Essential Phone Specs & Features: Is It Worth Buying In 2018?

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Essential Phone (PH-1) WITH Alexa In Halo Grey Launches

Essential has released a new version of its PH1 smartphone. The new phone is exactly the same as the original specs-wise, but features a new, very attractive halo grey color scheme. On top of this, it also ships with Amazon’s Alexa AI for all your digital assistant needs.

The handset is priced at $449 – A LOT less than the PH-1 retailed for when it first landed – and is therefore quite a bargain. The Essential Phone has had many detractors, but it is still one of the best looking phones on the planet right now – especially in halo grey.

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Essential is offering a package which includes the Halo Gray PH-1, the Essential 360 Camera, and a “Pill Case” for the camera for just $499. FYI – the 360 Camera normally costs $99, so this is quite a good deal!

The Essential Phone in Halo Grey gets a release on February 21. You can pick one up via Amazon right now though on pre-order.

Essential Phone PH-1 Latest News

The Essential Phone is now receiving the February Android Patch, the one that was only just pushed by Google to Nexus and Pixel phones. Listed as version NMK24B, the patch is a 65MB download and seems to be purely security fixes, with no other tweaks included. However, Sprint network users in the US are also being updated to the new version, which is good news as they’d been stuck on the November patch for a while now.

Essential  teased a new colour edition for the Essential PH-1, following on from the release of the white colour variant. Taking to Twitter, Essential posted a teaser image and the tagline “a new wave is coming”. Given the aqua coloured background of that teaser image, and the fact that during the Essential Phone’s launch announcement one forthcoming colour option was tipped as “Ocean Depths”, we can deduce that we’re looking at a bluish-green hue for the new edition. 

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As per the teased February 15 arrival date, Essential has now outed the new colour option and, as predicted, it is indeed “Ocean Depths”, which sees a green/blue/aqua shade on the rear panel, as well as something we missed on the teaser; the gold trim which extends to both the metal edging of the phone and around certain features like the rear fingerprint scanner.

However, the tip of a new “wave” seems to have had other connotations, namely we’re not just looking at one new colour option here, but several. Essential has also released another previously revealed colour option – Stellar Gray – and an entirely new colour that was never previewed at launch, dubbed Copper Black.

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All three are  limited edition colour options which will only be produced in a “small batch of each”, according to the firm; it says this is due to the difficulties in manufacturing new colour options for its ceramic-back design. As such, you will be paying a bit extra for the new colour options. The regular editions in Black Moon and Pure White carry a $499 RRP, while the new Stellar Gray, Ocean Depths, and Copper Black limited edtions will cost $100 more at $599.

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Ocean Depths goes on sale from February 15. Stellar Gray will go on sale from February 20. Copper Black will land from February 22. With all three you can only buy them direct from Essential’s webstore.

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Essential Phone PH-1 Updates!

Essential has updated its PH-1 flagship smartphone, aka the Essential Phone, with a software patch to the camera app. When updated, said camera app will now feature a Portrait Mode, similar to what we’ve seen on the iPhone X and a few other high profile flagships recently.

The one issue everybody had with the Essential Phone was that its camera kind of sucked. Since the first batch of initial reviews, however, Essential has been beavering away on the phone’s camera tech.

The update adds in Portrait Mode, so you can take epic looking portrait-style pictures, just like you can on the Pixel 2 and iPhone X. Is it better than the Pixel 2’s camera? Not by a long shot – but give the price of the Essential Phone ($699), it certainly offers up much more value for money.

As well as this new capture mode, the update also adds reduced .JPEG compression which will improve image quality for your captured photos. Exposure compensation has also been added to improve things as well and will apply to all camera capture modes old and new.

Finally, the patch also adds some stability tweaks and fixes to make everything run a little better.

Essential Phone PH-1 Price & Deals!

Essential has slashed the Essential PH-1’s price in the US by a whopping $200 – the discount is from the firm’s own webstore and brings the cost down to $499 for both black and white colour variants currently available.

The price cut comes following mutliple reports of the Essential Phone not selling well, however, Essential itself claims this is not the cause of the price drop, instead, the firm says this is a move to make the handset easier to obtain for more people – it’s about market penetration when competing with big hitters with tons of presence online and on TV.

“We could have created a massive TV campaign to capture your attention, but we think making it easier for people to get their hands on our first products is a better way to get to know us,” said Essential, in a blog post.

“At Essential, one of our driving principles is that premium craftsmanship and the latest technologies shouldn’t be for the few,” it added.

“We want to make it even easier for you to experience our products and our brand. So starting today we’re offering Essential Phone for $499 on Essential.com.”

Currently the promo is only in the US, but there are allegedly plans to expand it into Canada. It’s not clear if this is a permanent price reduction or not, although it does have the whiff of one.

For existing Essential Phone owners, Essential is offering a $200 “Friends & Family” code that can be gifted towards a new Essential Phone or Essential 360 Camera.

Essential Phone PH-1 White Edition

While we’re still waiting to hear when the Essential Phone will go on sale in the UK, consumers in the US can now get their hands on the Pure White colour variant of the handset. It’s subjective, of course, but in our view this is the best looking version.

Officially the Essential Phone has four colours which have been showcased in promotional material; Black Moon, Stellar Grey, Ocean Depths, and Pure White; but on launch only the black version was available and that is how things have remained until now with the release of the white model.

Essential took to Facebook to confirm the news of availability; for those in the US you can pick the new colour option up direct from Essential’s web store, or via Amazon, Best Buy, or Sprint.

Welcome the newest member of the Essential Phone family: Pure White. Order it on Essential.com or through our great partners Amazon.comBest Buy, and Sprint.

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Essential Phone PH-1 Specs, Design & Features

Sprint is now actively taking pre orders for Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone. Get in early and you could pick yourself up a hefty $260 discount on the phone.

However, not all is as it seems, as noted by The Verge:

“The catch is, at the end of that lease, you don’t actually own the phone. You’ll have only paid off $525 of the phone’s $700 price (though you’ll have paid half that, because of the discount).”

So what’s the deal with the Essential Phone? Quite a bit as it goes. The phone was developed by Andy Rubin and that, to those in the know, is rather special indeed. 

You might not know about Andy Rubin but the chap’s work has has an impact on billions of peoples’ lives; as one of the creators of Android, he is one of the most important figures in the history of technology.

Andy Rubin has also confirmed that the Essential Phone will two years of Android updates, as well as security patches as and when they become available.

“Technology moves so quickly that companies rush to release a new phone each year,” said Rubin, “but most times even that isn’t fast enough. This deluge of devices isn’t good for your wallet or for the planet. Essential Phone will get guaranteed Android OS updates for 2 years and will get monthly security updates for 3 years, so your phone will always be secure and have the latest features.”

Mr. Rubin is not involved with Android anymore nor does he work at Google. But he does have a new phone on the horizon, and it’s called The Essential Phone, which you can see below:

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As you can see, this phone is very good looking. It kind of looks like a mash-up of current iPhone 8 concepts and Samsung’s Galaxy S8. The handset is very handsome and it also has specs and hardware to match. Here’s a breakdown of the current specs:

  • 5.71in 2560×1312 Display (19:10 aspect ratio)
  • Snapdragon 835 CPU 
  • 4GB of RAM 
  • 128GB of UFS 2.1 Storage 
  • 13MP Dual Lens Camera 
  • 8MP Front-Facing
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB Type C
  • 3040mAh Battery

The Essential Phone is made from titanium and ceramic, a first for a smartphone, and the front is covered in Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 which will ensure it can survive any drops and scrapes.

“So why did I create Essential? Well, my hardware engineers wanted me to talk about how we are bringing real passion and craftsmanship back into this category,” said Rubin.

He added: “My software engineers wanted me to talk about our vision for making all devices, even those we don’t make ourselves, play well together. My partners wanted me to talk about how we are using methods that could change how successful technology companies are built forever.” 

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There’s a fingerprint scanner on the back as well as a clip-on point for a 360º camera attachment, which is bundled with the phone (by itself it costs $199). This 360º camera attachment is also the smallest of its kind.

The Essential Phone is also a modular phone. But unlike Google Ara or the LG G5, it goes about adding modules in a far simpler manner. At present, the only module available for the Essential Phone is a 360º video add-on, though we’d expect more to become available if the handset becomes popular.

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Like the upcoming iPhone 8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Essential Phone features an EDGE TO EDGE display, which features “radiused corners” – all in the handset looks very, very beautiful. Sort of like the Xiaomi Mi Mix and what I expect the iPhone 8 will look like.

Sadly there’s no 3.5mm microphone jack 🙁

The Essential Phone will cost $699, though nothing is yet known about when the handset will get a release date.

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