Andy Rubin aka the father of Android has finally unveiled his most ambitious phone, the Essential Phone. It goes without saying that its almost bezel-less display stands as the major highlight of the phone. There’s, however, more to it than meets the eye. Which is exactly the reason why we are writing this all-you-need-to-know so that you can be fully aware of what it is before making a decision to buy it or not.
Like mentioned above, the Essential Phone comes with really narrow bezels, as good as an edge-to-edge display can get. It has a 5.71-inch QHD (1312 x 2560 pixels) display which translates to a pixel density of 503 PPI. Another thing to take note of here is its aspect ratio. While the Galaxy S8 and LG G6’s displays too had an unusual aspect ratio at 18.5:9 and 18:9, the Essential Phone pushes it a little further to achieve 19:10.
What’s interesting, though, is that the company reached such aspect ratio while keeping the overall footprint of the phone in check. If you look at the device’s dimensions, you’ll find its overall form factor to be smaller than that of the 5-inch Google Pixel.
As you may already know, the Essential Phone comes with a couple of modular accessories namely the 360-degree camera module and an Essential Phone Dock.
360-degree Camera Module
The company claims that it’s the “world’s smallest 360-degree personal camera” ever made. It’s worth noting that the camera weighs less than 35g which in other words means that it won’t add any significant bulk to the smartphone.
As far as the specs are concerned, the camera comes with two 12MP fisheye sensors each with f/1.8 aperture. Both of them can offer 210-degree field-of-view individually. It can record 360-degree UHD (3840 x 1920) videos at 30fps. There are four microphones in 3D, ambisonic tetrahedral arrangement to record audio.
On the connectivity front, there’s a 60GHz Wireless connector called the Click ConnectTM Wireless Accessory Port and SuperSpeed USB accessory connector.
Originally, the 360-degree camera for the Essential Phone is priced at USD 199. However, you can order it now only for USD 50.
Essential Phone Dock
Alongside the 360-degree camera, there’s another accessory called the Essential Phone Dock. It’s a rectangular docking station (as the name itself suggests) for the Essential Phone which can be used to charge it. The dock holds the smartphone intact with the help of the magnetic connector. Sadly, that’s everything we know so far about the dock. The company hasn’t revealed much details about the accessory. We will update the post as soon as we get our hands on something credible.
Titanium Body Frame
The Essential Phone, as opposed to most of the phones out there, is made of Titanium. The company claims that unlike aluminum, titanium “doesn’t scratch, dent, or bend” and that it is “harder, stronger, and more resilient than aluminum.” While the claims made by the company could be true, we would like to confirm it for ourselves first before commenting on it.
Anyways, moving ahead, the rear of the phone is made of ceramic while at the front, there’s a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 over the 5.71-inch screen.
Dual Camera Setup (200% more light than traditional phones)
When it comes to the camera department, you will find a 13MP + 13MP (f/1.85) dual camera setup at the back of the Essential Phone which is claimed to be the “world’s thinnest dual camera system built for a phone.” While one of them functions as a standard RGB color sensor, the other works as a Monochrome sensor. This setup allows it to capture “up to 200% more light than traditional phone cameras.”
As a result, you will get “stunning images that are rich in color and detail, even in low light,” Essential Products claims. Photos captured with the dual rear cameras will be stitched together with the “image fusion” technology. Also, you can use the 13MP monochrome camera by itself via the “True Monochrome mode” to capture images in black and white.
Other features include Hybrid Auto Focus (combination of contrast, phase detection, and IR laser assist focus into one) 4k video at 30fps, 1080p video at 60fps or 720p video at 120fps.
There’s an 8MP f/2.20 camera at the front for selfies and videos. Speaking of which, it has the same video recording capabilities as the rear camera.
Fast Charging at 27W
The Essential Phone packs a 3,040mAh battery. Needless to say the smartphone supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 since it is powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset. Now, as per Qualcomm’s claims, the Quick Charge technology will provide five hours of juice just on five minutes of charging. That’s already pretty good. Combine it with the fact that it supports 27W charging speeds, you can only imagine how fast the charging speeds will be. In fact, to put it under context, the Essential Phone is currently the fastest charging phone in the world.
Stock Android Experience
The Essential Phone ships with stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat straight away. What’s important, or rather essential for an Android smartphone is continuous and quick software updates. Sadly, the reality is entirely opposite.
The question here is, will the Essential Phone be an exception to this sad reality or will it suffer the safe fate as other Android handsets. Well, we hope for the best and are pretty much confident that the former will be the case with the Essential Phone.
After all, the phone comes from the creator of Android, Andy Rubin himself. He sure knows how essential it is for the Essential Phone to get regular software updates.
360 camera live stream
The company’s official website does mention that the 360-degree camera will be able to stream live video “to a number of social video platforms.” However, at this point in time, the company is holding most of the other specific details to itself.
Quad microphone setup with noise cancellation
The Essential Phone comes with a quad (4) microphone setup which, according to the company offer support for noise cancellation and beamforming. This will help the smartphone to filter out the ambient noise and help you record quality audio with the help of directional signal transmission. It also means that audio quality during calls will be better.
New AI Voice Assistant
Apart from Google Assistant, Siri, and Bixby, there will be one more AI-based voice assistant in the smartphone world. Yes, the Essential Phone will get its own assistant. It goes without saying that this will come in addition to the already existing Google Assistant.
If we were to add, a new AI-based Voice Assistant, especially in the presence of Google Assistant, seems unnecessary. That is unless, of course, the company’s upcoming voice assistant outshines the Google Assistant which we believe is not an easy task considering Google’s knowledge graph.
So, what do you think about the Essential Phone? Will you be interested in spending your hard earned cash on this one? Let us know in the comments.