and a front 8MP f/2.2 camera, both of which can shoot 4K video.

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  1. Allan Dawes

    Ceramic back – damages easy when dropped, and is extra slippy in the hand. Seems to be a bit basic for a flagship phone

  2. TakingShapeCreations

    I'd pick this phone only if a Dev would make the exact Pixel XL 2 ROM for this phone and use machine learning to have that protriat mode. Its basically the same specs as the Pixel 2 XL. I'm on Oreo on Nexus 6 and it's great but I'd pick this phone. Pixel is too expensive.

  3. Jason

    Awesome review , I been using my Nexus 5x for the past two years and the pixel xl 2 just doesn't seem worth 900$ , now that the essential is 499$ plus this review , I'm sold

  4. gloriousholy

    Developers developers developers developers DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELPRS DEVEPRS WOOoOOoOoOoOo WOOOOOOOOOOOOO yeah! Give it up for me! Come on! WOOOOOOOOOO!!!

  5. Digital Creation

    This phone is fantastic!! I can't recommend it enough. It looks beautiful, solidly built and the UI is fast and fluid. The best phone I've bought to date. People are sleeping on this phone. If you're on the fence about getting one, do it! You'll be pleasantly surprised. Trust me!

  6. hovaa jayy

    I'll wait till it's 300 lol I got a Moto z 2 play that doesn't lag and has all day battery, and I I still have my old iPhone 6s and note 5 lol

  7. 789jdubb

    Currently have this phone and I want to love it so much. Incredible feel in hand, heft that makes it feel expensive, beautiful display, great battery life. But there are to many negatives. I hate both cameras even with the updates,no headphone jack bothers me, the ceramic back scratches to easily (I question how ceramic it is). I will return it. (it'll be hard to find a phone that felt so good in hand)

  8. Tory Allen

    Just picked up a Essential Phone in Canada.
    $650. + Taxes = $728 all in.

    Pixel 2 XL 128gb (Cant fucking get one):
    $1289 = ~1444 all in.

    Yeah, easy fucking choice. almost $700 difference!

  9. Quantum Radiation

    I like your reviews. All the other reviewers are nit picky and drop the rating to a mediocre score just because of the camera or tiny things. Like phone arena gave this phone a 4 out of 10. And other say save your money and get something else.

  10. Electro

    I hear that they released a software update that fixed most of the issues. Is that correct? Did it improve the camera and other performance?

  11. Aalok Trivedi

    interesting. Lowering the price pint is usually a worrisome sign. To me, it's saying "uh we bit off more than we can chew and we're not confident we can execute, so lets lower the price to lower expectations." Still think that was the best decision for them, though

  12. Joe Dirt

    You can get it for $150 on Sprint's flex lease right now after lease payoff and $30 payoff to keep the phone. $150 for this phone is an absolutely STEAL.

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