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Essential Phone Review

Essential Phone Review


– The word essential comes from the Latin essentia, meaning absolutely necessary
or extremely important. The Essential company, whose stated goal is to make technology
easier and more accessible, might someday qualify
as extremely important, but it’s first product,
the Essential Phone, fits better into the extended definition. The brass tacks, the bare
fundamentals of a smart phone. The result is a product at
once refreshingly simple, and frustratingly limited. I’m Michael Fisher, and this
this the Essential Phone review brought to you by D-Brand. If you’re the type who likes
to stand out from the crowd without being too ostentatious about it, this hardware was made for you. It might look like just
another glass slab, but pick it up and
you’ll find the backplate is actually made from ceramic, with a luster and scratch resistance you can’t get from glass. To me, holding the
Essential Phone feels a lot like handling a domino
from an expensive set. Some people won’t like the added bulk of it’s 185 grams, but I love it. The side buttons are deliciously clicky, and rather than the
traditional soft aluminum, those buttons are mounted
on a titanium mid plate. This should make the phone more likely to survive a fall than most. A big part of the Essential
Phone’s standout look is it’s screen. Which is big, even though
the phone’s chassis is small. That’s thanks to some super slim bezels, and also this bizarre
looking widow’s peak, which is a window for the selfie camera. This is something I
expected to be annoyed by, every time I looked at the phone, but I actually came to
like the quirky personality it lends to the design. I like it so much, in fact,
that when I use an app that doesn’t automatically
scale to fill the whole canvas, I get annoyed at the notch’s absence. Speaking of apps, after years of calling for stock Android on beautiful hardware, we’ve finally got it. My review device had
just 16 apps pre-loaded. And as you might expect, it’s
insanely quick and responsive. It’s hard to put into words
just how refreshing that is. But, you know the old saying, – Be careful what you
wish for, you may get it. – [Michael voiceover] You
see, stock Android is great. But the upgrades that
other manufacturers add on, well, they can be great too. Some offer shortcuts to
drop the notification shade, night modes to filter
blue light after dark, gestures to quickly
trigger system functions. You won’t find any of that
on the Essential Phone. I hastened to add though that this isn’t a mark against the phone. Because you can just
install another launcher, you can do anything you want, you’re starting from a
base code of stock Android. In fact, Essential only
built one app for this thing. The camera view finder. I’ve seen a lot of tip
toeing and equivocating in other reviews when
it comes to this camera, so let me be clear about my impression. It is not good, at least
in its current form. HDR mode does so little to
enhance the dynamic range of a shot that it seems almost broken. But turning it on also enables
the flash, for some reason. Despite having both face
detect and IR focusing, my device regularly fails
to lock on to a subject. There’s no optical stabilization, and poor electronic stabilization, which means videos are jumpy
in even ideal circumstances. And low-light photos are, well, just look. Given enough light, the phone is certainly capable of pleasant pictures, and it’s fun to enable the monochrome mode so you can use the
secondary camera for some artsy black and whites. But put the Essential’s camera up against a really capable one, like the Pixel’s, which, if you ask me is the closest thing to a sibling this phone has, and the results speak for themselves. (light pop music) Now, some of you are
already down in the comments accusing me of beating up on this poor, billion dollar company,
so just hang on a sec. This camera app, which
is currently so buggy it’s barely usable, is going to get fixes. The phone has already received one update in the time that I’ve had it, and I have no doubt that
another one will fix the stability and focus problems. I’ve also read that the company plans to add a portrait mode. I’m sure it can even improve
the image quality somewhat. I mean, Motorola did that
with the first MotoX, making what was then a terrible camera at least serviceable. But crucially, it didn’t
make that camera great. In fact, I’ve never heard
of a software update transforming a mediocre
camera into a terrific one. And when you’re charging this much money for your smartphone, camera just isn’t
something you can skimp on. Factor in the lack of water-proofing and the absence of a headphone jack, and who’s gonna buy this thing for $699? In part, it’s people who can
overlook those shortcomings, and appreciate the details. So, let’s take 60 seconds
for the small stuff. The phone ships with a
very fast 27 watt charger, and a beautiful fabric insulated USB cable with a nice strap for coiling. It’s also got a fabric covered dongle in the box for your headphones, and if you’d rather
bother people around you than bother with those, the single speaker is quite loud. – I’m just trying to keep
to the essentials, Major. – [Michael Voiceover] Despite
how high up on the edge the ear piece is, phone
calls are quite clear, and I love that there’s a notification LED squirreled away in there too. At a max of 500 nit, the
display doesn’t get quite bright enough to be easily
read on very sunny days. I haven’t gotten to try out
the stick-on 360 camera yet, which is so far the only mod in a promised portfolio of accessories, but I like the minimal connectors compared to Motorola’s solution. Oh, and PSA, when you’re
putting your SIM in this thing, don’t stick your SIM tool in
the microphone hole like I did. Why Essential put these so close together, I’ll never know. Finally, let’s talk battery life. 3,040 milliamp hours is just
a medium size these days, but during my four day test period the phone never died before bedtime. Maybe the slim software load
has something to do with that, and hopefully that same
svelteness will allow Essential to deliver on it’s goal of
timely software updates. As with the true battery endurance, only time will tell. Essential set out to
make a better smartphone, and it some ways it has. But it seems to me that that phone was pushed out the door
before it was fully baked. And my early encounters
with customer service, trying to get my retail unit delivered, have evoked more memories of successful Kickstarter campaigns trying to keep up than world class outfits
running a smooth ship. – [Voiceover] Currently there
are no agents available. Please press one to leave a voicemail. – [Michael Voiceover] Now, look, I respect Essential’s ambition and it’s engineering accomplishments. And any company founded
by the father of Android is to be taken seriously. But that company’s first product, the Essential Phone, feels to me more like a startup’s better than expected freshman offering, than it does the first salvo in a coming techno revolution. As you my have seen, it
also gets fingerprinty AF. So, D-brand sent me a bunch of vinyl skins to stamp out the smudges
and change up the look. I tried out mahogany, marble,
black carbon fiber, and dragon but my personal favorite
is the matte black, which preserves Essential’s
minimalist intention. Get your D-brand skin at the
link in the description below, and remember subscribers
are essential to making more videos just like this. Hit that subscribe button when you visit TheMrMobile on YouTube, and follow me on Facebook, where I’ll share shots
from that 360 camera just as soon as it comes in. Until next time, thanks for watching, and stay mobile my friends.

100 thoughts on “Essential Phone Review”

  1. I much prefer square-edged phones like this and the iPhone 4/5 variants instead of the current crop of Samsung, iPhones and others with their rounded edges. Slippery as….

  2. Sent 'Mr. Mobile' a product for review after he reached out to my team REQUESTING IT. Once he received the product, he stopped answering my emails and eventually blocked my email address. AVOID WORKING WITH HIM AT ALL COSTS!

  3. The price is pretty high at $700, but when the GS8 and GS8+ first came out they were at $700+ as well, iPhone 7+ is still $769, Note 8 will start at $930, even HTC U Ultra was $700, and LG G6 was $649 and the OnePlus 3 with 128GB is $540. Yes cheaper now but eventually everything is. Though I am bummed about it's camera not being upto to par with it's competitors, if I were to be honest, I barely take any photos, I am not making excuses for essential but that's my usage. Their promise of Android updates if they can deliver then that would make them a one of a kind OEM, because that's the main problem with all Android OEMS. Pixel doesn't count because it's Google's own phone. As far as the water proofing and headphone Jack, in all honesty whenever I buy a phone the earbuds never get taken out of the box, I have been using wireless headphones for almost 4 years now and have had Bluetooth in my car since 2012. I never got into the Wireless Charging craze because it was slow, glitchy and you can't play with your phone when you use it and besides I believe they are coming with a magnetic dock for charging with no wires involved. Now water proofing is a big deal nowadays because it has been widely implemented, but I have never been clumsy enough to drop it in water, or adventurous enough for underwater photography. Now if you accidentally got caught in the rain, every single phone has a small degree of splash resistance nowadays, plus God damn this thing is pretty and durable. Now expandable storage is something that depends on the user, I personally have stopped using it for a couple of years now, with cloud storage and an unlimited LTE plan it's extremely possible to do. Takes a little work.

  4. Hello there, MrMobile, Great review mate, can you answer me one question? Does this device support long press on apps?

  5. For a while I couldn't watch your vids, and now I realize how much I missed them. Good infos, highly enjoyable, fun to watch the reviews.

  6. I tried this one. This phone feels really heavy . heavier than S8+ that has bigger screen . It feels like i have a chunky brick in my pocket .

  7. My photos are coming out fine, make sure you wipe down the back glass before snapping a photo. I would be willing to bet these crappy photos are due to that common mistake.

  8. You are right this is why I always wait for your review before concluding on any idea to buy any smartphone honestly to me this is a waste of money no waterproof,no 3.5mm jack ish thumbs down to essentialπŸ‘Ž

  9. I don't understand your point Michael when you say this phone has only two points to attach the Mod, whereas Motorola has so many pins , so how's that going to affect the phone anyway & why even get that point in the video!???? on top of it you forget this phone looks and is infact weighing around 185 grams which is super chunky ,,but wait you say.. you are ok with that, and the MotoZ2 foece weighs not even 130 gms and plus it's much sleeker looking than this …

  10. This first iteration of the phone should have been priced at no more than $420-440 USD. That price would have been snatched up by 20 to 30 times what the audience will be at the current sales price and would have also made a huge splash in the industry the likes of which were only seen by the One Plus a few years back. There is no hype surrounding this phone at that price point.

  11. Wow, I'm a little surprised how bad the camera is on not only a phone for this amount of money but one from the creator of Android.

  12. NOT WORTH IT!!
    Want a dual camera: Note8/V30/G6/Huawei P10/P10 Plus/Mi6/iPhone 7 Plus
    Want a monochrome sensor: Huawei P10/P10 Plus
    Want a bezeless screen: S8/Note8/V30/G6/Mi MIX 2(?)/iPhone 8
    Want a near stock Android experience: Google Pixel/OnePlus 5
    Want a bigger battery: S8 Plus/Pixel XL/OnePlus 5
    Want a HEADPHONE JACK with support for 32-bit audio and a good DAC: G6/V30/S8/S8+/Note8
    Don't buy this thing, there are sooo many other phones out there with much more features, a much better camera, an OLED display (!!!), a jack with support for high bitrate audio etc etc
    You don't have to stick to this Essential phone just cause it's made by the founder of Android ☺️

  13. With the Note 8 and V30 went into the battlefield and the Pixel 2 looming in the horizon, Essential really has found themselves in trouble water

  14. Michael, I believe the Essential phone is worthy of a revisited review. Plenty of updates have seriously improved the experience of the phone.

  15. Perhaps you might want to do a little "skit" at the start of every video regarding facts about the phone's name. That'll be great actually, but for phones like the S8 I perhaps don't know. Great review anyways!

  16. The extra durability is appreciated…though, is that also why they sacrificed other things like the headphone jacks, waterproofing, even camera? Is titanium chassis is much much expensive to make precisely like aluminum?

  17. Imagine if this phone had a good headphone jack, great camera, sd card expansion and was 200$ less? This phone would've been in the running for phone of the year and would've shattered every other phone in its price range and made essential another one plus type company with a cult following and fan base for years to come smh. But nah they wanted to fuck this phone up.

  18. well this is android for you. even if you pay premium, you still get a piece of crap and that's why many prefer iphone. essential phone? more like useless garbage

  19. Seems they discovered that $699 was to much to make this phone essential or even desirable. They've cut the price to a more reasonable $499.

  20. Any new updated opinions on the PH-1 now that
    1. They apparently updated the camera quality wise.
    2. Fixed the viewfinder ( I assume)
    3. The price drop into the "Flagship Killer" 500$ price range. Especially with its comparability with all U.S carriers. ( Unlike one phone brand I know)

  21. MrMobile, will you do an updated review of the essential phone with all of the camera and software updates? I would be interested to hear if you think it has gotten any better.

  22. Really great narrative!!Β  You were clearly an English and/or journalist major, or, if not, would have excelled if so!!Β  I've looked at several reviews for this cell and I would very likely get it except, b/c the cam is soooo bad, that's the only deal-breaker for me.Β  The vid is also awful.Β  I love everything else about the cell though.

  23. I think that for a first phone they are doing just fine and as time moves on they will even pass Crapple sorry Apple they have great ideas and they have fixed everything on the phone with updates. As far as water proof I have never found this useful and I live on the the beach here in Los Angeles. Also the PH-2 that is coming out will be a winner and Android people I think will eat it up !!!!!

  24. [UPDATE] Two months and a big price drop later, I've revisited the Essential Phone. See how the story's changed (and how it's stayed the same) in my Review Re-Do! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDw-ukVgV1o

  25. Does anyone who's complaining about it even own one? I'd say not. I have one and it is way better then a junk ass iPhone x

  26. As owner of a 6 month old Essential PH-1 that is burning out it's software, I can tell you it is the worst phone ever. There are too many problems to list. Bottom line, for me, is that Essential will not honor their stated warranty. Essential says it is the network failure in not keeping up with Essential updates. Would almost maybe be true, except that no other brand of phone is having burn out issues. Hmmmmmm. Other than don't waste your money, make sure you check out their warranty, or lack thereof.

  27. I found it funny he complains about the signal when it's not the phones fault. But a carrier like TMobile isn't a good provider it's an outside only service. Without any real spectrum offerings. Why not get a real provider like Sprint, att or Verizon.

  28. this is a great device and i have owned 4 in total, i wish they did a newer bigger model with more memory – got money hoping they do – good review

  29. I would say that right now it is super worth it. Because it totally updated in software, it is going to get Android Pie. The camera got fixed with the software updates, and the phone right now costs around 260 $ on eBay totally new. Right now I would buy it.

  30. That wallpaper makes the phone look super beautiful… I have the phone and love it lol, all I need is a 1080p display, excess ram so it doesn't lag. And everything else is a plus! The camera "isn't the best" lmao, it's pretty decent if your not worried about trying to take a pic that equals a $2k camera. I barely take pics but when I do, I take it with the Instagram app cause it fixes pics very well

  31. I watched this on March 2019… And yes indeed the sim tools hole is too close to the mic sensors and I did the same, stitch in the wrong hole over and over again … πŸ˜‚

  32. I bought a sprint unlocked version for $180. I absolutely loved it, only to have it re-locked to sprint after the August 2018 update…. Lesson learned

  33. S8+ has some crazy camera! Even in dark low light and neons and flashing lights dont even effect the camera.

    Takes amazing low light pics.

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