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Android co-creator unveils the $700 Essential smartphone

By midian182 ยท 22 replies
May 30, 2017
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  1. Following the first teaser picture of Andy Rubin’s Essential smartphone in March, and some leaked specs last month, the Android co-founder has finally unveiled his company’s handset.

    Essential said it was focusing on high-end hardware and features that would put the device up against products from Samsung, Apple, and Google. It seems to have lived up to the promise with a handset that boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4GB of RAM, USB Type-C, a 3040mAh battery, and 128GB of UFS 2.0 internal storage.

    Unlike many of today’s aluminum phones, the device is made of titanium and ceramic, which means it should be able to withstand accidental falls and bumps better than most. It also looks very sleek, with a conspicuous absence of logos.

    Probably the most noticeable feature is that 5.7-inch, 2560 x 1312 QHD (503 PPI) screen. Like most modern flagships, the 19:10 display has an edge-to-edge design, but it goes all the way to the top, wrapping itself around the front-facing camera – something that could be a ‘love it or hate it’ quirk. The Verge notes that the status bar at the top of an Android screen doesn’t fill the middle space with icons, so it's supposedly efficient. But the camera can look a bit invasive when viewing full-length images.

    Another interesting feature of the Essential phone is that it’s modular. As with Motorola’s Moto Mods, you can customize the handset by attaching accessories; in this case, they stick to the magnetic pins on its back. One of the add-ons is a 360-degree camera that can shoot spherical UHD video at 30 fps. There’s also a cradle-style charging dock available.

    The Essential phone’s built-in camera is no slouch, either. It uses a dual-lens setup consisting of a regular 13MP CIS and a monochrome CIS that takes in more light, making it ideal for low-light photography. And don’t forget about that 8-megapixel front-facing snapper, which can also record 4K video.

    Other features include Gorilla Glass 5, Android Nougat 7.1.1, a rear fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 5.0, and no bloatware. Like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, it lacks a headphone jack, but Essential includes a complimentary USB C-to-3.5mm adaptor with every device sold.

    The Essential phone is available to pre-order today for $699 or $749 if you want the camera accessory. No word yet on when it’ll ship.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Spect

    Spect TS Booster Posts: 33   +24

    Great info, love seeing a sleek phone with specs I'd be happy to use. Also I like that it has no branding or logos on it at all.
    Does "no bloatware" mean it also has stock Android? I don't want to split hairs but it could be possible for a phone to be sold with no bloatware but at same time have custom ROM and some crappy forced skin or ui. I hope it is stock Android, we need more flagship level phones with pure stock Android. I felt I was being charged a premium to get a phone with stock Android when I ordered the Pixel...
  3. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,536   +1,343

    I dunno about this, I'm already not a fan of the front camera being in the way like that. Is the phone rated to be waterproof or anything along those lines? Since they got rid of the headphone jack, why is the battery the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S8? Why is it not bigger?

    I like the materials used though, and I do like an edge to edge screen, glad they didn't wrap the screen around the edges like Samsung does. Decent specs. I assume it'll use stock (or close to) stock android considering one of the founders of Android OS runs the show.
  4. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,069   +1,322

    Sorry, TOO EXPENSIVE for "a phone".
    Prices of these things have gotten out of hand, but, as long as the public is willing to fork over
    700-1000 dollars for them, so be it. I prefer to buy "last years" model, since when "this years"
    model comes out, they dump the price of the last years, to get rid of them, and, you can usually
    pick them up for about half, of what they were when it came out.
    Teko03 likes this.
  5. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,536   +1,343

    This is very true, I was reading an article on "the best mid-range phone to buy" (may have even been Techspot that ran it) and the end result was "Don't buy the latest mid-range handsets, buy a year old high end model for the same money".
    RevD14, p51d007 and hahahanoobs like this.
  6. Badvok

    Badvok TS Maniac Posts: 304   +157

    Something is worth what people are willing to pay for it, what was your point again?
  7. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    The name is misleading. NO phone that costs 700 smackers is "essential" imo. It's just an indulgence.
    Teko03 likes this.
  8. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,618   +941

    Odd resolution.
    "Small" battery.

    I'll stick with my LG G4 I paid $200 for on Kijiji.
  9. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Evangelist Posts: 714   +519

    I'm perfectly happy with my OnePlus 3T and I paid less. I'll stick with OnePlus but good info. thanks.
  10. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +163

    I'll be sticking with my S7 Edge for at least another year I'm sure. Might move over to Apple after that I'm not sure. Android has been getting on my nerves for a while but it's "improving" I guess. What I really want is something like oneplus or xiami or however you spell it is offering but the "flagship" phones do perform better which is why I pay that higher premium I suppose. We will just have to wait and see what the future holds.
  11. Neojt

    Neojt TS Addict Posts: 231   +59

    Love it

    but Canada always get the bad end of the deal... Ships to USA only...
  12. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,834   +436

    Names and slogans are always misleading. I mean, you can order a burger your way... but when do they ever get it right? lol old slogan "Have it your way."

    What's your point? Hell, what's anyone's point in these comments?!?!? They are usually just someone's opinion wanting to be heard by someone....yet somehow your comment is more pointless than stating your opinion. Just as pointless as THIS POST IS.

    Edit: slightly more pointless than this post. because, at least, I am TRYING to be humorous. Now, whether or not I accomplished that is up for debate.
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  13. dirtyferret

    dirtyferret Banned Posts: 518   +538

    Not true, Qualcomm 835, 4GB of RAM, 2560 x 1312 screen are all essential for my daily routine of liking stuff on facebook, shopping on amazon, texting emojis, and sending phone calls straight into voice mail (WTF is wrong with people using a cell phone for phone calls). Could you imagine using something like a Qualcomm 810 w/ 3GB of RAM and a 1440p screen to do that? May as well just use smoke signals.
  14. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,572   +2,055

    If it doesn't have a 3.5mm audio jack then I'm not interested.
    darkzelda likes this.
  15. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,069   +1,322

    MOST of the smartphones these days, technically are overpowered. Quad cores? For what? Playing angry birds? It's not like these things are playing some graphic intensive 3D shoot em up games, or trying to solve a quantum physics calculation. Most people text, talk, web browse, play videos, take photos, run simple apps. But, each year a faster and faster phone comes out, with a higher and higher price, but if people are willing to fork over that amount of money, well, it ain't my money. Best bang for the buck is waiting for that new phone, then buying LAST YEARS big thing. It will be heavily discounted (mine was 1/2 of what it was last year), end of line production, so all software & hardware bugs are gone. Like I said, it's YOUR money, but, if people were a little more picky with how they spend their money, perhaps the price would come down. The build costs on most high end phones is less than 300 dollars, but they sometimes command 3 times that price.
  16. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 848   +39

    Ah, but there's the thing...it's not a phone. It's a pocket computer. All of these smartphones are nothing more than pocket computers that just so happen to be able to make phone calls. When you purchase a smartphone, you are purchasing 3 items in one: phone, camera, computer. I do agree, though, that pricing is too high on these devices. I mean, if a smartphone is half as powerful yet more expensive than the laptop you just bought, something is wrong.
    hahahanoobs and p51d007 like this.
  17. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 584   +299

    The OnePlus phone will be $700 by 2019. I own a OnePlus 3 and love it, but their price increases are going to be the end of them.
    OutlawCecil likes this.
  18. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Your money, you spend it as you see fit. To me it's just a waste.
  19. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 810   +351

    How is this better than oneplus or Axon's phones that are also really high end specs and batteries with a much cheaper price tag?

    Guess we'll have to wait and see when the actual product is released.
  20. skipmichael

    skipmichael TS Enthusiast Posts: 46   +19

    To expensive for us common folk.
  21. Spect

    Spect TS Booster Posts: 33   +24

    I'm sure nobody "LIKES" to pay these exuberant prices for these flagship level phones. It's a couple dollars worth of raw materials arranged in such a way that people are willing to pay upwards of $1000+ for them. They are literally "worth their weight in gold". I think that's because (for some people, myself included) their phones are a very personal device. I can't think of anything that I interact with more than my phone. I took my time to think about this and the only possession that I use more than my phone is... my bed (and honestly that's a close call). People's phones grant them a tremendous amount of functionality in today's day-to-day life. Besides the obvious use as a communication device, the list of other gadgets a modern phone can replace would fill this page twice over (ie. Calculator, GPS, wallet, radio, compass, xbox, etc, etc). A one time payment of $1000 for a device offering a premium user experience everyday for the next 2-3 years for each of gadgets it replaces in my life, to me was accceptable. And I think alot of people realize the amount of time they interact with their device and opt for a premium flagship model as well.
  22. Valnomien

    Valnomien TS Rookie

    Boo friggin Boo Waa Waa

    it is worth it and still cheaper than some Huawei, HTC, Samsung, Apple phones
    No it's not as good a value as says a OP3T but it's also not friggin Titanium
    bunch of DA's
  23. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 658   +202

    Obvious sarcasm is obvious.

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