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Essential Phone

Hadron

Spacecorp test pilot
Aug 9, 2010
29,723
1
28,500
Dimension Jumping
So, what do people think of the newly announced phone from Android's original architect, Andy Rubin?

Personally I'm finding it interesting. It combines a novel design, premium material and specs, and a professed philosophy of no bloat in the software. The 19:10 display means that the phone is the size and shape of a "regular" 5.1" phone rather than taller like the G6 or S8, but the front is still almost all screen. The main drawback, apart from a company with no track record (even if it's founder's record is good) and not knowing when it will become available in the UK, is the front camera intruding into the display, which doesn't look ideal for immersive apps. But against this there's a more compact design than a conventional 16:9 display, a flat screen which IMO is more practical than the S8's curves, and more durable materials than most of this year's flagships. And it's something different.

But the big thing for me is size. I don't really want anything significantly larger than my current HTC One (m7), and this device seems to fit the bill very well. In fact I worked out that it's the same width as my M7 is with the tpu case it's currently wearing, and just a couple of mm longer. And even if I don't buy one of these, it nicely illustrates why I'm personally very happy about the new trend towards trying out different screen ratios after several years of phones simply getting larger.

So, is anyone else interested in this device?
 
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True, but if it's compatible with a good enough adapter I can live with that.

I was reading a post elsewhere yesterday where someone had compared the sound from a HTC USB-C to 3.5mm adapter to an S8's headphone jack (same headphones) and concluded that the little dongle was better than the Samsung's output. And if Rubin means what he says about open standards then if the adapter with that phone isn't up to scratch it should still work with any other that works with the standard.

(Yeah, I've softened on headphone jacks. Every device out there has compromises somewhere, and that's one of the ones where there is a workaround - 2 if I include just buying a DAP as an option).
 
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True, but if it's compatible with a good enough adapter I can live with that.

I was reading a post elsewhere yesterday where someone had compared the sound from a HTC USB-C to 3.5mm adapter to an S8's headphone jack (same headphones) and concluded that the little dongle was better than the Samsung's output. And if Robin means what he says about open standards then if the adapter with that phone isn't up to scratch it should still work with any other that works with the standard.

(Yeah, I've softened on headphone jacks. Every device out there has compromises somewhere, and that's one of the ones where there is a workaround - 2 if I include just buying a DAP as an option).

I have thought about it a few times, for all my own stuff, my headphones and speakers are Bluetooth. However I sometimes goes to parties and things, and often say "Michael, can you play us some good English songs from your phone.", :) ...and the multi-media PC type speakers, or hotel KTV or PA they got tend to have 3.5mm headphone jack cables, NO Bluetooth. I'd have to always remember to take a dongle with me?
 
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Color me skeptical. From pure spec's it looks like a decent phone and I am all for their 'philosophy' of your phone - you choose what goes on it, but as @Hadron points out, first device from an unknown company with no track record. Even the best intentions won't sustain a company that fails to capture enough of the market to make it to product #2.

And let's face it, even the bleeding edge smartphone is going to look a little pedestrian after a year, and downright dusty after two. And, all those magnetic accessories? I really need to reinvest in chargers, docks, cameras and whatever else they're peddling? I can spring for a new cable, but if I can keep my wireless charging and car docks, there's $100 still in my pocket.

Ooooh. Titanium. Wow! Amazing! Makes me feel all quality and stuff. Like whatever. ;) In all honesty, I prefer the feel of the glass backed phones in my hand and I expect a scratch or chip if I drop it. That's just cosmetic anyway. Drop tests are like benchmarks ... they only represent a point of comparison, but when you trip while texting and walking and you phone goes off the curb into the road, I don't think titanium is going to save it, unless that what the aliens use in the ships they use to abduct projectile cell phones. :D Safe it for hip replacements.

While I do agree somewhat with the idea that smartphones (and other devices) are becoming feature-overloaded and fight with compatibility, the truth is that's what people are buying. Manufacturers don't wake up one day and say "hey, let's spend all this time and money to develop this feature that makes our product harder to sell." It's more like "Damn, Samsung is killing us with their Supersammyfeaturething® so we better make one, too." People say they like simple, but they buy features.
 
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It's clearly a boutique product, so the question is will they sell enough to make it viable?

But you know what, if the publicity it gathers helps push more established companies to take a more open look at their own designs, rather than either sticking with what they know or blindly copying LG or Samsung, I'd be happy with that as a result.
 
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