The Essential Phone, brought to us by the person who created Android, is finally ready for the spotlight. It’s an incredibly audacious and ambitious project, with an outlandish screen and the beginnings of a modular ecosystem.
First, the Android phone basics: the Essential Phone costs $699 with top-of-the-line specs and features. As you can see above, it prominently features an edge-to-edge display that one-ups even the Samsung Galaxy S8 by bringing it all the way to the the top of the phone, wrapping around the front-facing selfie camera.
It’s a unique take on a big screen that makes the phone stand out — and it’s smart, too. Often, the status bar at the top of an Android phone doesn’t fill that middle space with icons, so it’s efficient. The screen does leave some bezel at the bottom of the phone, but nevertheless it’s as close to the whole front of a phone being display as I’ve seen.
Essential is launching the phone in the US to start, and it’s filled the phone with radios that should make it work on all major carriers, alongside usual Android flagship internals like a Qualcomm 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. And because Essential seems to be hanging its hat on the idea of shipping phones without extraneous junk (the designers don’t even put a logo on the exterior), chances seem good that there won’t be a ton of extraneous software laded on to slow the phone down.
Essential is clearly planning on releasing a very well-made phone: the screen looks promising, it has no annoying logos, and it is built with a combination of titanium and ceramic so it can survive a drop test “without blemish, unlike the aluminum competitor devices.” (Those would be Samsung and Apple, if you’re wondering.)