There's a new smartphone on the block, and it's called the Essential Phone (technically the Essential PH- 1). It's the brainchild of Andy Rubin, is available for preorder now, and will reportedly be unlocked and available for use across all networks. The phone starts at $699.
The Essential Phone features a fingerprint scanner and a high-resolution, 5.7-inch screen (2560 x 1312 pixels), like other smartphones in its price range (the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 sports a 2960 x 1440 display). The phone's front display also features very narrow bezels, essentially giving you maximum screen real estate to work. The other internal specifications (4GB RAM, 128GB of storage, Qualcomm 835 CPU, etc.) look consistent with what you'd find on other high-end smartphones from Samsung, Apple and Google.
There are a few differentiators when it comes to the Essential PH-1 that might make it particularly business friendly. It is quite possibly the sturdiest smartphone ever designed – at least, that's what the team from Essential asserts. Rather than having an aluminum chassis, like most smartphones, the PH-1 has a titanium and ceramic body and a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen cover. Essential, the new company behind the phone, claims the sturdiness of its new phone eradicates any need for a protective case, but we'll have to wait for some hands-on testing to confirm that.
No software details have been released yet, beyond that this phone will run Android. So, we don't know if it will come with a ton of bloatware preloaded. But it should work on every carrier. It should be noted that there is no headphone jack.
It features a 4K-capable front camera and a 13-megapixel rear camera. And the outside of the phone looks pretty sleek.
The key to Essential's plan for success is building an ecosystem of accessories. The company already unveiled its take on an AI home assistant called Essential Home, which looks much nicer (based on the company's renderings) than the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices and claims to offer better privacy, thanks to its non-cloud storage options.
The other add-on from Essential is a small, 360-degree camera (available with the phone for $50, for a limited time; it's normally $199 sold separately) that attaches to the phone for easy shooting and sharing. There's also an Essential Phone dock on the horizon, which promises to dock via magnetic connector for easy charging, but it's not available yet.
The bottom line
The Essential Phone is a sleek-looking smartphone, but if you're not excited by the absence of a logo (something the company is extremely proud of) or the potential add-on accessories, you can probably stick to the phone you have without missing out on any cutting-edge business features.