Science and Tech
The Essential Phone
By Liyo Kikon
There is a wide variety of phones in the market today and almost all of them claim to have a better feature than their competitor, while it can sometime feel like the features are all that matter in a smartphone and most companies tend to get lost in the ever evolving world of features and unnecessary gimmicks, the essential phone has taken a slightly different approach.
The creator of Android – Andy Rubin is the brainchild behind the Essential Phone and it has been grabbing the tech headlines mainly because of him as people were wondering what the father of Android was going to bring to the table and sure enough, it did not disappoint. The Essential Phone is literally what the name implies, it has the bare necessities of a mobile device in a beautiful minimalistic ceramic and titanium shell and boasting a 5.7 inch bezel-less display with an aspect ratio of 19:10 and a resolution of 2560×1312 pixels, the phone looks absolutely gorgeous and obviously, the first thing which people notice about the display is the front camera which looks unusual since it is placed atop the display in a cutout, but when you really think about it, that area is always reserved for the notification bar and the camera section does not affect the usage at all. The display is bigger than the iPhone 7 Plus and the Google Pixel XL, but the size of the phone is smaller than both the devices and that makes it easy for anyone to grip. Although there has been some concern regarding the fact that it uses LCD instead of OLED, it won’t be a deal breaker for most people unless you want to use VR headsets but lets face facts, VR headsets still have some ways to go before they become truly useful. And because of the use of LCD, there is a bit of a “chin” at the bottom of the device unlike the Galaxy S8 or the LG G6, which has a display covering the entire screen. The display on the Essential Phone has great viewing angles but it can be a bit difficult to view it in direct sunlight.
The phone also sports a dual camera setup on the back with one lens taking color and the other one being monochrome and the idea behind this is that the phone will combine these two images to give you a single clear image and this method is said to perform very well in low light conditions. The camera on the back has a 13 megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/1.85 along with a Phase detect and IR Laser Assist Focus while the front selfie camera has 8 megapixel, which is more than enough for most users. The phone comes in a single 128GB variant without any expandable memory and a 3040 mAh battery which can easily last more than a full day use and the device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 which will run anything you throw at it. The operating system on this device has been optimized to run extremely smoothly and it does not contain any bloatware as Andy Rubin was insistent on keeping the entire device as minimalistic as possible and it is rumored that this device, along with all the Essential’s new ecosystem of smart home devices and services will be connected by Ambient OS. Although very little is known about this new operating system, everyone in the tech world is optimistic that it will be something amazing but bringing the new Ambient OS to life may take a few years.
One of the best bit about this device would be the fact that it has a flat back without any camera bump and there are no branding of any kind, not even a company logo and for those people who love minimal designs, this phone tops everything available today. The fingerprint sensor is also placed in the back of the device and can be easily reached with one hand and it is extremely fast and responsive. And just next to the camera on the back, there are two small magnetic pins which is used to hold modular parts for the phone. These modular parts will be specially designed by Essential for this phone and right now, there is just one modular device available, which is the 360 camera. This 360 camera is said to be the smallest in the world and since it clips easily on the back of the phone, you can easily carry it anywhere you go and it supports both photo and video along with live streaming. This camera, along with all the other modular parts will connect to the phone via WiFi and the magnetic pins will only provide power to the modules.
The Essential Phone got everything right, and there is little to nothing that anyone can complain about this phone. Although there have been software glitches which users have reported, the regular updates which keep rolling out seem to fix every single one of them and that’s a good thing and the regular software patches are expected since the phone cost a hefty $700 (approx Rs.45,000). The only downside about this phone is that it does not have a headphone jack. The phone does come with a USB to 3.5mm jack converter, but that’s not something everyone will want to carry around and although the entire industry is slowly moving away from the headphone jack, the Essential Phone seems to lack one basic essential feature.