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Christmas Gift Guide

This is the Essential Phone PH-1, a new device from Andy Rubin, the co-creator of Android, that's aimed at Android enthusiasts.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

  It's a pretty simple phone.

Caption by / Photo by Sean Hollister/CNET

But one thing makes the Essential Phone different. 

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's a modular phone that takes a new approach to connecting add-ons.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

These two connector ports at the back magnetically attach to accessories.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's a wireless connection that transfers data, and even power, between the two.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's much more convenient than Motorola's multiple pins at the bottom of phones like the Z2 Force and Z2 Play. (The Essential's on the right.)

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The phone's made from titanium, and it looks really great in an understated way.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

There's a dual 13-megapixel camera on the back with one color lens and one monochrome lens.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The default camera app is laughably bad right now, with all sorts of issues, even though the camera sensors are capable of taking decent photos. Essential says it's working on fixes and can push them out regularly.

Caption by / Photo by Sean Hollister/CNET

You'll find the volume buttons and power/lock key on the right.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Another view of those buttons.

Caption by / Photo by Sean Hollister/CNET

The phone has 128GB of storage, so there's no microSD card slot in here, just the SIM.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

How did Essential avoid putting any writing or stickers on the phone? It hides some info on this pull-out tab inside the SIM tray. Clever!

Caption by / Photo by Sean Hollister/CNET

The fingerprint reader lives on the back and is easy to reach.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

There's very little bloatware on the Essential Phone.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Its sides are straight and uncluttered.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Same with the top, though traditionalists might regret the lack of headphone jack.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

You'll get a USB-C-to-3.5 millimeter headset adaptor in the box.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

There's also a reinforced charging cable.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's a fingerprint magnet.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

On the plus side, that mirror-like finish means you can actually use the phone as a mirror. Or to line up high-res selfies, I suppose.

Caption by / Photo by Sean Hollister/CNET

Here's another look at the 360-degree camera from the front.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It looks like an eyeball.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The 360 camera for the Moto Z phones (right) require a cover that snaps on to the entire length of the phone back.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Here's everything else you need to know about the Essential Phone PH-1.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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