Essential Phone (PH-1): What you need to know about Andy Rubin’s new modular Android phone

Essential Phone (PH-1) UK: A roundup of everything you need to know about Andy Rubin’s new Android phone

The Essential Phone (or Essential PH-1 to give it its proper name) has been a long time coming, but it seems the long-awaited handset will soon arrive. Android creator and Essential CEO Andy Rubin is behind this device, which will be going head-to-head with the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8.

But when is the Essential Phone coming out in the UK, how much does it cost, and what are the specs? Our guide reveals all.

 

Essential Phone Release Date – when does the PH-1 come out in the UK and US?

First announced in May, the Essential Phone was expected it to start shipping reserved units “within 30 days”. Well, more than two months later the phone still hadn’t arrived. In mid-August, we learned the phone would begin shipping within seven days via an email sent to US customers who pre-registered for the phone. However, that email stated that only the ‘Black Moon’ colour option would be sent out at that stage.

That means those who pre-registered should start seeing their phones arrive after August 23, but Essential has not yet announced an official release date at this point. The company is holding a ‘First Look’ event in LA on Friday, August 25, however, so we may well get a definitive answer then.

If you’re in the US you can reserve one right away via the link below, but the UK, Europe, and other regions are in a holding pattern, with the Essential website noting that “we are shipping to the US only at this time”.

The company has confirmed the phone will launch in the UK as well as western Europe and Japan, though a date is yet to be confirmed.

Essential Phone Price – How much does the PH-1 cost in the UK and US?

The Essential Phone is only available in one model – an unlocked one with 128GB of on-board storage – which costs $699.

That equates to roughly £545 before VAT, though given the current economic climate, we’d be surprised if the Essential Phone retailed SIM-free for less than £599 in the UK, when it launches.

US buyers can also take advantage of a limited time bundle, which throws in a 360-degree Essential Phone camera for an extra $50 (~£40) – a significant saving, given the add-on’s regular price tag is $199 (~£155).

Related: Best Android phones

Essential Phone Specs and Features – Why is the PH-1 interesting?

Among the striking features are an edge-to-edge 5.7-inch QHD display that goes even further than the Galaxy S8‘s screen, and a modular design.

Yes, the Essential Phone is betting on modular functionality, following some high-profile failures in that space (LG’s G5 didn’t quite have the impact the company hoped).

The new phone brings with it a couple of accessories that can be attached to the handset via a magnetic connector and wireless data transfer.

Related: Essential Home

Essential Phone

Those accessories inclue the previously mentioned 360-degree camera that attaches to the top of the phone via the pogo pins, with the company said to be working on a charging dock set to launch in the future.

All of which is great, but when it comes to the standard stuff, such as hardware and design, the Essential Phone seems to be a serious contender in the smartphone market.

First up, the handset comes with a titanium and ceramic build which will apparently hold up better during drops than handsets from the big manufacturers – at least, according to Andy Rubin.

The edge-to-edge display leaves minimal bezels on the side and top of the phone’s front, with a small bezel at the bottom and a cutout for the front facing camera at the top.

Related: iPhone 8

Essential Phone

That means the screen takes up more room on the front of the phone than on both the LG G6 and the Galaxy S8.

According to the report, the software will adapt itself around the front-facing camera cutout, never showing notification icons on that part of the screen.

Round the back, you’ll find a dual-camera setup that uses two 13-megapixel sensors where the second lens is used as a monochrome sensor – the same thing found on Huawei’s P9 and P10.

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That monochrome sensor takes in more light than a traditional option, and combines with the 13-megapixel standard sensor to improve low-light performance.

The front-facing shooter is a modest 8-megapixel offering, but on the plus side, it is apparently capable of shooting 4K video.

Software is, as you’d expect, Android – the device is set to ship with Android 7.0 Nougat and will presumably be upgraded to Android O further down the line.

Related: Galaxy Note 8

Essential Phone

Internally, the company has packed the phone with the latest Qualcomm 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage – so it should be plenty fast and able to compete with the big phones of 2017.

And in what could be seen as a somewhat controversial move, Essential has opted to follow Apple and leave out the 3.5mm jack – though an adapter is said to be included with the phone.

Let us know what you think of the Essential Phone on social media.