Another day, another phone launched. But this new device boasts some heavy duty lineage, so to speak. In 2015, Andy Rubin — best known for developing the Android operating system — set up a tech startup incubator called Playground Global. One of the startups Playground supported was the phone-maker, Essential, which has just launched the Essential PH-1 phone. Here are all the details of the new device.
The phone has a 5.7 QHD display with a very unusual aspect ratio of 19:10. Even after adopting a block-like design, the phone is just 0.3 inches thick. The phone has no headphone jack.
Under the hood, Essential PH-1 has Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 processor. It has a 4 GB RAM capacity and 128 GB flash storage capacity. The phone has a battery capacity of 3,400 mAh with USB C fast charging. It can also be charged through the proprietary pins on the back. It supports Bluetooth 5.0 standard as well.
In the rear, there are dual 13 MP cameras with a monochrome and an RGB sensor with f/1.85 aperture. The 8 MP front camera has a f/2.2 aperture. The phone has 4 noise cancellation microphones. It will run Android Nougat 7.1 out of the box.
The device joins the growing army of nearly bezel-less phones. It also has a very unique 19:10 aspect ratio, surpassing Galaxy S8's 18.5:9 aspect ratio. In a chassis smaller than Redmi Note 4's, Essential has managed to fit in a 5.7-inch display. The Essential PH-1 also has a titanium enclosure that provides sturdiness to the device. For a more premium feel there is a ceramic enclosure as well. These phones are really pushing the boundries of the design.
Rubin said on the Essential blog post that "the devices should evolve every year." So it has included two proprietary pins called SuperUSB on the back where modules can be stuck through a magnet. At the moment, Essential has launched only one accessory, a 360 degree camera. This dual 12 MP camera, which bills itself as the world's smallest 360 degree camera, can record a 4K video at 30 frames per second.
The phone's design can be described as very minimal, so much so that the phone-makers have refrained from using any logos on the body of the phone.
Availability and Target market
Priced at $699, the Essential PH-1 is currently only available in the US. It is available in four colours — Black Moon, Stellar Gray, Pure White and Ocean Depths. The phonemaker is boldly targeting the premium segment, going after Galaxy, Pixel and iPhone buyers. Other phonemakers have tried this in the past and, given Essential PH-1's backers, expectations are high.