Essential Phone PH-1

The Good The stunning Essential Phone PH-1 feels brilliant in the hand and it’s one of the fastest phones we’ve tested. There's no bloatware or unsightly logos, and its premium materials survived a six-foot drop. Compatible with all major US carriers.

The Bad Essential’s camera app is terrible. Battery life is merely OK. No photo or video stabilization. No headphone jack. Essential’s modular accessories aren’t ready for primetime.

The Bottom Line We can't recommend the Essential Phone over competitors, but it’s a mostly competent handset that’ll definitely turn heads.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 9.0
  • Camera 6.0
  • Battery 7.0
7.3 Overall

Compare

Essential Phone PH-1
Essential Phone PH-1
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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Phone
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Price $500 Amazon.com $1,287 Amazon.com $949 Amazon.com $650 Amazon.com $600 Amazon.com
Design
9
9
8
8
8
Features
7
9
10
9
9
Performance
9
10
9
9
9
Camera
6
9
8
8
9
Battery
7
7
10
9
10

Review

We deserve more than this unfinished phone

The moment I picked up the Essential Phone, I fell in love.

That pleasingly hefty titanium body. Those slim bezels. The conspicuous lack of ugly branding. That mirror finish. It immediately reminded me of the monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey." I just had to touch it.

But after nearly two weeks with the Essential PH-1 as my primary phone, the honeymoon is over. While the PH-1 is a worthy first effort, it has some serious flaws that keep it from fulfilling its promise to die-hard Android enthusiasts.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $499
  • Brand Essential
  • Diagonal Size 5.71 in
  • Weight 6.53 oz
  • Technology GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE
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