Is the Essential Phone really worth the hype?


There has recently been a lot of hype and talk about the Essential Phone all over the web and social media but does it really deserve all of this?

Essential is a very new company and the Essential PH-1 is their very first phone on the market. The very obvious eye catching feature about this phone is it’s display. It’s these thin bezels that make it look bezeless up top and in the sides. The hype about this phone has driven it to the eyes of people that perhaps didn’t know a similar display concept in a phone has already been implemented. For example  Sharp was the first to try it with the Aqous Crystal back in 2014, did the same with the Aquos Crystal 2 and Aquos Xx in 2015, Xiaomi almost perfected the design in 2016 with the Mix Mix and still in 2017, Sharp has the Aquos S2 that looks similar to the new Essential PH-1.

There has to be a reason the Essential Phone is getting more hype than all these other phones have had.

The Essential PH-1 design is one of the few unique ones. It’s wrapped in premium material from the ceramic back, extremely durable and difficult to scratch. It’s square sides are covered in Titanium while the rest of the flagship phones have used aluminum on sides. Essential claims to have done drop tests and having a more premium Titanium wrapping around the phone proves to make the Essential Phone stand out to drop tests better than other phones.

However, it’s a shinny and a slippery phone and the ceramic back is definitely a fingerprint magnet. A casing has solved such issues though.
The volume rockers are to the right side of the phone and below them is the small power button.

Again the display is the main attraction here, edge-less as it looks with a very thin bezel that wraps that huge display making the Essential Phone a small phone with a huge screen. Look at it’s display comparison with the iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 5.

On the front Essential made a cut out for the front facing camera and some sensors up top. And on the very top thin bezel you see the earpiece for the phone calls, led notification light crammed right in there.

At the back rests the two dual 13 megapixel cameras. No camera bump. The first camera is a normal sensor and the second a monochrome sensor which in theory allows you to capture more detail and sharpness than the regular color sensor, combine the two to make a better photo. Next to them on the left is the flash, on the right is the mic and two pins. The pins on the side are for some magnetic accessories like a 360 degree camera that Essential makes alongside the phone to attach to it. The fingerprint scanner is up in the middle near the top.

Talking about the UI, there is nothing different from stock Android about it. No bloatware or gimmicky features as with what other phone manufacturers include in their phones. Simply a stock looking Android experience with just Google’s own apps. If you have a look at it in our gallery below you see stock apps stretch and go full screen around the cut out but some third-party apps stop and end below the cut-out. Basically Essential has worked with a few major app makers in the Play Store to have these apps go full screen, Instagram for example. All Google apps do as well. They will most likely extend the same to other apps.

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The Essential PH-1 packs the most high-end and latest and 64-bit Snapdragon 835 Octa-core processor with Adreno 540. This is what the latest high-end flagship phones carry. It also comes with 4GB RAM. Given that there is no extra gimmicky features that come baked with the software and only a stock experience, 4GB RAM should be enough. It’s powered by a 3050mAh non-removable battery.


The things that many deem essential are however missing such as luck of a headphone jack. Apparently many smartphone users still need the headphone jack today despite it’s omission, a trend that was started by Apple with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The Essential phone is also not water resistant, so yeah, you can’t swim with it or risk dropping it in water as you would with the Galaxy S7, S8, Note 8, LG G6 or iPhone 7.
No expandable storage on this phone. There is just one single 128GB model available and nothing else. Also no wireless charging but only fast charging via it’s USB Type-C port. All these seem essential but not present in the Essential Phone.

Despite missing the above features, the Essential Phone is priced way up with other flagships like the Galaxy S8, LG G6 and iPhone 7. It’s an unlocked phone and starts at 699 US Dollars and 749 US Dollars for the one that ships with the 360 degree camera.

With all of that being said, is it worth the hype? From, what we see it packs some features most high-end flagship phones carry today and the unique design and display, it’s safe to say these have contributed to the hype the most. But it lucks most of the essential features as mentioned above which might leave one asking why it’s priced way up with the phones that have most of these features.
Someone must really love a unique phone as this despite it’s essential omissions to really go in for it. You can let us know what you think below.