9 Reasons Why the Essential Phone Is My Favorite Phone Yet
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I’ve used quite a few Android phones over the years, and I can say for sure that the Essential Phone is, hands down, my favorite. Here are some qualities unique to the Essential Phone that make it a phenomenal device.

1. This Is Essential’s Only Phone

Essential Phone white model

Samsung, LG, and HTC each put out buckets of phones a year. Developers have to prepare and test software for each device. This takes time and effort, which is part of the reason so many Android phones receive few, if any, updates Which Smartphone Manufacturers Are Best for Android Updates? Which Smartphone Manufacturers Are Best for Android Updates? Android phones aren't always guaranteed updated, so how do you know which manufacturer to go for? Read More .

The Essential Phone is the only phone that Essential has released. This means the company can focus its attention on one product. While other companies may not care all that much how consumers feel about a specific model, the end user experience on the Essential Phone is one of the company’s main priorities.

2. A Fast and Long Support Cycle

When Google officially announced Android Pie The 13 Best New Features in Android 9.0 Pie The 13 Best New Features in Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie is here and it offers some awesome new features. Here's a tour of the most exciting improvements. Read More , the first phone to receive an update was not a Pixel. It was the Essential Phone. Essential pushed an over-the-air update out to devices on the same day as Google’s announcement.

Fast updates are not new for the Essential Phone, but it’s not just the speed of updates that’s commendable here. Essential has pledged support for the device until August 2019.

Android Oreo and Pie both arrived in August. If Android Q (Quince Jam? Quiche? We don’t yet know) does the same, or even if it’s a few weeks late, Essential plans to provide that update.

This will mean that the Essential Phone launched with Android 7.0 Nougat, and by the end of its support cycle, it’s expected to run Android 10. In the Android world, that’s essentially unprecedented.

3. The Essential Phone Gets Better With Age

Many phones start out great only to degrade over time 5 Reasons Your Phone Slows Down Over Time 5 Reasons Your Phone Slows Down Over Time Is your smartphone suddenly slow? We've got good news: you're not going crazy. That loss of device power hits both Android and iOS users. Devices do slow down over time. Here's why. Read More . Comparing later reviews to those that came out around the phone’s launch, the opposite has been the case with the Essential Phone.

Essential’s small but focused team has pushed out fixes to address the phone’s early software problems. The camera app is faster and more stable. Apps have also had time to adjust to the front-facing camera notch. That’s all in addition to two major Android version upgrades.

That doesn’t mean the phone is free of issues. Some users reported seeing more dropped Bluetooth connections. Nonetheless, the consensus seems to be that the phone provides a better experience now than it did when it was new.

4. There’s No Branding

Essential Phone no logo

There isn’t a giant logo on the back of the Essential Phone. Not only has Essential resisted any temptation to etch its name somewhere, but you won’t find certification details or any other text either.

I find logos garish and a form of advertising I don’t need in my life. I’m willing to risk damaging a device if I believe there’s a chance I can remove the logo. In the past, I managed to scrub the bright red BoomSound branding from the bottom of my old HTC One without leaving behind any marks. But there was no way to remove HTC’s own logo on both the front and back of the device, unfortunately.

I love that this is not an issue with the Essential Phone. It’s nice to see a company that not only shares this view of logos (see marketing text in the image above), but is willing to put its money where its mouth is.

5. 128GB of Storage on Every Phone

Not long ago, smartphones limited us to 16GB or 32GB of internal space. Now, 64GB is commonplace. But on the Essential Phone, you get 128GB.

Most phones that offer 128GB treat it as an upsell. For instance, the 128GB Pixel 2 costs $100 more than its 64GB counterpart. With the Essential Phone, one size fits all, and that size is 128GB.

That said, I’d still like to see a microSD card slot Your Next Phone Needs a MicroSD Card Slot -- Here's Why Your Next Phone Needs a MicroSD Card Slot -- Here's Why Some popular phones don't have microSD card slots -- but a lot still do, and you need one! Read More .

6. It’s Both Comfortable and Solid

Essential Phone fingerprint reader

The Essential Phone is among the sleekest smartphones ever made. I don’t think that’s much of a contentious statement. Still, I’m surprised by just how usable this phone really is.

While it’s around the same size as previous phones I’ve owned, the Essential Phone feels much less unwieldy in my hand. It doesn’t feel like a bigger phone, all while having a larger screen than older devices of the same size. The metal frame feels solid, and the ceramic back does a great job of resisting scratches.

I’ve dropped the phone several times now, and none of the components have shattered (though I have scratched the screen after absentmindedly putting my phone in the same pocket as my keys).

In short, the Essential Phone isn’t a shallow pretty face. There’s substance to this design.

7. Photos Are Great

The differences between smartphone cameras and DSLRs DSLRs vs. Smartphone Cameras: How Do They Compare? DSLRs vs. Smartphone Cameras: How Do They Compare? Everyone has a camera in their pocket, so is it worth getting a DSLR? We look at the pros and cons of each to help you make a decision. Read More have shrunk over the years. My Essential Phone’s photos look great even on pixel-dense displays, like my Pixelbook’s 10 Reasons Why I Chose the Google Pixelbook Over a MacBook 10 Reasons Why I Chose the Google Pixelbook Over a MacBook Looking for a slimline laptop? You'll probably consider a MacBook, but here's why you should also look at the Google Pixelbook. Read More . With older phones, I could tell which camera I used just by the difference in photo quality. Now I need to check the image resolution, because the Essential Phone’s images appear just as clear.

I still carry around a DSLR camera when I’m going out with the explicit purpose of taking pictures, mainly due to optical zoom. But when zooming isn’t an issue, I know my Essential Phone will capture the moment just fine.

8. It’s a Blank Slate

While I prefer Android to iOS, I’m not exactly Google’s biggest fan. I only install a few apps and disable most of what Google provides. Indeed, I don’t like having extra software lying around on my phone, including the likes of Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby—I view them as unwanted distractions 5 Simple Ways to Be a More Mindful Smartphone User 5 Simple Ways to Be a More Mindful Smartphone User It's easy to get sucked into the smartphone world in the modern age and forget about the real world. Here's how to take back control of your life. Read More .

The Essential Phone provides a clean version of Android similar to what you get on a Google Pixel phone, but with even fewer extra features. Essential developed its own camera app, and that’s it. This fits my temperament so much more than the overabundance of apps and features you get from a Samsung, LG, Huawei, or HTC phone.

9. That 360 Degree Camera

The Essential Phone has two magnetic connectors on the back intended for attachable accessories. So far, only one has hit the market. That’s the Essential 360 degree camera.

Essential 360 Degree Camera for Essential Phone Essential 360 Degree Camera for Essential Phone Buy Now At Amazon $34.99

Just like the phone itself, Essential has cut the price of the camera. So if you already have the phone, this add-on is an affordable way to try creating your own 360 videos.

What Do You Think of the Essential Phone?

Essential Phone 128 GB Unlocked with Full Display, Dual Camera – Black Moon Essential Phone 128 GB Unlocked with Full Display, Dual Camera – Black Moon Buy Now At Amazon $387.90

A year after the Essential Phone’s release, this device provides an excellent experience. After recent price drops, it’s hard to overstate how much value you’re getting for your money.

But I’m not claiming the Essential Phone is best for everyone. If you consider 3.5mm jacks or microSD card slots as must-haves (and I wouldn’t blame you), then this phone will disappoint you in both areas. Fortunately, there are alternatives that still have headphone jacks These Phones Still Have a 3.5mm Headphone Audio Jack These Phones Still Have a 3.5mm Headphone Audio Jack A year after Apple killed the 3.5mm jack the company removed it from the iPhone 7. And although some companies did it before the Cupertino giant, more brands have swayed away from the audio jack... Read More .

Explore more about: Android, Android Pie, Buying Tips.

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  1. Ken Mitchell
    September 3, 2018 at 3:04 am

    After two different HTC Evo phones, two iPhones, several old pre-smart phones and a Google Nexus 6, I can say that I agree completely; my Essential PH1 phone is the best of the lot. AND, it's on T-Mobile, which (here in Sacramento, CA) is _ALSO_ the best.

    It's easy to hold. It's easy to use. With 128GB of RAM, it's the best music player, and the camera is darned good; especially the 360-degree camera. The sound is good.

    I _am_, however, hoping for Essential to come out with a new PH2 phone. The PH2 should be exactly like my PH1, except with 5G wireless connectivity. That's really the only improvement I can think of.

  2. Ysleiro
    August 25, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Should have also added "because I'm not one of millions of T-Mobile customers".

    • Craven Morehead
      August 26, 2018 at 9:55 am

      Fake news!
      My PH-1 works just fine on T-Mobile.
      I see you been drinkin the Haterade.
      I think Trump is an a-hole, we can certainly find some common ground there...
      Wanna hug it out?

  3. David H Dennis
    August 25, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I'm an Apple user with iPhone X. I'm also a developer who needs to have both Apple and Android phones to see how my web sites look with them. So I needed an Android phone, since my old one was so horrible I winced every time I turned it on. And of course I didn't want to spend too much because from an Apple partisan's point of view, who the heck wants to give the competition money?

    I was about to go with the first-generation Pixel when I noticed the Essential phone was available at an even lower price. I could treat myself to the 360deg camera and still be a little cheaper than the previous generation Pixel. And what really surprised me was the very enthusiastic user reviews. As long as you weren't dependent on it as a camera - and my Leica Q and Nikon D5 cameras take almost all my pictures - it seemed nearly ideal.

    So I ordered the Essential and am very impressed so far. I actually enjoy using it. My iPhone X is significantly better thanks to iOS and smoother operation, but at over triple the price it had better be. For the $279-odd I paid for it, the Essential is a steal.

    And the kicker is this: The 360 camera was dead on arrival. I emailed support, not expecting to hear back from them, and lo and behold, they sent me a reply almost immediately. I sent them the information they requested, and in only a couple of hours I got a message saying the replacement is on its way. That's impressive service by any account, let alone for a company that is supposedly on its last legs.

    So I hope Essential comes up with something new that enables them to succeed. The phone shows that they can definitely come up with a quality product. Too bad they had to sell it so cheap to make bottom-feeders like me give it a try. I hope they can refine their marketing and produce products that are more compelling in the future.

  4. Dennis
    August 24, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    I agree completely. The phone has only become more of a pleasure to use in the 7 months I've owned it. I just dropped it on a parking lot's rough concrete surface and found a TINY chip on the bottom corner of the frame; no other damage anywhere.