The Essential Phone is supposed to be a device designed for people who crave great craftsmanship. Although popularity-wise it’s still behind the likes of the Galaxy Series or iPhones, the company still tries to cater to specific buyers by releasing the Essential phone (PH-1).
It feels comfortable to hold as it weighs only 185 grams. It’s not the lightest, but quite comparable other flagships. The Galaxy Note 8, for instance, weighs only 195g and offers a 6.3-inch display. The Mate 9 is similar, it weighs 190g and boasts a massive 4000 mAh battery. Speaking of the build quality, the Essential Phone is insanely good. It has everything you’d expect from a high-end device, like a ceramic back cover and Gorilla Glass 5 for extra protection. The back looks very nifty, but at the same time sturdy. It’s also quite thin, measures 7.8mm in thickness. Another highlight is water resistance although it’s not the top-of-the-line version. It has a IP55 rating, which means it can resist water and dust to some extent. Just don’t drop it in the water because it’s neither IP67 nor IP68.
The display is awesome as it utilizes an IPS LCD panel. It also adopts a near bezel-less design, which basically means the surrounding bezels are very thin. This is becoming more and more common in flagships. The color reproduction is remarkable, a lot better than basic LCD. The viewing angles are also wide, so you can look at the screen from different angles without noticing dramatic color shift. It can emit up to 500 nits. The high figure really affects readability especially for outdoor use. If it’s hard to see text on the screen in direct sunlight, all you have to do is increase the brightness. The colors are described as vivid and well-saturated. Even the back appears so dark.
The Essential Phone (PH-1) doesn’t disappoint in this area. It comes with a 13MP sensor. This shouldn’t be used as an indicator of quality. The megapixel count only matters when you want to print large photos. There are other things that also count, like the lens, dynamic range, camera settings, etc. Pictures look good in general, but they’re hurt a bit by the lack of Optical Image Stabilization. As a result, it takes more effort to take photos that are free of blur. For the record, this handset has a dual camera setup, one is a color sensor and the other one is a black/white color sensor. It is good to add the Bokeh effect to the images. Low-light performance is where the camera struggles. The results are often blurry and grainy. Clearly it’s not a strong point and it shows when it’s compared to other dual-camera phones.
The Essential Phone is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor. The powerful chip allows the phone to compete with other top performers like the LG G6. It also has 4GB of RAM for effortless multitasking and 128GB of storage for storing files. It has become a standard among premium handsets, so it’s nice to see that it has ample storage, too. Powering the phone is a 3040 mAh battery, which can get you through a day of use.
Essential Phone (PH-1) specs:
- 5.71” (2560×1312) IPS LCD Display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
- 4GB of RAM, 128GB of Storage
- 13MP Camera, f/1.85 aperture, no OIS
- 3040 mAh battery capacity
- Android 7.1.1