The Essential Phone (styled PH-1) is a debut handset created by the godfather of Android, Andy Rubin, and his brand-new company. It’s entering a crowded field dominated by the same few phones: Samsung’s Galaxy Note. The latest LG V phone. Google’s Pixel (previously Nexus) phones. And of course, the iPhone.

Nevertheless, the new kid in town is getting a lot of attention. But will it succeed? Here’s everything you need to know about the Essential Phone and how it stacks up against the heavy-hitters.

Essential Phone specs

Display: 5.7-inch Full Display LCD, 2560×1312 QHD, 504pp1
Dimensions: 141.5 x 71.1 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 185g
Colors: Black Moon, Pure White, Stellar Grey, Ocean Depths
Operating system: Android 7.1 Nougat
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (octo-core, 10nm, up to 2.45GHz)
GPU: Adreno 540
Rear camera: Dual 13MP RGB + Monochrome, f/1.9
Front camera: 8MP, f/2.2
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 28GB UFS 2.1
Ports: USB C, 2x accessory power pins, nano-SIM slot
Battery: 3,040mAh

Essential Phone models, price, and release date

essential phone render 4Essential Phone

The “ocean depths” color of the Essential Phone isn’t shipping yet.

The Essential Phone costs $699 for 128GB of storage. It can be ordered unlocked in Black Moon or Pure White through Essential.com, Best Buy, and Amazon, or through its exclusive carrier, Sprint. The unlocked version of the phone will work with all carriers.

Early preorder of the handset have begun shipping and are already starting to show up in customers’ mailboxes. Listing at Amazon and Best Buy say the Black Moon color will ship by Sept. 8, and the Pure White version of the phone will ship a couple of weeks later. The other colors, Stellar Grey and Ocean Depths, aren’t available for purchase yet.

Essential Phone display and design

Essential Phone AndroidEssential

The Essential Phone is nearly completely bezel-less, with a notch at the top for the camera.

There are two main reasons why the Essential Phone is getting so much attention. One is the involvement of Rubin. The other is the display. The spec sheet doesn’t really do it justice: The Essential Phone is one of the first phones to eliminate the top bezel completely, meaning the screen extends all the way to the upper edge. There is a small bezel at the bottom of the phone, so it’s not fully symmetrical.

That means there’s no space on the frame for the camera, so, Essential has designed the screen with a small notch in the center for the lens. (It’s a design element that’s unique to the Essential Phone, but rumors suggest that Apple will adopt a similar notch for the iPhone 8.)

The body of the phone is made of titanium rather than aluminum to better resist scratching, bending, and denting. The back is extremely minimal with a dual camera, magnetic accessory connector, and a fingerprint sensor, but no other identifying marks, including a logo. As Essential says: “Just because we played a part in making it doesn’t mean you should be forced to advertise that fact to everyone in your life. Now you know why we don’t have any logos on the phone.”





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