Skip to main content

MrMobile's Essential Phone impressions: Everybody just chill

It's called the Essential Phone – not just because Andy Rubin wants you to think it's indispensable, but because it represents the essence of what Rubin believes a smartphone should be: personal, open, premium, helpful and simple. The Essential Phone PH-1 was built to correct some of the problems Rubin says Android created, with an open ecosystem and intuitive software wrapped in a drop-resistant ceramic/titanium body bearing a magnetic attachment port for accessories.

Also, no Essential Phone would be complete without an Essential Home to go along with it; in addition to its smartphone showdown, Essential will be going head-to-head with the Google Homes and Amazon Echoes of the world. But such lofty ambitions sometimes bamboozle those who should remain skeptical – especially given the crowded graveyard of tech companies who've walked this path before.

So how excited should you be for the Essential Phone? MrMobile won't know for sure until he gets a device in his hands; until then, join him for some early impressions from afar! And be sure to check out Android Central's coverage!

Stay social, my friends

  • Don't like the camera cut out in the front
  • Just chill!
  • coolbreeze be chillin all the time
  • OK?
  • Thanks!
  • Good one
  • Looking forward to your review and thoughts! Right off the bat though I'm looking at this exactly as I did the Pixel. No waterproofing - no buy Not even sure I need to look at anything else... But I'm looking forward to seeing what's what.
  • This.
    I appreciated his perspective on this a lot so his thoughts once he has one will be very interesting.
  • Missing specs suck! I for one won't buy it because it lacks a 15,000 MAh battery. Yup, you read that right, that's a capital M! If it can't power my house - and my neighbor's - not interested.
  • This.
    Best comment I've read all day.
  • Ooh! i love a good false equivalence fallacy! What's next? Oh, I know! *singing in Disney voice* Do you wanna build a straw man? Hahaha! Silly lucky Captain rabbit king!
  • I couldn't care less about waterproofing. It's a nice feature, but not a deal breaker
  • I think the way you have to approach the whole waterproofing issue is not that it's a "feature" you need or don't need per se, but rather what does it say about the device in general? The first thing that comes to mind (for me) is if the device is not IP67 or 68 rated (or in that ballpark) then it's not a flagship or premium device. Because to me any top tier device would cover that very basic design element first before packing in the "features".
  • That idiot "MrMobile' moniker really is a turn-off.
  • Luckily for you I doubt he's trying to turn you on.
  • Lolol
  • Luckily? You know that's the only reason they're so salty! It's just over compensating for unreciprocated affection... Poor thing!
  • At least his handle is comprehendable, unlike yours...
  • Hey, now don't be dissin' Mr. Michael Fisher.
  • Just the name. Shades of Mr Manager I guess.
  • He should've just left it Michael Fisher
  • Pump yo brakes, kid. Errrrrrrrrrbody knows Mr Fisher is the man!
  • Michael Fisher is legit. Mos' Def .
  • Still has some ways to prove in support.' Cautiously optimistic in that regard
  • Thank you Mr. Fisher! There's nothing wrong with being excited about a new android player. But blind fanboy ism without even touching this device is just plain stupid imo. Let people be skeptical. It's the Essential's job to convince us, not the other way around.
  • Looks like just wanted to make a video and say opposite of what everyone said. If everyone would have thrashed probably the video would have been praising the phone.
  • Not much fun, staking out a position of jaundiced skepticism. At least the hype is refreshingly aspirational. Privacy, simplicity and openness rather than intrusiveness, superfluous complexity and grasping avarice. The preemptive carping over "the widow' peek" is a dead giveaway of bias. I am reminded of the recent caterwauling about the GS8's fingerprint reader. It was a genuine concern that I shared. . . until I used it for maybe a day when I found it easily, fast and responsive. The less-than-optimal location is more than made up by its actual performance and utility. Yet there are still daily screeds about its imagined horrors (did these aggrieved and tortured souls even try to break it in?). This is the way of all tech now -- breathless gushing at announcement, followed by petty, infantile griping over idiosyncratic griping about individual peeves about tertiary elements of complex devices designed for varied mass markets. I really like the commitment to "play nice with others but that will be sorely tested when the others resolve to cut out the Essentials heart and stomp that sucker flat.
  • What's the deal with the old "oh it doesn't have ipxx so no buy" crap? Dunno about you guys but I tend to refrain from using my phones whilst swimming, laying in the bath or taking a shower or even using it outsoors in torrential rain.
    My last few phones have been HTC m7, m9 and currently the 10, all 3 have had the odd splash on them and one landed in a puddle as it slipped out whilst getting out of the van, works perfectly, if you have issues because you keep dropping it in the kitchen sink, down the toilet or it falls in your pint of lager down the pub then that's an issue with yourself not the quality of the phone, you'd be surprised just how long some of these non-ipxx phones have lasted whilst submerged, ;)
  • Buy what suits your needs. I take my phone with me in the pool for pics and music.
  • No offense man I'm sure you have a great opinion, but I had to stop reading at "whilst". That word bugs the hell outta me for some reason lol.
  • I used to say the same thing as you until I was in the bathroom one day and I had my Pixel XL sitting on the counter then turned around and bumped it with my hand and knocked it right in the toilet. As quickly as it hit the water I grabbed it... Wasn't in the water more than a second, but it was still enough damage the mic on the Pixel. Never expected that to happen. My opinion now is if I can't have a phone with a removable battery it better be IP67 or better.
  • I have experienced none of the camera flaws people describe nor any jittery action using the phone. But, I got it in April of 2018 (a few weeks ago). It immediately received several updates including Oreo 8.1. The updates must have fixed those issues. It is fair to say they had some software issues, but to have them ironed out after 7 months is pretty respectable. Now that the phone is $500 or less (sans 360-degree camera and earbuds), the phone is a good deal. The cut-out notch:
    Is NOT a big deal. I don't notice it. It is located in the center of the status bar and no application used that area except the status bar. It actually separates the notifications from the settings area and seems perfectly normal to me. I think some reviewers are looking for something negative to say. The cons:
    It's beautiful in its simple appearance and the temptation to not use a protective cover is inherently a problem. That superhard Corning Gorilla glass 5 protrudes from the front edges and will take the brunt of the force from being dropped. Without an extended warranty, Essential will not cover broken glass as a design flaw or defect in materials or workmanship. That is a design flaw I hope they will correct in the next iteration of the Essential phone. Until then, use a protective cover, protective screen covers, etc. I was disheartened to see the bottom corner of my screen cracked and I did not even drop it. I don't know how it happened. But Essential refused to cover it under warranty saying the glass is not covered. Due to the assembly process, no 3rd parties are servicing the Essential yet due to no parts being available and the manufacturing process making the phone extremely difficult to service. However, My VISA card provided me with another with its own extended warranty. You can only buy Essentials warranty from Essential at the same time you purchase the phone from them. If you hesitated or bought your phone from some other outlet, there are 3rd party warranty companies you can use. SquareTrade seems to offer a fair deal and has good reviews on their warranty service. I have urged Essential to offer their extended warranty to buyers from other outlets. Let's hope they respond in favor of making more money instead of scaring buyers off with poor support for repairs, especially due to design flaws.