Essential Phone PH-1 - Initial Impression and misc info


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+Eternal Tempest

This is my initial impression of the Essential Phone. 

This is not a full review of the phone.

 

Appearance / Build

Beautiful appearance / shiny ceramic & fingerprint magnet.

Fingerprint sensor is great location on the back / middle.

This phone, is very slippery on smooth surfaces.

 

Widows Peak / Camera Hump

Cleverly implemented

If an app has been designed to recognize essential phone (which gets added to an internal white list via an app update in Play Store) you will see the camera bump in the app, but it will not interfere with the app.

You can spot these apps where it's a white circle with the app icon inside.  

Apps that don't recognize the essential phone, it creates artificial black bevel and app appears normal. 

 

Launcher

Similar to Google Pixel launcher (Swipe up for apps)

 

Andriod

Running 7.1.1 w/ September Update (as of this post)

Boot loader can be unlocked.

They have released the kernel source code, and wifi driver.

 

USB-C to Headphone Adapter

Only certain ones will work, it has to have a DAC in it.

I've experienced a firmware update on the adapter when plugging it in to the phone. 

Not tested the adapter / sound quality. 

 

Resources for essential owners

https://www.reddit.com/r/essential/

Essential also does a by-weekly reddit ama

 

Interested in buying one, things to look for

The speaker grill at the top could be a cloth (early) or metal (latter). 

Essential is taking RMA's if the cloth is missing. 

Cases... are hard to find, it's emerging that the Essential Phone PH-1 Case, TUDIA is one of the better ones.

 

Future

The factor images will be released.

Andriod 8 public beta is probably within next two months.

 

Anyone have any questions I may be able to answer?

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PGHammer
On 10/23/2017 at 10:15 AM, Eternal Tempest said:

This is my initial impression of the Essential Phone. 

This is not a full review of the phone.

 

Appearance / Build

Beautiful appearance / shiny ceramic & fingerprint magnet.

Fingerprint sensor is great location on the back / middle.

This phone, is very slippery on smooth surfaces.

 

Widows Peak / Camera Hump

Cleverly implemented

If an app has been designed to recognize essential phone (which gets added to an internal white list via an app update in Play Store) you will see the camera bump in the app, but it will not interfere with the app.

You can spot these apps where it's a white circle with the app icon inside.  

Apps that don't recognize the essential phone, it creates artificial black bevel and app appears normal. 

 

Launcher

Similar to Google Pixel launcher (Swipe up for apps)

 

Andriod

Running 7.1.1 w/ September Update (as of this post)

Boot loader can be unlocked.

They have released the kernel source code, and wifi driver.

 

USB-C to Headphone Adapter

Only certain ones will work, it has to have a DAC in it.

I've experienced a firmware update on the adapter when plugging it in to the phone. 

Not tested the adapter / sound quality. 

 

Resources for essential owners

https://www.reddit.com/r/essential/

Essential also does a by-weekly reddit ama

 

Interested in buying one, things to look for

The speaker grill at the top could be a cloth (early) or metal (latter). 

Essential is taking RMA's if the cloth is missing. 

Cases... are hard to find, it's emerging that the Essential Phone PH-1 Case, TUDIA is one of the better ones.

 

Future

The factor images will be released.

Andriod 8 public beta is probably within next two months.

 

Anyone have any questions I may be able to answer?

The question I have is specifically an issue for those of us in the United States - is it truly *universal* - like the Galaxy S7 (which can be taken to any carrier via firmware swap), or is it GSM-only?

(Despite the Galaxy S7 having a locked bootloader (Snapdragon), you can do firmware swaps (my own S7 is running T-Mobile firmware, and was originally a VZW phone - therefore, it is something that a user CAN do).

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+Eternal Tempest

As long as the one you pick up is carrier unlocked,  yes,

It's supports CDMA & GSM, 

 

They have also released the andriod factory builds, and beta of Oreo (8.0)

https://www.essential.com/developer/current-builds

 

See the attached screenshots.

 

Screenshot_20171128-165813.png

Screenshot_20171128-165818.png

Edited by Eternal Tempest
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PGHammer
On 11/28/2017 at 4:56 PM, Eternal Tempest said:

As long as the one you pick up is carrier unlocked,  yes,

It's supports CDMA & GSM, 

 

They have also released the andriod factory builds, and beta of Oreo (8.0)

https://www.essential.com/developer/current-builds

 

See the attached screenshots.

 

Screenshot_20171128-165813.png

Screenshot_20171128-165818.png

Thanx muchly - I'm looking at the Essential as an alternative to the S series (especially S7 and later) for both other users as well as myself - that locked bootloader decidedly biteth.  While I LOVE the idea of a universal SoC (which - as I pointed out - the S7's Snapdragon definitely is), why should I ALSO be sentenced to bootloader jail if avoidable (and the Essential PH-1 proves that it IS avoidable)?  And considering that the PH1 has the Snapdragon 835 (close cousin to the Snapdragon SoC on both the S7 and S8) and uses the same nano-SIMs (which means that you can DIRECTLY migrate from either) AND it has more default storage (128 GB) than either (but the same amount of memory (4 GB) and it's $499USD (either direct from Essential OR from Sprint (though it would certainly strike me as hi-larious buying a phone from the most likely Sprint Store (Clinton or Reston) to hang on T-Mobile's network - remember; my S7 is on T-Mo's network).

 

That, of course, leads to the following question - would the Sprint Store quibble that I would NOT be looking to hang the phone on their network while I'm in the store?  (Sprint currently wants $200USD more than Essential for a full-purchase-price phone, so buying direct makes more sense; this is list vs. list - despite Essential listing the lower price on their page if you order from Sprint vs. Sprint's own price for the same phone - worse, Sprint is not due to get stock until 12/15).

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