Essential Phone
The Essential Phone release date will finally be announced some time next week. Essential

Buzz about the Essential PH-1 has started again as several tech outlets have released their in-depth reviews for the device. The smartphone, brainchild of Android co-founder Andy Rubin, is expected to release to market Aug. 28 and is currently available for preorder on Amazon and Sprint. Its late May unveiling proved anticlimactic as few real details were revealed about the device at that time. However, opinions on the PH-1 are now rolling in and they look favorable. Here’s what is being said.


Karissa Bell applauded the fingerprint sensor placement on the PH-1 but criticized its slippery grip. She has a positive review of the device’s camera but found it’s functionality slow overall.


Jessica Dolcourt noted the PH-1 may be a bit too minimalist in the camera department, with many common features, such as portrait mode, HDR, burst mode and focus missing. She was also a fan of the device’s premium design, calling it “gorgeous.”


Nicole Nguyen was also a fan of the PH-1’s premium materials but found the device “hefty” and a slight challenge to maneuver with small hands. She found the 360 camera accessory to be “novel and fun.”

PC Mag

Sascha Segan hailed the PH-1 for its design and software performance but found issue with its call quality. He also noted its $699 unlocked price may be a tough sell for consumers who have gotten used to the installment plan model now used by carriers.


Chris Velazco was critical of the denseness of the PH-1 and its affinity for picking up fingerprints. However, he rated the smartphone’s performance positively, overall considering the device a solid effort for its first generation.


David Pierce was a fan of the PH-1’s design, battery, and performance but found the camera to be “slow” and “inconsistent.”


Greg Kumparak critiqued the PH-1 ’s excessive fingerprint smudging and its lack of a 3.5mm jack, but called the device a “solid foundation for Andy Rubin’s grander vision.”

The Verge

Dieter Bohn like many noted he thought the front camera notch would be a distraction, but quickly found its presence wasn’t an issue. He also found it interesting that the PH-1 uses an LCD display, while current trends are focusing on more VR compatible OLED displays.

Android Central

Andrew Martonik had a more favorable review of the PH-1 camera than some other reviewers but noted the dual setup does not include optical image stabilization like many other mobile shooters. He hailed the device for its minimalistic take on bloatware, software, hardware, and branding.


Todd Haselton is a fan of the PH-1. He noted having recently purchased a handset for personal use. He called the design “first class” but noted low light shots blurred easily.


Dave Lee considers the PH-1 a pick up where Google has “dropped the ball” with its Pixel smartphones.

Slash Gear

Chris Davies noted the PH-1’s LCD display makes viewing from an angle a challenge, but still complemented the overall screen quality. He also noted that the lighter color options can pick up stains from heavy clothes like jeans.

Business Insider

Antonio Villas-Boas was a fan of the PH-1’s logo-free ceramic back and its stock Android software. He took issue with the lack of a 3.5mm jack. His views on the device’s camera were favorable, but he added that further testing may be required.


Aaron Tilley called the PH-1 “blocky” but was still a fan of the design. He noted that much of the Essential Phone’s story is left to the imagination since some reviewers were not provided with the device’s 360 camera accessory.

Venture Beat

Blair Hanley Frank was impressed by the screen real estate on the PH-1 not noted it a lot of it goes to waste as the device’s status bar isn’t put to use and many apps aren’t optimized and get cut off in unusual places.


Sam Rutherford noted that despite having a dual-camera, the PH-1 doesn’t take advantage of any depth of field features. He also noted the device's lack of wireless charging compatibility. He highlighted the device’s 128GB of internal storage as a plus.

Android Authority

Joshua Vergara counted the front camera notch as a unique design feature on the PH-1 but noted the slippery ceramic body has resulted in a handful of accidental drops.