The first Essential Phone was a good device, and everything that the first wave of Android phone enthusiasts could have wanted. But by the time the Essential company and the PH-1 existed, the general public had moved beyond their initial any-new-Android frenzy. Now we’re in an era where the most fad-friendly phone is king, and only king for a half-cycle. Essential’s first phone release is an attempt to check all the boxes for innovation but remain bare-bones at the same time. Therein lies the Essential struggle.
Our first review of this device was cut short by what we perceived as not-quite-ready software. The software, especially the camera software, just wasn’t at a place where we’d call it complete: it was clear the phone was still a huge work in progress. Several months later, though, and with many updates under the Essential Phone’s belt, we’re ready to pass judgement.
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