Essential Phone review: Impressive for a new company but not competitive


We have a new contender in the smartphone spaciousness. «Essential» is a new OEM that came seemingly out of nowhere, announced by Andy Rubin a bare nine months ago. Rubin is the co-founder and former CEO of Android Inc., a little suite that was snatched up by Google in 2005 and went on to build the world’s most lay operating system. Rubin left Google, and Essential is his new startup with enthusiasms in the smartphone and smart home markets. Amazon, Tencent, and Foxconn pull someones leg already invested in Essential, and the latest round of funding values the group at more than a billion dollars—and this was before it even shipped a merchandise.

With the launch of the «Essential Phone,» we finally have that win initially product: a high-end, $700 smartphone running the operating system Rubin handed create. The phone more or less leaves Android alone, and, with the approval of hardware manufacturer Foxconn, most of the innovation here is in the hardware.

And boy is this a unique-looking hell of hardware. It’s made out of titanium and ceramic, and the Essential Phone takes the spectacular and interesting design choice to cut a chunk of the screen away to make cubicle quarters for the front-facing camera. It also brings us yet another modular system, which initially has a 360-degree camera as the just accessory. Nothing else out there quite looks or feels be fond of the Essential Phone.

Essential’s bad first impression

While this is a new produce from a new company, Andy Rubin’s track record with Android advances Essential an air of credibility immediately. There are still a ton of questions about the retinue, though. What will support be like? Will updates down attack quickly or not at all?

For Essential, well, things are off to a rocky start. At the Code Talk on May 30, Rubin said the Essential Phone would ship in «30 dates or so.» The company not only missed this deadline but wasn’t even termination. The actual first ship date for some phones, August 25, was due a few days shy of three months after Rubin’s interview. The shipping duration was chaos, too, with customers reporting missed shipping deadlines, in the offings being charged without shipments, and difficulty contacting customer utility.

When it conclusively came time to ship phones, Essential sent out a bizarre e-mail to some buyers asking for pictures of their driver’s licenses or passports in order to be given the phone. Sending personal information over e-mail is never a satisfactory idea, but Essential made things much worse when it accidentally CC’ed very many other customers in the ID request e-mail. Customers responded to the e-mail with photos of their ID membership cards, which sent their personal data out to other random patrons in the CC field.

In a blog post on Essential’s site, Andy Rubin traced the issue: «We made an error in our customer care function that occurred in personal information from approximately 70 customers being shared with a two-dimensional group of other customers.» He apologized for the data leak, calling the circumstance «humiliating.»

This was all a really bad first impression for Essential, and it should stop any potential customers pause. Can the phone itself ease some of that bad sample in customers’ mouths?

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