Here’s Your First Look at the Essential Phone in the Real World

Header photo via The Verge

Back in May, Android founder Andy Rubin debuted his newest creation, the Essential Phone, at the Code Conference with the now-retired journalist Walt Mossberg. That was the first time we saw the device outside of press renders, and since then, things have been pretty radio silent. Just yesterday, the device went up for pre-order from various retailers and was available for purchase from Essential, and now the review embargo for the handset has been lifted. That means other publications have gotten their hands on the phone and have shared their thoughts. Most notably, The Verge has published their full review in both video and written forms, and they go the most in-depth among the reviewers part of today’s embargo.

In the review, executive editor Dieter Bohn shares his thoughts on the Essential Phone which seem relatively positive. The display is gorgeous, the speed is great, battery life was better than he expected, and the build feels nice in the end. There’s no headphone jack which he’s thoroughly bitter about, while the camera, he says, is a “dumpster fire.” Well, until he received a software update.

For whatever reason, Essential must’ve given early reviewers junky software to test the camera with. This led to Bohn’s initial impression that the cameras weren’t all that great. Then, a matter of hours before the review embargo was lifted, Bohn received a software update on his unit of the Essential Phone which he said improved the quality of images taken with the sensors from “dumpster fire to pretty good.” Still, the cameras aren’t on par with something like the Google Pixel and its speed isn’t as good as some might hope, but at least Essential didn’t make their cameras utterly unusable.

The Verge wasn’t the only one to get the Essential Phone early. Android Authority, Engadget, Android Central, CNET, PCMag, and TechCrunch all published videos about the phones as well. Some even give you a look inside the box of the device which ships with a braided charging cable, braided headphone dongle, and a USB-C charging wart. Until we get our hands on the device, enjoy the following YouTube uploads.