... is a 2017 Essential PH-1.
It is the brainchild of Andy Rubin, who is known as the founder of Android Inc, who brought us, er, Android. I bought this phone from a Telus store, who, surprisingly did not try to sell me a bumper to bumper warranty.
Quirks and Features
Before I go onto the quirks and features of the phone itself, there’s actually one quirk that is not on the phone itself, and that’s actually the name. If you take a closely at the model, it’s PH-1, and if you expand 1 out to “one”, it actually spells out Essential Ph-one. Quite nifty.
The phone itself is made out of titanium and ceramic, combined with Gorilla glass, one of the very few that uses ceramic on the back.
First when you open the box to try to put the SIM card in, most phones come with a SIM tray ejection tool so you can get the tray out, and the Essential is no exception. The tool is in this little holder, which actually resembles the Essential logo when inserted. Quite a “contrast” to the phone itself, which does not have any logos of any sort on the phone.
Most people know and and a lot hate the iPhone X notch. and the Essential, too, has a notch at the top, though it is much narrower and wraps around the camera. And this phone actually came out two months earlier than the iPhone X.
However, the support for the notch including some system ones isn’t exactly complete, so a lot of times it just shows up like a regular phone.
When you’re charging and the phone is off, the phone, being from California, shows you this little Starbucks cup filling up the battery. Most of the time you won’t see this, because this animation actually only shows if your phone is completely powered off and charging.
The phone itself is pretty plain looking, black (or white, if you have the other colour), with no logos or anything on the outside, except for these two metallic dots:
These two dots are actually for the modules that Essential sells where you can magnetically stick to the phone. Currently there’s only one module, which is a 360 degree camera, and another is a dock that you can use for syncing and charging, although not quite a module.
...and now, on to the PhoneScore(tm).
Starting with the Weekend Category:
The phone itself is just a slab, and when it’s off it’s just black on both sides. The ceramic back is very fingerprint prone, so that earns it a 4 out of 10.
The phone has a Snapdragon 835, which is pretty much the go-to processor for any flagship, and initial setup didn’t bog down the smoothness, but it also isn’t particularly fast, so that earns it a 8 out of 10.
The phone started feeling a bit hot after being stressed, and the ceramic makes the phone a little slippery to hold. I probably need to look into a case so that earns it a 5 out of 10.
It’s a slab, a thin one at that, looks nice overall. Considering it has no logos or anything, you might get some looks from phone guys when they recognize it, but it’s not really remarkable or head turning in the crowd so that earns it a 5 out of 10.
The Essential has the status of being created by the “creator of Android”, however the phone itself doesn’t really have anything that really stands out, maybe except for the modular camera, but that hasn’t really taken off. Factor on those in, it earns it a 3 out of 10.
Summing up the weekend category that would be a grand total of 25 out of 50, in which I don’t know where it stands on the weekend category since this is the only phone on it right now.
Next is the Daily Category:
The PH-1 uses stock Android, so it doesn’t have any major features aside from a smooth Android experience like a Pixel. Hardware wise it comes with standard stuff like a fingerprint scanner, and also has the modular camera as well as a dual camera on the back. It also has a massive 128GB of storage which is a plus since it does not have expandable storage. Lacks a physical keyboard which knocks it down to a 7 out of 10.
The nice compact size of the phone is comparable to a Nexus 5 yet still provides a huge 5.7" screen thanks to its tiny bezels. Some people might be turned off by the heft due to the ceramic back, but it actually feels nice in the hands, to that earns it a 6 out of 10.
Initial impression feels nice, there aren’t any gaps that can be seen from Mars, and it’s built with premium ceramic, titanium and glass which makes it feels sturdy. However there are reports about cloth speaker grilles falling out and mine came with this instead of the rectified steel mesh grille, which earns it a 5 out of 10.
When the PH-1 first came out they wanted a whopping $1090 for the phone, however after a few months, Essential refunded the money to some early buyers and the price is knocked down by Telus to $460, making it way cheaper than similar competitors. Some even report that the phone can be had for $280 after credits, which makes it incredible value for what you get, being cheaper than some “flagship killers”, earning it a 9 out of 10.
Summing up the Daily categories, the Essential earns a total
Combining the Weekend and Daily categories, the PhoneScore is: 52, which is a respectable score on an unknown, empty list of phones.