After what felt like an eternity of teases and speculation surrounding the Essential phone, Andy Rubin’s newest venture has now been officially unveiled, and it can only be described as disruptive. Samsung and iPhone have their work cut out for them.
Essential’s new phone is meant to be a no-compromise device that consists of flagship specifications. The company has also been working on a new build-quality that users may not have come across with other smartphones. Unlike others, Essential has created a device that is made of titanium and ceramic and the company is confident that it will be more durable than other manufacturers’ phones made of the general aluminium alloy chassis. The phone itself is completely sleek and is devoid of any branding whatsoever. The phone intends on being a completely different take on what smartphone users are used to seeing.
One of the phone’s many unique characteristics is the phone’s take on the screen, which seems to take up almost the entirety of the front of the device, much like the Xiaomi Mi Mix. It is an edge-to-edge display that comfortably wraps itself atop the phone. What is interesting is the placement, since the front-facing camera is located directly in the middle of the screen up top. The placement take time to get used to, but is being regarded as a smart work-around for an entire front display, since icons on the status bar do not take up the centre of the status bar, supposedly. However, the question of viewing videos across the screen, with the camera taking up a bit of the screen real-estate will be put to the test. Even there, Essential’s bottom bezel provides some symmetry for video viewing, even despite the appearance of the black bars. The phone will be able to fit a 5.7-inch screen with ease in the form-factor of a 5-inch phone.
The phone will feature the Snapdragon 835 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The company’s design language exudes practicality and simplicity, skimping out on vanity pledges like any sort of branding or even the standard phone information that is usually engraved or stickered on the bottom-back. In order to make the phone a more promising offering, Essential has also released an array of modular accessories, which are similar to the Moto Z’s modular offerings. The modules will be connected to the phone via magnetic connectors and wireless data transfer. When buyers receive their phone, the company will also ship a 360-degree camera that can shoot at UHD resolution of 3840×1920 at 30 fps and a charging dock for the phone, which is great value.
Essential is unfortunately too future-present, having removed the 3.5mm hack but the phone will come with a headphone dongle. There is a possible that there will be audio accessories made available for the phone that are connected to the magnetic connectors. In terms of optics, the rear of the phone will feature a 13MP dual-lens setup with one of the sensors being a monochrome sensor, similar to the Huawei P9 and P10. The camera up-front is an 8MP shooter that supports 4K video recording as well. Perhaps the only gripe that buyers will find is the lack of water resistance.
Tech Crunch’s report suggests that the phone will feature a pure vanilla Android experience, featuring Android Nougat 7.1.1 out of the box. The phone will also feature a 3,040mAh battery to power the device. The most minimal smartphone of the year, will also come with a $700 price tag which is just about competitive enough for flagship-grade specs. Coming from one of the makers of Android, it can be expected to receive prompt updates. Also, being the company’s first phone, Essential will want to make sure that longevity and durability factor-in with the cost.
The phone is indeed different from the usual lot that users are faced with, but the Essential wants to be a more extensive part of its users’ lives, establishing a clear necessity for modules through the magnetic connectors, and providing buyers with the most screen that anyone will probably get to see on a phone this year. The phone will be available in the US first, with support for all carriers. While Essential is also entering the smart home IoT market with its “Home” smart speaker, the combination of the two seems like a brand-new view into how Android can look and feel, and it is something that only be re-imagined by the creator of Android himself. Essential’s new phone is promising and offers a great deal, but will be met with some speculation as well as curiosity by buyers, for sure. When the phone will be available worldwide has not yet been revealed, but it is sure to be noticed.