The Essential Phone, Essential Home, Essential Camera… essentially.

Andy Rubin, co-founder of the Android operating system, and more recently overseer of Boston Dynamic’s robotic efforts has returned to his Android roots to create a new phone-centered ecosystem of gadgets from his new company Essential. Make note of that name, you’ll be hearing it a lot – seriously, a lot.

The new phone is the Essential PH-1 (because I assume, if it were the PH-0 you’d be thinking of noodle soup instead of a phone).  It’s definitely in line with 2017’s other flagship phones. The LG G6, Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus and the upcoming iPhone 8. Minimal bezels, sleek industrial design, fast processors, loads of memory/storage, fewer hardware buttons, heightened security features and big screens!

The screen itself is 5.71″ and has a bite taken out of the upper center of it to allow the front camera and sensors through. To make this less intrusive, the status bar has been enlarged so that this bite isn’t obscuring anything needed. However, it does mean that apps that allow the status bar to move off screen to provide a full-screen display – probably shouldn’t bother to do that on this phone. The bezels are very thin. Reminding me of the Sharp Aquos.

The rear of the phone has a matched pair of POGO pins with magnetic connections for use with add-on modules and the recharging dock (which uses the pins instead of wirelessly recharging). You’ll also find two cameras and a LED flash.

The phone’s frame and edges are titanium – to provide stronger protection against drops, but oddly enough, the phone isn’t waterproof. A strange omission in a 2017 flagship device.

It’s all running the latest Android Nougat release 7.1.1 and based on what little we’ve seen it appears to have some minor enhancements at most so, hopefully, it can more easily update to new Android OS releases.  There’s a strong focus on encryption and security features as well.


Essential PH-1 Specifications

Materials – Titanium body, Ceramic back, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 cover glass


  • Height: 141.5mm
  • Width: 71.1mm
  • Thickness: 7.8mm
  • Weight: < 185 grams


  • Resolution: 2560 x 1312 QHD
  • Aspect Ratio: 19:10
  • Diagonal Size: 5.71” with radiused corners
  • Brightness: 500 nits (typical)
  • Contrast Ratio: > 1:1000 (typical)
  • Technology: CGS / LTPS

Human Input + Sensors

  • 10 finger multitouch; palm and water-error rejection
  • Fingerprint reader: fastest available technology
  • Proximity / Ambient light sensor
  • Volume buttons, Power button
  • Environmental pressure sensor (barometer)
  • Accelerometer, Magnetometer and Gyroscope


  • Microphone: 4x microphones with noise cancellation and beam forming
  • Low Audio (earpiece)
  • High Audio: (loudspeaker)

Rear Camera

  • 13MP Dual RGB + Mono camera with image fusion technology
  • 13MP True Monochrome mode
  • f/1.85 lens
  • Hybrid Auto Focus combing Contrast, Phase Detect and IR Laser Assist Focus
  • Video at 4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps or 720p 120fps

Front Camera

  • 8MP resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio
  • f/2.20 fixed hyperfocal lens
  • Video at 4K 30fps, 1080p 60fps or 720p 120fps


  • 3040mAh.
  • Fast charging via USB

Memory & Storage

  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB UFS 2.1


  • Bluetooth: 5.0 LE
  • WiFi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO
  • NFC: yes
  • Positioning: GPS and GLONASS

Network / Bands

  • UMTS/HSPA+: 1, 2, 4, 5 6, 8
  • GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A: 0, 1, 10
  • FDD-LTE: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 20, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 66
  • TDD-LTE: 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43
  • TD-SCDMA: 34, 39

System Architecture / OS – Android

Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835

  • CPU: Kryo 280 Octa-core (2.45GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10nm processor
  • GPU: Adreno 540, 710MHz, 64bit


  • USB Type-C
  • 60GHz, 6 Gbps Wireless Accessory Connector
  • 2x accessory power pins
  • NanoSIM tray with pin eject


Essential Camera

Essential boasts that this is the smallest 360-degree camera available. Based on the supplied specs it is certainly the smallest we’ve seen so far.  However, it’s resolution looks to be lower than the 4k resolution of its competitor the Samsung Gear 360 (2017).

If you’re pre-ordering, you can also add in the 360-degree camera module for only $50. If you’re going to get this phone, you should definitely spring for this camera. Small, powerful, and easy to quickly attach to the PH-1.



  • Height: < 67mm
  • Width: < 32mm
  • Thickness: < 12 mm (body)
  • Weight: < 35grams


  • Microphone: 4x microphones in 3D, ambisonic tetrahedral arrangement

Dual Cameras:

  • Sensor Resolution: Dual 12MP fisheye imagers
  • Lens aperture: f1.8
  • FOV: 210° (each)
  • Video Resolutions: 360° UHD (3840 x 1920) at 30fps


  • 60GHz Wireless, SuperSpeed USB
  • 2x accessory power pins

System Architecture / OS

  • Qualcomm® 8053


Essential Home

Powered by Ambient OS (which I’m going to guess is probably an Android variant) this is promising to be a new competitor to Android Home and Amazon Echo. It features a round display and promises to work with the other. The text on this hints that it will automatically discover other Smarthome devices and configure itself to work with them. Hopefully, this is also suggesting that it might work with Google Home and Amazon Echo and become a bridge between all these products.

Not much else is known about this at this time but in reviewing the renders I hope that it might also be wall-mountable.