After months of teasing, I was finally able to spend some quality time with the first product from Andy Rubin’s startup, the Essential Phone. With major releases like the Note 8, LG V30, and Pixel 2 right around the corner, does this phone actually deserve your attention? Even after just spending a few minutes with it, I can confidently say it absolutely does…

The Essential Phone is an eye-catching device in pictures, but in person, it’s another story entirely. This device not only blows you away at first glance, but in the hand it feels absolutely incredible. That’s thanks in part to two major things, but it starts with the screen.

The 5.7-inch display on any other phone might feel a bit overwhelming for some, but on the Essential Phone, it feels kind of small thanks to the incredible screen-to-body ratio.

The hardware itself also makes the experience something you won’t find anywhere else. Instead of using aluminum and glass to make up the phone, Essential uses ceramic and titanium. Ceramic makes the phone easier to clean and more resistant to damage, and the rigid titanium frame helps with drops as well. It’s not indestructible and doesn’t feel like it, but it’s solid nonetheless.

Three colors are currently planned for the Essential Phone. There’s the standard black which is already preparing to ship to customers, and also a white and a teal option. The black model picks up a ton of fingerprints, so if you’re slightly obsessed with keeping your phone clean, it’s probably smart to wait for the white model in a few weeks. Alternatively, the “ocean depths” color is coming sometime soon, but the company has no clear release date just yet.

Another thing that immediately blows you away with the Essential Phone is how fast and clean the software is. The Snapdragon 835 provides plenty of power for the essentially Stock Android experience. Even compared to the Pixel, this phone flies, and from the bit of time we’ve spent using it so far, it actually feels a bit faster. This is no doubt helped by the lack of changes Essential has made to Android, demonstrated well by the complete lack of bloatware.

We have an Essential Phone in hand and will be testing it over the coming days to prepare our full review, so stay tuned right here at 9to5Google for more!

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About the Author

Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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