Android Creator Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone Looks Stunning and Will Cost $699

Megalith

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The father of Android, Andy Rubin, has returned with the “Essential Phone”: for $699, you get a futuristic-looking handset headlined by a 5.7-inch QHD edge-to-edge display that pretty much takes up the entire front. Specs include a Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, and a 3040mAh battery with fast charge. The official page can be found here for additional details and pre-orders. I think the phone looks great, but they might have blown it with the front camera placement.

After months of teases and speculation, Android creator Andy Rubin has unveiled the first smartphone by his new company, Essential. As expected, it's designed to be a no-compromise device with top-of-the-line specs and sophisticated industrial design. Taking center stage is an edge-to-edge display that rises to the top of the phone, stopping only for the front-facing camera in the middle. The device is made of titanium and ceramic, which the company claims will trump most aluminum phones in the durability department. It's a sleek look complimented by a complete lack of logos.
 

Tiberian

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This is just so... uninspiring and boring, my god, what the fuck. I won't go so far as to say it's dead outta the gate but I cannot see this being a big thing, or even making a dent, nor perhaps even the company being around 18-24 months from this moment but I guess we'll see what happens.
 

Paladin21

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No headphones...ok, I guess. Watching videos with a chunk missing for the weird camera...eh? Proprietary expansion standards...nope. Too many odd decisions in this one for me. Combined with zero information on software/security updates and no actual shipping date, it's a pass for me.
 

Kueller

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Fast charge and a non-serviceable battery? So it'll be toast in 12 months. Not shelling out $700 for a disposable phone. Batteries are a wear item, I wouldn't buy a car with non-serviceable tires, and I won't buy a phone with a non-serviceable battery.
 

Vermillion

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I think it's a beautiful device. My issue is solely the price. I don't care about the battery being non-removable or no headphone jack (at least they use USB-C unlike Apple). But $700 for a device that won't be in carrier stores and has no promises about updates is outrageous.

The crazy little bump in the top of the screen for the camera means special drivers and framework modification because you can't have notifications being cut off by that hump or hidden by the hump.

That means it's not fully AOSP which means updates are typically harder and will take longer. So with no monthly update promise or anything it simply isn't worth getting.
 

J-Will

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I think I'll wait for 2nd gen.

I do like the integration of a modular accessory connection. And the OS better be rock solid. But right now, I can wait to see if they flop or put out another phone to build on their successes
 

scojer

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I've a better solution for the front facing camera: Put the USB-C plug on the top and have a plug-in camera So there is no chunk missing from the screen.
I'm not a selfie guy so I think front facing cameras are useless anyways. I could do without.
 

burton14e7

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No headphones...ok, I guess. Watching videos with a chunk missing for the weird camera...eh? Proprietary expansion standards...nope. Too many odd decisions in this one for me. Combined with zero information on software/security updates and no actual shipping date, it's a pass for me.
Couldn't have said it better.
 

Croak

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Let me pre-list the butthurt:

"OMG bottom chin"
"OMG FFC placement"
"OMG no headphone jack"
"OMG sealed battery"
"OMG no MicroSD card slot"

EDIT: And while I went to get the mail before posting this, the lamentations beat me to the punch.
 

grtitan

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That means it's not fully AOSP which means updates are typically harder and will take longer. So with no monthly update promise or anything it simply isn't worth getting.
Thats a show stopper for me also.
 

Croak

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I kinda doubt that the relatively simple framework mods needed to bifurcate the status bar will slow down updates much, and I doubt it'll slow down modders much either. Hell, not even Google-branded devices are AOSP these days.
 

Mut1ny

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Fast charge and a non-serviceable battery? So it'll be toast in 12 months. Not shelling out $700 for a disposable phone. Batteries are a wear item, I wouldn't buy a car with non-serviceable tires, and I won't buy a phone with a non-serviceable battery.
You could have just used "car battery" as you car comparison example instead of tires. Would be more fitting given the circumstances.
 

geok1ng

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it is offensive to charge $700 for a smartphone with a tiny 3000mAh battery.
my favorite Androids are the Moto X force/ moto Z force, AKA Droid Turbo, thanks to great glass resistance and the galaxy active line, with military grade hardware protection.
People are insane to spend this kind of money of such fragile phones.
 

yyv_146

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At this point I'm okay with a phone without a jack. But I'd buy a stand-alone music player before I go down the dongle route.

That front camera is just...weird. and it makes the top 5% of the screen useless for anything other than the notification bar. How do movies play on that by default?

I think that this is an intriguing device and if anyone knows smartphones, Andy Rubin certainly does. It would be great if the Pixel 2 took a few pointers from this phone's design and lack of branding.
 

rgMekanic

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After having my Oneplus 3t for a while, my only complaint is the screen is a little big. Awesome for watching movies or playing games sure, but for day to day use, I wish the screen was 4.7 or 5"
 
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I like it. I especially like the titanium case. I am always fussing about how fragile phones are built now. I am still using my S5 because it is still chugging along but the battery is starting to get weak. I am probably going to purchase another battery for it. If this phone comes out and I can get my hands on it to test (not order site unseen), it may be a replacement for me.
 

yyv_146

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I like it. I especially like the titanium case. I am always fussing about how fragile phones are built now. I am still using my S5 because it is still chugging along but the battery is starting to get weak. I am probably going to purchase another battery for it. If this phone comes out and I can get my hands on it to test (not order site unseen), it may be a replacement for me.
The back is ceramic which is essentially unscratchable but even more brittle than glass. Unless you have a case on, it'll literally shatter on the first drop.
 
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I just realized that it does not state anything about being water proof. I use my phone out on the boat and in the weather. May not be a replacement after all.
 

jnmunsey

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I like it. I especially like the titanium case. I am always fussing about how fragile phones are built now. I am still using my S5 because it is still chugging along but the battery is starting to get weak. I am probably going to purchase another battery for it. If this phone comes out and I can get my hands on it to test (not order site unseen), it may be a replacement for me.
Why do you not have multiple batteries already for the S5? I have three and a separate charger. I carry an extra with me all the time. When my battery dies I swap it for a fresh one in under ten seconds. I almost never have to worry about recharging.
 
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Why do you not have multiple batteries already for the S5? I have three and a separate charger. I carry an extra with me all the time. When my battery dies I swap it for a fresh one in under ten seconds. I almost never have to worry about recharging.
Because I do not want to carry an extra battery around with me all the time. Another battery would be just one more tool that I have to lug around either in the shop, in the woods, or on the water.
When the S5 was charging properly, it would last me all day without a problem. So a backup battery in most cases is not an issue. The only time that is of use to me is when I go backpacking, and I have portable chargers for that.
 

Iching

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I looks like iPhone 5s/SE on roids. Not so essential with a price tag of $699. I'm not going back to Android OS.
 

kinjo

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And people will buy it and stuff it in an otterbox so all the beauty go's to waste.
 

tazeat

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It looks like a damn iPhone. Not really all that interested. No headphone, stupid camera location, edge screen, etc. I would hope they at least nail the software w/ vanilla android and updates at the same cadence as the Nexus devices. One thing OnePlus still can't figure out how to do.
 

Viper87227

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It's a nice looking device, but that front facing camera would bother me. They should have moved it to the bottom bezel, or made it so that bottom bezel was on top instead. The way it is just seems intrusive. The snap on accessories thing seems cool, but I find it ironic the way they chose to advertise it. They talk about how it sucks to get proprietary accessories with your phone, which is exactly what this is. Unless they are going to try to get some new standard adopted industry wise, that's exactly what you have here. Even if they plan to stick around phone after phone, you're still stuck with accessories that are married to this brand. Which means you'll never see wide-spread adoption or third party support. This aspect of the phone is a guaranteed flop.

The biggest aspect of interest is the titanium body. More and more phones are sacrificing durability for the sake of style. I have an S8+, and while I think it looks beautiful, I'm terrified of sending my $850 phone to an early grave. Putting on a bulky case works but kills the aesthetics. I'd have been just as happy with a less attractive phone that didn't need a thick, rubbery case to protect it properly.

The rest of it, I can take or leave. Don't care too much about the headphone jack. I mean, I'd prefer to have it, but the reality is it probably wouldn't affect me. Don't care about the 4GB of ram. The price is high, too high. It's in Galaxy territory price-wise, but trying to sell with the OnePlus mentality. You can't have both... OnePlus works because it's significantly less expensive. Making it available through carriers may have worked, but relying solely on online sales, this device just won't see any serious adoption. It seems like they have some decent ideas, let's hope they learn a lot for round two.
 

Parja

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The back is ceramic which is essentially unscratchable but even more brittle than glass. Unless you have a case on, it'll literally shatter on the first drop.
Depends on what kind of ceramic they're talking about. "Ceramic" is a term that applies to a wide variety of oxide/nitride/carbide materials. I'm guessing they're not using a "more briggle than glass" one.
 
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