The Essential Phone: Huh?!


If you read a lot of tech news, and maybe even if you don’t, you might have heard of the all new Essential Phone. And if you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about, then we’re hear to tell you all you need to know. We’ve got the low down on why it’s important, and what you have to look forward to, so read on!

Why the Essential Phone is So Exciting

Specs, hardware, and looks aside, there are a couple of big reasons why the Essential phone is going to be an exciting release. The first is that the phone itself has been designed by Andy Rubin, who is one half of the partnership that designed Android. His aim was to make the epitome of an Android phone, the very best device to show off his operating system, which means this should be a very awesome mobile indeed.

The second exciting thing about the Essential is that this is the first really, completely new top competitor phone that we’ve seen for a very long time. Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxys have dominated the mobile market for years now. Sure, there have been a few random surprise entrants in the phone of the year competition, but nothing major, and iPhones and Galaxys have ruled the roost. The Essential Phone has been deliberately designed to take on these behemoths and win.

What’s New?

Though the Essential hasn’t been released yet, we do have specs and rendering, and there are four real stand out things that make this phone something pretty special. The first is a full front panel screen. No bezelling. Well, okay, there’s a couple of millimetres right at the top, but this is as close as we’ve ever seen to a bezel-less phone, that screen just fills the whole front of the device.

Second, there are modular accessories. The Essential has two magnetic connectors at the back to allow the addition of extra accessories, like a charging dock, a full 360 degree camera, and whatever else creative manufacturers can come up with. And that last part is important, since Essential WILL be allowing other companies to design official modular accessories if they wish to, meaning more choices for us.

Third, there’s the build. Titanium and ceramic, certainly innovative, and solidly robust. Essential claim that these build materials will mean that the phone should be able to withstand a lot more wear and tear (and drops and scratches) than traditional glass and aluminium phones. And last, but not least, there’s the minimalism. The Essential features no logo at all, the back plate is bare, there’s no branding. And we’re hoping this minimalist ethos stretches to software too, and that the Essential will ship without the bloatware and useless manufacturer apps that we’ve grown so used to seeing on other phones.

What Are the Specs Like?

The specs on the Essential are pretty mind blowing. You’re getting octo core processing (a quad core 2.45 GHz and a quad core 1.9 GHz processor) along with 4 GB of RAM, so this is one of the fastest phones out there. There’s the new Snapdragon 835 chipset too.

The screen is a huge 5.71 inches (but no bezel, remember, so the Essential isn’t as huge as you might think). It’s an LTPS LCD display, getting 1312 x 2560 pixels, so around 504 PPI. In basic terms, it’s bright, sharp, and absolutely brilliant.

At the front you’re seeing an 8 MP camera for selfies. And at the rear there are dual 13 MP cams, with all the usual bells and whistles that you’re used to seeing. And there’s a massive 128 GB of internal storage as standard, so no small storage models here.

Any Bad Stuff?

Eh, there are always flaws, though whether or not the following count as deal breakers will depend on your taste. The Essential does NOT have a headphone jack, following Apple’s lead with the iPhone. It’s also not waterproof, something we’ve kind of come to expect on top end phones these days. Last, and we’re not completely sure about this one, but it seems like the Essential isn’t going to support wireless charging out of the box, though we could be wrong.

When Can I Get One, and For How Much?

There’s been no official release date set for the Essential yet, though it’s likely to be pretty soon, since pre-orders are already being accepted from US customers. As far as price goes, the list price right now is $699 for the States, but no word on what that will translate to in pounds.

So, Is It Really Essential?

Okay, we have to be honest: no, the Essential isn’t exactly essential. It’s a fantastic phone with fantastic specs and has some fantastic new features. But it’s not exactly a must have. We do have two qualifications here though.

Firstly, we do think that there is a growing market for a great phone that isn’t an iPhone or Galaxy. Apple’s devices are becoming ever more expensive, and are rapidly outgrowing our wallets. Samsung’s Galaxys aren’t priced much better, and are loaded down with Samsung Bloatware. An unbranded (at least from its looks), top end phone with a decent price and huge specs sounds like it could be a very worthy competitor indeed.

Our second qualification is that since the Essential hasn’t actually been released, we’re not precisely sure of how it will handle. Sure, performance specs look good, but that’s not everything. And maybe more importantly, those modular accessories, depending on what they are or become and how they innovate how we use our phones, could really make or break the Essential.

What we are pretty sure about though is that this isn’t just another top end phone. The Essential has the potential to become something very cool indeed. It’s certainly appealing to tech geeks, but does it have the panache to appeal to the everyday customer too? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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