• After 15+ years, we've made a big change: Android Forums is now Early Bird Club. Learn more here.

So, what does anyone think?

A couple of my own:

* I like the size: 71x141mm is about the width of a 5.1" conventional phone and a little shorter, but with a much bigger screen.

* The selfie camera is not ideal. But many of the rumoured iPhone 8 designs have such an intrusion as well - if that happens, anyone want to bet that this is warmly accepted by many of the same people who are criticising it here?

* In any case, you could also look at this as a 5.42" 16:9 display with a status bar containing a camera above that. Would anyone complain about something like that in in a phone this size?

Personally I think this is an interesting year. After several years where all phones used the same display shape, with sizes gradually creeping upwards, we're now seeing some experimentation. The 19:10 aspect ratio is not an obvious choice, but my personal theory is that this may have been chosen to produce a more "conventional" device size rather than the longer devices produced by LG and Samsung. I wonder whether we're going to see further experiments now (what will the Pixel 2 use? I'll be surprised and disappointed if it sticks with 16:9), and whether a "new normal" will emerge or whether we'll have a future of heterogenous devices?
Upvote 0
No headphone jack?! That's a deal breaker for me.
It's not something I welcome, for sure. But for devices which don't have a strong audio focus moving to a jackless world might, paradoxically, allow an improvement in quality (at the price of a loss of convenience).

No, I've not swallowed the "wireless is the future" kool-aid, and I think it will be a while before high-quality wired USB-C headphones become common (and even then I won't want to retire my existing headphones in the foreseeable future). My comment is motivated by the statement in Android Authority's HTC U11 impressions article that the audio output from their USB-C to 3.5mm dongle was better than the Galaxy S8's 3.5mm jack provided. With USB-C digital audio output the DAC and amp are either in the output device (headphones) or, for analogue output, in the 3.5mm adapter. So as long as manufacturers stick to standards (which Rubin claims their company is committed to) you can choose the quality of 3.5mm output from a USB-C phone by buying a better quality dongle. Of course the remark about standards is a caveat: a manufacturer could choose to ensure that their own dongle only worked with their phones, but as long as they didn't also ensure that their own phone only worked with their own dongle you should still have options.

(As for jackless audio, I'll at least give HTC credit for providing some extra functionality from the USB-C audio, through their one-touch personalised tuning and noise cancellation, rather than just removing the jack to save a few coppers from the manufacturing or to try to sell you a new set of headphones - yes, I'm looking at you, Apple. No sign of any such quid pro quo from the Essential phone though).
Upvote 0
Sorry, this is going to sound broken. Caught a few of the details of the Essential device, drive by style from a blog/re-blog. My brain is not working very well right now to compose a complete coherent thought.

The lack of MicroSD card expansion and lack of 3.5mm jack in my opinion work against pillar 4.

"4. Devices shouldn’t become outdated every year. They should evolve with you."

Being able to expand the storage over time with a MicroSD card, as our ever growing digital footprint grows, seems like an essential requirement for "evolve with you"

Having a 3.5mm jack available, right now, to use if you want to and the option for using a USB-C adapter later in the future (in case portable digital audio quality DOES significantly improve in a year or two) would be an example of a device evolving with you.
  • Like
Reactions: Hadron
Upvote 0
I wonder if front facing/firing speakers are something anyone else still wants?
I have mixed feelings about them myself. I've had them for the last 4 years, and while I like the idea I don't think they are a great benefit to me. I rarely actually use them, as I generally use headphones for any audio output, either for better quality or to avoid disturbing others. Conversely my phone usually lives in a trouser pocket with the screen inward for protection, which means that when it rings they tend to be partially muffled against my leg, in the way that a bottom-firing speaker wouldn't be. So for my personal usage I don't think that on balance they are a great advantage, but it's something that would depend on your usage.
Upvote 0
I'd welcome a phone with no audio jack, seeing as I'm a full time bluetooth user and never use the 3.5 anyway. Yes to the USB-C port. I'm currently using a Kyocera Duraforce Pro, and oh man the front speakers are F-----LOUD. If I don't hear it ring, I'll certainly feel it. I'll never revert back to rear or bottom tweeters!


Just looked it over. Indeed, it looks interesting and could be a really nice phone, but....

1) Too big!! Seriously.. can't anybody just make a decent 4.5-5" handset? Why do manufacturers always aim for 6"+ flagships? My ideal phone size would be something along the lines of a Nexus 5

2) Despite Andy Rubin's involvement, let's remember: It's an ANDROID. There will be something faster, better looking, better quality released within a month after Essential goes on sale. Most Androids are EOL in a very short time.

3) Price. $700.00 for a premier handset??? No, thanks. Would feel safer spending another $100 and just getting a Galaxy, if I were forced to spend that kind of money. The most I've ever paid for a phone was $450 for a Nexus 5.
Last edited:
Upvote 0
I love that the 5.7" screen in a phone smaller than my Nexus 5x.

The main thing I question is how to protect the phone and screen from dropping it. I use a case to protect my phone, mainly the screen if it is dropped. If you put a case on the Essential, how do you access the accessory connection? Are they expecting the titanium material to not need a case? Does that protect the screen from cracking if you drop it? I'm thinking of it cracking when it is dropped on a corner.

At $700, I probably won't get it, but I like the direction it's going with vanilla android, minimal bloatware, "future proofing", and simple design. I don't want to make a fashion statement with my phone. I'll never understand how important people seem to be about the look of the phone. If you use a case, the look is covered up. I guess those people don't use a case. I want my phone to be fast and do what I need it to do. If it can last longer, even better. I think that's a little wait and see how future proof it really will be.
Upvote 0
The case thing is an interesting point here. Essential themselves don't offer a case at present, and I can see how their accessory ideas would complicate that (different accessories would require different cut-outs to attach them - I'd guess the pins have quite a short travel). But there will be many people who care more about protection than about the accessories, so there certainly will be a market for cases. So as long as it attracts enough attention, cases will be available even if not from the manufacturer.

(Edit: a quick web search reveals a few screen protectors and a couple of cases already on offer).

I'd actually have reasonable confidence in the titanium protecting the device where it lands on that. It would be where it landed on the ceramic back, or the glass front, that I'd be more worried (the front, of course, being the same as any phone, and the back pretty similar to most flagships this year, since glass is in - perhaps a bit better because it's not curved, but there are different ceramics with different properties, so I don't have enough information to make a definite statement and hence am assuming it's similar to glass for the moment. This may be pessimistic but better that way).
Last edited:
Upvote 0


We've been tracking upcoming products and ranking the best tech since 2007. Thanks for trusting our opinion: we get rewarded through affiliate links that earn us a commission and we invite you to learn more about us.