Essential Phone Overview Updated July 6, 2021

Essential Phone

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104 'Essential Phone' stories

May 2017 - July 2021


After hinting at a new device, Andy Rubin’s start-up, Essential, announced the Essential PH-1 (Phone). Unlike other OEMs, Essential is all about keeping only the essential aspects of a smartphone. This means almost-stock Android, no pre-install bloatware, and quality materials such as titanium and ceramic to make up the handset.

Learn More About the Essential Phone

Full hardware specifications for Essential’s Phone:

Essential Phone Specification
Android version Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Screen size 5.7-inch LCD
Resolution  2560×1312 pixels
PPI 505 ppi
Primary camera Dual 13MP cameras (color + monochrome), f/1.85, phase-detect + laser auto focus
Front camera  8MP, f/2.2
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 2.45GHz octa-core Kyro 280 CPU, Adreno 540 GPU
Storage 128GB
Expandable storage up to N/A
RAM 4GB
Battery 3,040mAh (nonremovable)
Ports USB Type-C
Weight 185 g
Dimensions 141.5 x 71.1 x 7.8 mm
Other features Rear-facing fingerprint sensor, modular accessories
Color options Black Moon, Pure White, Stellar Grey, Ocean Depths
Carrier availability Sprint, Unlocked
Base price off-contract ~$699
In-box accessories USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone adapter, USB-C charging/data transfer cable, fast charging wall adapter

Essential Phone Stories July 6

Carl Pei has ‘Nothing’ planned for purchased Essential brand; earbuds will be $99 w/ ANC

The truly wireless earbud market is flooded with options nowadays, but one upcoming option that’s rather exciting comes from OnePlus alum Carl Pei. This week, he’s revealed that “Nothing” earbuds will hit a price of $99 and offer a key feature.

Essential Phone Stories November 16, 2020

I loved the Essential Phone as it was built up following a rocky launch, but nothing could save Andy Rubin’s doomed hardware startup before it closed its doors early this year. Now, members of the team who helped create the Essential Phone have formed OSOM Privacy, and now they’ve got a bit to say, including a teaser for hardware coming in 2021.

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Essential Phone Stories February 24, 2020

The Essential phone set to gain Android 11 Developer Preview support

Even with Essential as a company biting the dust, the firm confirmed that device support would end after the February 2020 security patch. Despite that, appears that we might see the Android 11 Developer Preview on the one and only Essential phone.

Essential Phone Stories February 12, 2020

The Essential Phone — PH-1 — debuted back in 2017 with the promise of premium hardware and clean software. Quickly, though, that vision started to fail as initial reviews were negative and prices were slashed as a result. Now, as the company shuts down, the Essential Phone is getting an abrupt end to software updates.

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Essential Phone Stories September 13, 2019

[Update: Widely rolling out] Essential Phone and Redmi K20 Pro get day-one Android 10 updates

Android 10 just dropped today for Google Pixel devices, but it’ll probably be a while before most devices get the update. Breaking that tradition, though, is the Essential Phone, as usual, and Xiaomi’s Redmi K20 Pro with day one Android 10 updates.

Essential Phone Stories August 9, 2019

Android Q is quickly approaching its final release with the final beta version dropping earlier this week. For Pixels, that beta still didn’t include a new Easter egg, but it’s a different story on the Essential Phone. That Android Q beta release holds a new easter egg.

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Essential Phone Stories July 2, 2019

As expected, Essential releases July security patch within hours of Pixel

Essential is still doing a superb job of keeping its devices up-to-date with the release of the July security patch for the Essential Phone now available.

Essential Phone Stories June 13, 2019

LineageOS now officially supports the Essential Phone

The Essential Phone is one of the best-supported devices, even despite the rocky road they’ve traveled since release in 2017. Despite the internal support, somewhat shockingly, the Essential Phone has never been officially supported by LineageOS — until now.

Essential Phone Stories June 11, 2019

Essential CEO replies to 9 month old tweet to suggest new phone is coming

It’s been nearly two years since the Essential PH-1 made its debut, and several months since the phone was discontinued. Today, Essential CEO Andy Rubin mysteriously replied to an old Twitter thread about a second Essential Phone, and he’s implying that a new device is incoming.

Essential Phone Stories June 5, 2019

Essential Phone gets Android Q Beta 4 barely an hour after Google Pixel

The Android Q beta was opened up to a bunch of new devices back at Google I/O, and nearly two years after its release the Essential Phone was on that list. Today, barely an hour after Google released it for Pixel devices, the Essential Phone also picked up Android Q Beta 4.

Essential Phone Stories May 7, 2019

Alongside Android Q Beta 3 today, Google announced that for the second year in a row, OEMs would be able to join in on the beta fun. Already, two of our favorite devices in the Essential Phone and OnePlus 6T have the Android Q beta available. Here’s how to get it.

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Essential Phone Stories March 4, 2019

Essential Phone adds support for Google’s Digital Wellbeing w/ March security patch, available now

Despite the fact that the device is no longer being made, Essential is keeping its promise when it comes to software updates. This afternoon, the company is just a couple of hours behind Google with its latest security patch, as well as delivering support for Digital Wellbeing on the Essential Phone.

Essential Phone Stories February 5, 2019

Essential Phone gets February security patch right on time

Everyone waxes lyrical about what the Essential Phone offers and one of those things is most definitely the rapid security and OS updates. Right on cue, the Essential Phone has also received the February security patch practically at the same time as Pixel devices.

Essential Phone Stories December 28, 2018

The past year hasn’t been kind to Essential, the startup behind 2017’s PH-1. Now, the company has confirmed to 9to5Google that the Essential Phone won’t be restocked as the company shifts its focus to future products.

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Essential Phone Stories November 13, 2018

While Essential might not be in the greatest spot right now with trouble from its founder and massive layoffs, the company has just launched a new product. Ages after its announcement, the Essential Audio Adapter HD is now available.

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Essential Phone Stories October 17, 2018

The Essential Phone found success only after various fire sales and price cuts that made the device a true bargain. It comes as the company reportedly canceled development of its second phone in May and paused its smart home product. A new report today reveals that the Andy Rubin company is cutting 30% of its staff.

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Essential Phone Stories October 10, 2018

Despite its flaws, the Essential Phone is still by far one of my favorite devices to come out of the past year or so. While previous reports claimed that Essential was done and had scrapped plans for future devices, a new report from Bloomberg claims that the company has a new device in the works, this time with a twist.

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Essential Phone Stories October 1, 2018

Essential Phone update brings back notch settings, delivers October security patch

Another month, another Essential Phone update that rivals Google’s Pixel phones. Just minutes after the security patch launched, Essential has already made it available to PH-1 owners, and it comes with a welcome treat in tow.

Essential Phone Stories September 19, 2018

Despite the rumors that a second phone is basically dead, Essential continues to put a lot of work into the PH-1. Today, fans hit the company’s latest Reddit Q&A with questions about the Essential Phone, and we’ve gathered together some of the most interesting details.

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Essential Phone Stories September 4, 2018

Essential Phone picks up September security patch and assorted bug fixes in update

Outside of Google, Essential is easily the fastest OEM when it comes to updates of any kind. Now, just a few hours after Google posted factory images for Pixel devices, the Essential Phone is picking up September’s monthly security patch.

Essential Phone Stories August 30, 2018

With the prevalence of abnormal display aspect ratios lately, Google’s YouTube app has made a point of adding a “zoom to fill” mode to select phones. Now, that functionality has extended to the Essential Phone.

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Essential Phone Stories August 20, 2018

Essential Phone notch settings may return to Android Pie

Essential Phone users, as few as there may be, were among the first to get their hands on Android Pie. One thing that was lost in the upgrade, though, was the notch setting Essential had implemented in Oreo. Now, Essential says they may soon return.

Essential Phone Stories August 16, 2018

In Android’s history, there’s really only been one place to go for steady software updates, and that’s Google’s own hardware. Whether under the Nexus or the Pixel brand, Google was the only place you could really go for reliable, quick updates to Android.

Fast forward to 2017 and Andy Rubin, the father of Android, launched the Essential Phone with the promise of timely updates, and oh boy did they deliver…

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Essential Phone Stories August 15, 2018

Android Pie started rolling out to Pixel owners and the Essential Phone last week, and in the days since there’s been a lot of feedback floating around from users, including some battery woes. Has your device been affected?

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Essential Phone Stories August 6, 2018

Android 9 Pie just went official and Google started to rollout the update to its Pixel devices. Right behind Google, though, is Andy Rubin’s Essential, which is already pushing out a final version of Pie for the PH-1.

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Essential Phone Stories August 3, 2018

Essential promotes software lead Rebecca Zavin to Chief Technology Officer

Since launch, Essential has noticeably improved the software experience of its flagship Phone, while pushing out monthly security patches and Android P Betas in line with Google. The company today promoted the vice president tasked with software engineering to Chief Technology Officer.

Essential Phone Stories July 25, 2018

Essential Phone picks up latest Android P update just an hour after Google Pixel

One of the few Android OEMs rivaling Google’s update schedule has been Essential. Now, just barely an hour after it dropped for Pixel devices, the Essential Phone is getting the latest Android P update.

Essential Phone Stories July 16, 2018

There are Android smartphones on the market today at every price point. With Prime Day though, Essential is making a massive cut on its PH-1, and it makes it the best Android phone you can buy today.

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Essential Phone Stories July 2, 2018

While Essential might not be doing too hot in sales, the company is rivaling Google for the crown when it comes to updates. Just an hour after Google, the startup is already rolling out two new updates for Essential Phone owners.

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Essential Phone Stories June 13, 2018

Essential Phone camera update improves camera roll, ‘Tiny Planet,’ etc

One of the biggest deal breakers with the Essential Phone at launch was its poor camera performance. Over the phone’s lifecycle, though, Essential has made it a point to improve that in updates. Today, yet another update is rolling out.

Essential Phone Stories June 7, 2018

The future of Essential is largely unclear right now, but the company’s latest actions wouldn’t make you think that was the case. Today, Essential is announcing new audio improvements for the PH-1, including a new module that adds a headphone jack.

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Essential Phone Stories June 6, 2018

Essential Phone is receiving the latest Android P build w/ bug fixes & June security patch

The third Android P Developer Preview started rolling out to Pixel devices today with the final APIs, SDK, and Play Store publishing. Now, not even a day later, Essential has announced that this build of Android P will be making its way to the Phone with a handful of bug fixes.

Essential Phone Stories June 1, 2018

Essential Phone gets a camera update with new UI, editing features for 360-degree photos

While its future is somewhat unclear, Essential isn’t stopping its excellent track record of providing solid updates. Today, the company is releasing a new update for its camera.

Essential Phone Stories May 30, 2018

Essential reaffirms Pixel-like update policy for PH-1 despite rumors of company sale

The Essential PH-1 was one of the devices I really wanted to love last year, but it fell flat at launch leading to massive price cuts and a lot of updates to try and fix the issues. Now, it’s a pretty solid device.

Lately, the company’s outlook has taken a turn for the worse with reports of the company being in trouble and considering sale. Despite that, though, Essential is sticking to its guns when it comes to updates.

Essential Phone Stories May 28, 2018

Essential Phone gets updated Android P Beta build w/ cellular and dark mode fixes

Google surprised us all back at I/O when it revealed that several third-party devices would support the Android P Beta program. Essential was on that list and now, the company is updating its build to squash some bugs.

Essential Phone Stories May 24, 2018

Essential, a company created by the co-founder of Android, Andy Rubin, wanted to create not only a phone but also an ecosystem that would best any smartphone manufacturer out there. Unfortunately, likely due to poor sales, a report has emerged that states the second-generation Essential Phone has been canceled and the company might be up for sale.

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Essential Phone Stories May 7, 2018

One of the biggest things I’ve been looking at with Android smartphones, especially in the past several months, is security updates. When OEMs are open about not even trying to deliver these on a monthly basis, I’ll completely write-off those devices. However, there are some shining exceptions is this sea of late updates…

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Essential Phone Stories May 4, 2018

Essential Phone camera update improves photo capture speed and burst mode

Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone wasn’t the hit many hoped it would be, but it brought a lot of good things to the table. One of those good things, however, definitely wasn’t the camera. At launch, the camera was pretty bad, but Essential has made it much better through updates, and now another update is working on capture speed.

Essential Phone Stories April 9, 2018

Essential Phone update quietly adds support for ’embracing the notch’ in full-screen apps

While basically everyone is adopting a notch in smartphone design at this point, the Essential Phone was the device that kicked off this trend last year by cutting out a spot for the front-facing camera in the nearly bezel-less design. Now, in its latest update, Essential has delivered some new options for how the software plays with that cut-out.

Essential Phone Stories April 7, 2018

As far as hardware goes, I’ve yet to find a phone I love more than the Essential Phone. Unfortunately, like for many others, its biggest deal breaker was the sub-par camera. This week, Essential admitted how poor that camera was, and made a big promise for the second-generation of the PH-1.

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Essential Phone Stories April 6, 2018

Essential Phone update brings April security patch, Bluetooth 5.0, performance gains

Essential may be a bit slow to major system updates, but the company has always been pretty quick to monthly security patches. After landing on Pixel devices earlier this week, the Essential Phone is now picking up April’s security patch.

Essential Phone Stories March 13, 2018

Android Oreo has seen minimal expansion since its debut last year, and the newer Android 8.1 has made an even smaller dent in the market. Today, though, Essential is making good on a promise and rolling out an official Android 8.1 update to the PH-1.

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Essential Phone Stories March 5, 2018

The “notch” is a controversial topic for the Android world. Some absolutely hate it, others don’t, but we’re all clear on one thing — it’s not something we necessarily want to have on our phones. At MWC 2018 this past week, Vivo showed off a device that managed to avoid a notch, but still offer the sensors one would typically hold. As it turns out, Essential was actually the first company who was working on that same idea, though…

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Essential Phone Stories March 1, 2018

During MWC 2018, we saw a growing number of Android OEMs announcement new phones that feature the “notch” popularized by the iPhone X. While the Essential Phone did have one first, it wasn’t as prominent and didn’t include as many sensors as Apple’s.

With it seeming inevitable that more companies will use a notch in future Android handsets, do you prefer the small Essential Phone notch or the larger one in the iPhone X?

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Essential Phone Stories February 21, 2018

Essential Phone owners can now join Oreo beta program w/ an OTA update

The Essential Phone still remains my favorite Android hardware to date, but the company still has a ton of work to do in the software department. Over the past few months, Oreo has been in development for the phone, and now, it’s a lot easier to try out that beta.

Essential Phone Stories February 16, 2018

While Essential hasn’t sold a ton of units with its first device, the PH-1, it’s still trying to make itself known. The most recent attempt was adding some stunning new colors. Yesterday’s reveal of those new colors brought a higher price tag along with them, but now you can get one of them cheaper through Amazon.

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Essential Phone Stories February 15, 2018

The Essential Phone is one of the best looking phones on the market today, and now it’s launching three stunning new limited edition color variants.

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Essential Phone Stories February 14, 2018

The Essential Phone had a lot of hype surrounding it. But at launch, there were several reasons it turned out disappointing. Now, after a failed Oreo upgrade, Essential is releasing the first beta for Android 8.1 Oreo.

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