From its impeccable fit and finish to its impressive bezel-less design, the Essential PH-1 is a truly beautiful smartphone. Even better, it boasts impressive performance and battery life, not to mention one of the cleanest Android experiences you'll find out there. Unfortunately, smartphone cameras have gotten so good that Essential's purely OK shooter will frustrate some. The lack of certain popular niceties, like a headphone jack and water resistance, also make the PH-1 a tougher sell than expected. All told, this is a phenomenal first try and an undeniably solid device, but we're really looking forward to Essential's next attempt.
- Incredible build quality
- Beautiful edge-to-edge display
- Excellent performance
- Very good battery life
- Clean build of Android 7.1.1
- Camera needs a lot of work
- No headphone jack or water resistance
- Screen could be brighter
- Glossy back picks up smudges easily
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- Critic Reviews (10)
- 72AVERAGE CRITIC SCORE10 ReviewsTom's Guide60Essential Phone (PH-1) Review: Beautiful But Not FThe Essential Phone is a gorgeous Android phone with an edge-to-edge screen, clever modular design and refreshingly clean software, but the camera is a real letdown.CNET70Essential Phone PH-1 review: We deserve more thanWe can't recommend the Essential Phone over competitors, but it’s a mostly competent handset that’ll definitely turn heads.TechCrunch90How the Essential Phone won me over completelyThe startup set out to create an Android device that people could love, and that’s exactly what they’ve done, making the Essential Phone my top pick for those in the Android camp.Gizmodo60The Essential Phone Is Too Expensive to Have a CamI can only hope that Essential continues to iterate on its camera software and fix the PH-1’s broken photography. Otherwise, the Essential Phone might just end up as a case where beauty isn’t much more than skin deep.PC Mag70Essential Phone PH-1The Essential Phone PH-1 combines top-notch hardware and pure Android software for an amazing deal on Sprint, but its more costly unlocked model is a harder sell.Android Authority80Essential Phone review: Maximum hardware, minimumMinimalism can ironically go too far – without dialed-in software to back up what is a beautifully-crafted and well-executed piece of hardware, the Essential Phone will greatly appeal to some and frustrate others looking for more.TechRadar70Essential Phone reviewFrom a design standpoint, Essential’s PH-1 is a bold first move. It offers a stock Android experience and looks like no other device out there, but so far, the company has come up short on its promises.Android Central70Essential Phone review: One (big) step away from tRestraint is refreshing, and something that isn't exercised by the competition nearly enough — but it's a tough selling point in this hyper-competitive market full of established companies selling great phones that best the Essential Phone in multiple areas.The Verge80ESSENTIAL PHONE REVIEWThe Essential Phone is doing so much right: elegant design, big screen, long battery life, and clean software. ... But while the camera is pretty good, it doesn’t live up to the high bar the rest of the phone market has set.Digital Trends70ESSENTIAL PHONE (PH-1) REVIEWThe Essential Phone gets so much right, but most importantly it’s a joy to use. ... Buy this phone if you care about fast Android version and security updates, and a pure Android experience. You also get a phone with an excellent build quality and materials.
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