Essential PH-1 Pros & Cons Review

Picture of the Essential PH-1, by Essential

- Analysis by Christelle Nina


First impressions matter -- and Essential probably had this in mind when designing the PH-1. At first glance, its 5.71-inch edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass 5 display stands out . In spite of the surge in popularity of displays like this among 2017's premium releases, this smartphone takes it to another level. This is because the top bezel has completely been eliminated -- whereas in similar models like the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, a thin sliver of space has been preserved at the top for the sake of the selfie camera, earpiece, and a couple of sensors.

If you think about it, however, this total wipe-out of the top bezel has led to an awkward "island" (for the placement of the front shooter) at the top-center part of the display . How the phone will manage this issue during crucial moments like full-screen video-streaming and gaming is still up for speculation, but the fact that the Essential PH-1 will have an unnaturally-tall status bar is already a given. Placement issues aside, the PH-1's display specs are quite intriguing. Its size brings a relatively-rare display aspect ratio of 19:10. In terms of the 2560 x 1312 resolution , it's a promising device. But due to the large display, its dots-per-inch count is lower than almost all of the early 2017 flagships except for the iPhone 7 Plus , but only marginally and perhaps imperceptibly.

Imaging-wise, its cameras' resolutions don't go far from what we usually see on premium-class phones. Its 13-megapixel main camera comes with dual sensors -- one for RGB shooting and another for monochrome capturing . Its 8-megapixel selfie camera isn't as impressive as many recent releases from even the mid-range markets, but just like its rear-facing counterpart, it can record 4k videos at 30fps .

At 185 grams and 7.8mm, this phone is also among the heavier and thicker models in its subcategory -- slightly surprising since its 3040mAh battery is comparatively-small .

Moving on to its last few pros and cons, another possible source of grievance is Essential's decision to take this phablet down the iPhone route, memory-wise. The lack of memory-expansion options can be a turn-off, but it does originally come with a large 128GB local memory .

The Essential PH-1 has earned some bragging rights in the performance department due to its 2.45GHz maximum clock speed . Its 4GB RAM , however, may leave some potential users wishing for more -- considering that the Huawei P10 Plus already offers 6GB in this arena.

To cap off this pros and cons list, we mention its unique ceramic-and-titanium build . Deviating from the aluminum-and-glass trend, Essential claims that this new approach to design gives their smartphone more durability. Of course, this remains to be proven once the units actually start rolling out -- but the sophistication that these materials imply, in combination with the fast processor and intriguing display, ensures that the Essential PH-1 is bound to turn some heads.

** This phone is also known as: Essential Phone PH-1


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