The Essential phone was the first phone to adopt the display notch, and though it had flagship class specifications, the camera was reportedly not great.
Essential’s Head of Industrial design, Linda Jiang, told Business Insider that the company will improve the quality of the camera in its next-gen smartphone. The phone reportedly had a poor camera as noted by various tech publications which reviewed the phone. The Verge described the camera as “terrible” and CNET called it “crummy”. The company has put quite some effort in trying to fix the issue with software improvements, but the camera was reportedly still inferior to other 2017 flagships. The Essential PH-1 is also one of the few 2017 devices which got updated to Android 8.1 Oreo as it uses a stock Android interface similar to Google’s Pixel.
The Essential PH-1 was the first phone to feature the notch on the display. Unlike the Apple iPhone X, the notch on the essential phone is much smaller and still houses all the required sensors. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, putting at par with most 2017 flagship smartphones. The device features a 4GB RAM and comes with 128GB storage. Internal aside, the device is built using premium materials as it is the only phone to feature a Titanium body and a ceramic back at the same time. The phone sports a 5.71-inch QHD display and a 3040 mAh battery.
The phone uses a dual camera setup at the back featuring dual 13MP cameras. However, as mentioned they weren't any good. Although the company’s Head of Industrial design, Linda Jiang did mention that the problem will be addressed in the next iteration, she didn't mention when the new phone might be launched. She just said, “In general, one thing that we got hit hard with was the quality of our camera, and we’re really looking forward to improving that with our next-gen, making sure that we’re listening to our customers and their pain points… We’re going to make it better for you”.
Essential PH-1 is the brainchild of Android Co-Founder Andy Rubin. The phone was developed and manufactured by his startup called Essential Products. Though the phone did not get a lavish launch, it is available via Amazon India for Rs. 59,999. Let’s see if the next phone gets a proper India launch and if Essential keeps its promise. Only time will tell.