The Essential PH-1 has gotten a lot of bad press about its camera. Most of it was well deserved, especially early on.
But Essential has been working hard to improve the experience. They updated the camera app 11 times in the first 5 months.
It will take new hardware in the (not going to happen) PH-2 to resolve completely but the current software has smoothed out the rough edges.
The release at the end of November 2017 added a portrait mode.
I noticed the setting recently and have played with it.
I took these photos without playing with any of the adjustments.
Click on either photo to see higher resolution versions.
It worked just as well on an actual portrait photo.