Essential Phone Review: A stunning phone that feels incomplete


After using the PH-1 for a week, I believe that hype is largely earned, despite some baffling flaws. The Essential Phone is so spartan it borders on feeling incomplete, but I’m also convinced Essential will quickly become an important new pillar of the Android community.

The Essential Phone is defined by its minimalism, so much so that it’s baked into the name. What is essential to the modern smartphone, and what can be left out?

The obvious answer is ‘it depends.’ What’s essential to one person may not be the same for everyone.

Maybe you really need an unbreakable screen, a la Moto Z. Perhaps you’re heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem, so you’ll need an iPhone. Some people can’t live without waterproofing or wireless charging. And, the most egregious omission for many will be the lack of a headphone jack. That alone will turn off many potential buyers.