I've done it again. I just bought an Essential PH-1. In late 2017 it was estimated that only about 50,000 had been sold. That makes the BlackBerry PRIV look like a runaway success at about 600,000 sold.
Essential was founded by Andy Rubin, the inventor of Android.
It's a gorgeous phone closely resembling the iPhone X in appearance and size.
Here's how it compares to my iPhone 6s.
|Apple iPhone 6s||Essential iPhone|
|Device type||Smart phone||Smart phone|
|OS||iOS (10.x, 9.x)||Android (7.1)|
|Dimensions||5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches (138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm)||5.57 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches (141.5 x 71.1 x 7.8 mm)|
|Weight||5.04 oz (143 g)||6.53 oz (185 g)|
|Materials||Main body: Aluminum||Main body: Ceramic; Accents: Titanium|
|Features||Fingerprint (touch)||Fingerprint (touch)|
|Physical size||4.7 inches||5.7 inches|
|Resolution||750 x 1334 pixels||1312 x 2560 pixels|
|Pixel density||326 ppi||504 ppi|
|Technology||IPS LCD||IPS LCD|
|Screen-to-body ratio||65.71 %||84.85 %|
|Colors||16 777 216||16 777 216|
|Features||Pressure-sensitive, Oleophobic coating, Scratch-resistant glass, Light sensor, Proximity sensor||Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 5), Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor|
|Camera||12 megapixels||13 megapixels|
|Focal length (35mm equivalent)||29 mm|
|Camera sensor size||1/3"|
|Sapphire crystal lens cover, Autofocus, Back-illuminated sensor (BSI)||Dual-camera (13-megapixel), Autofocus (Laser, Phase detection)|
|Touch to focus, Face detection, Self-timer, Geo tagging||Touch to focus, Face detection, Self-timer, Digital zoom, Geo tagging|
|Camcorder||3840x2160 (4K) (30 fps), 1920x1080 (1080p HD) (120 fps), 1280x720 (720p HD) (240 fps)||3840x2160 (4K) (30 fps), 1920x1080 (1080p HD) (60 fps), 1280x720 (720p HD) (120 fps)|
|Features||Time-lapse video, Continuous autofocus, Digital image stabilization, Video calling, Video sharing||Video calling, Video sharing|
|Front-facing camera||5 megapixels||8 megapixels|
|System chip||Apple A9 APL0898||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 MSM8998|
|Processor||Dual-core, 1840 MHz, Twister, 64-bit||Octa-core, 2450 MHz, Kryo 280, 64-bit, 10 nm|
|Graphics processor||PowerVR GT7600||Adreno 540|
|System memory||2048 MB RAM||4096 MB RAM|
|Built-in storage||64 GB||128 GB|
|Maximum User Storage|
|Talk time||14.00 hours|
|Stand-by time||10.0 days (240 hours)|
|Capacity||1715 mAh||3040 mAh|
|Not user replaceable||Yes||Yes|
|Filter by||Album, Artist, Genre, Playlists||Album, Artist, Genre, Playlists|
|Features||Album art cover, Background playback||Album art cover, Background playback|
|Speakers||Earpiece, Loudspeaker||Earpiece, Loudspeaker|
|Built-in online services support||YouTube (upload), Picasa/Google+||YouTube (upload), Picasa/Google+|
|CDMA||800, 1700/2100, 1900 MHz||800, 1900 MH|
|GSM||850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz||850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz|
|UMTS||850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz||850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz|
|FDD LTE||Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29||Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30|
|Data||LTE-A Cat 6 (300/50 Mbit/s), HSPA, HSUPA||LTE-A Pro Cat 16 (1000/150 Mbit/s)|
|Positioning||GPS, A-GPS, Glonass, Galileo, Cell ID, Wi-Fi positioning||GPS, A-GPS, Glonass|
|Navigation||Turn-by-turn navigation, Voice navigation||Turn-by-turn navigation, Voice navigation|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, dual-band||802.11 a, b, g, n, ac, dual-band|
|Connector||Proprietary||USB Type-C (reversible)|
|Features||USB charging||USB charging|
|Other||NFC, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA sync||NFC, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA sync|
|Notifications||Service lights, Haptic feedback, Music ringtones (MP3), Polyphonic ringtones, Vibration, Flight mode, Silent mode, Speakerphone||Service lights, Haptic feedback|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass||Accelerometer, Compass, Gesture|
|Hearing aid compatibility||M3, T4|
|Other||Voice dialing, Voice commands, Voice recording, TTY/TDD||Voice dialing, Voice commands, Voice recording|
|Officially announced||09 Sep 2015||30 May 2017|
|FCC Approval||09 Sep 2015||26 Jun 2017|
The day after I got it it updated to Oreo 8.1.
Then I sold it within a week.
I searched for a spring-clip belt holster without finding one. I know that is only slightly less geeky than a pocket protector but it is what I'm used to.
My bank's debit card doesn't support Google Pay. Apple Pay is supported.
The PH-1 has a weak vibration motor like the OnePlus One.
I tried to use Dropbox to move pictures from the PH-1 to my PC. Most of the pictures I was saving were being texted to me so they were in Android Messages. Messages saves them in Photos / Messages and Dropbox wouldn't look there for the Camera Uploads process.
I like the physical muting switch on the iPhone. Android has a complicated "Do not disturb" process that involves stared contacts, downtime and priorities. I just want it to not make any sounds but to still vibrate.
The fingerprint reader on the Essential is so much better than the iPhone 6s. It's in a natural place and reads quick.
Both of my Bluetooth ear buds misbehaved on the PH-1. They tended to switch the audio between ears occasionally and then switch right back. It wasn't continuous and wasn't very frequent.
The PH-1 uses USB C for charging and earphones. I had to buy USB A to USB C cables. While this was a short term hassle, long term it is clearly the direction.
Android is not nearly as aggressive as iOS at throttling apps running in the background. Even after Oreo 8.1 GasBuddy used 10% of my battery capacity on the PH-1 and I had NEVER launched it. The flip side of this is that iOS doesn't give Google Maps' location services frequent GPS updates. This makes my Google Maps Timeline have poor resolution (more on this later). Similarly Google Maps often opens with the wrong location on the iPhone.
Android Oreo 8.1 is really improving battery life (after I uninstalled GasBuddy). Admittedly my sample is very small but the mAh/hour for the PH-1 on Oreo 8.1 was 68.5 compared to 52.8 for the iPhone 6s for the last 5 weekdays I tracked. There are more details here.
I can't believe I gave up a flagship Android for a 2 year old iPhone but I did.