My first impressions of the Essential phone with Android 9 / Pie

Andrew_404

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Well I did it. I couldn't resist the special deal from Amazon on the Essential and I've been using the phone daily for the past few days. To be frank, I'm thoroughly impressed.

I mean wow.. I've also received Android 9 or Pie update.. Unbelievable.

The phone is very sleek, nice size in the hand and the screen size for me is perfect. Not a thick phone at all. Very light weight which feels good in the pocket and in my hand. The back is slippery so you have to be careful. Waiting on a new phone cover from Amazon, have to protect my investment.

I think the phone charges extremely fast. I had the Pixel 2 which had rapid charging but this darn thing is quick.

I haven't played to much with the camera yet but those tests will be upcoming soon. Coming from a Sony phone which really does have amazing optics and software, it will be interesting to do some side by side shots.

Speaking of Sony. My daily driver for the past few months has been the Sony Xperia XZ2. The Essential / XZ2 or almost identical in size except the XZ2 is 12.1mm thick compared to 7.8mm for the Essential. Only .5 ounces more in weight yet, screen size 5" versus 5.7"

Essential did an amazing job on their design. It is such a shame they released the phone way to early. But business is business and I get it. Have to sell to make money to pay wages etc.

Battery life is very good. I can easily go a full day with moderate to heavy use. No games just the usual internet surfing, videos, music, calls etc.

The Essential phone seems to be optimized better than the Sony. I've also done speed tests boot up side by side with the Essential powering up in about 3 -4 seconds + over the XZ2. The XZ2 comes with the Snapdragon 845 compared 835 for the Essential but to be fair, the Essential has Android 9 so that might be a little biased towards the Essential.

My phone is unlocked and I'm using a MVNO of T-Mobile and I have no connection issues at all.

The true test will be soon when I do some traveling to other cities in the States. Never had any issues with the XZ2 with lack of LTE so this will be a good test to see how the Essential handles it.

Hats off to Essential for their phone design, their desire to get software out on time or, ahead of the rest. Reading other threads on here about how slow LG and Samsung are on updates. Maybe they can learn from a small, innovative company like Essential.
 

B. Diddy

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Glad you're enjoying the phone, and it's great that you got Pie already! With the recent discounts for the phone, it reallly sounds like a great deal. I'm curious to hear what you think of the camera, since that's been one of the more commonly cited weak points of the phone -- hopefully they've continued to tweak the software to make it better! I think you can also sideload the Google Camera app, which is another way to improve the image quality.
 

awraynor

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My employer pays for my phone and plan. I'm still on a Note5 since I've seen nothing that I felt was worth upgrading to, even for free. My phone battery now is winding down and I'm also changing jobs so the next phone is on me.

I like the Note5, but the 9 is crazy expensive and the bloatware is ridiculous on Samsung. I was also thinking about a Pixel2, maybe 3 depending on price, because the camera matters a lot to me.

I see the Essential is on sale for $280 on Amazon and it might be just too good to turn down for that price vs. a used Note8 or Pixel2XL for around $500.

You feel pretty good about it? I would want it to last around a year, beyond that would be gravy.
 
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Andrew_404

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I've been pleasantly surprised by my essential. It's not a flagship phone by all means but for $280, it's a steal. I paid $225 for mine new. Battery life is good, size perfect, screen as well as hold in the hand. Pie 9 on this phone is very fast, optimized really good. Applications open quickly.

I think you'd be happy with the phone.
 

awraynor

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With your post and nearly every other post I went ahead and bought it. For that price it's hard to ignore even if it only lasts one year. I'll be commuting back and forth with the new job until the end of this school year and then moving. A lot more to spend my money on than a $1000 phone that doesn't excite me.
 

1901Madison

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I've been pleasantly surprised by my essential. It's not a flagship phone by all means but for $280, it's a steal. I paid $225 for mine new. Battery life is good, size perfect, screen as well as hold in the hand. Pie 9 on this phone is very fast, optimized really good. Applications open quickly.

I think you'd be happy with the phone.

How would you compare the Essential camera to that of the XZ2?
 

SRFast

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I have owned the PH-1 since November 2017. I have read about all the "issues" with the phone, but haven't experienced any "deal breaker" issues myself. T-Mobile reception seems to be a BIG issue, but I use Mint Mobile with no issues. The only issue I have is with the erratic battery life. It isn't terrible, but I thought with Android 9 Pie, it would be better. When does the Adaptive Battery actually begin to work to improve battery life?

I picked up a $280 Halo Gray PH-1 on Sunday. It had same day delivery so I was able to set it up Sunday night. I upgraded from Android 7.1.1 to Android 9 Pie and installed my core apps. I have been testing the new phone and I'm disappointed the battery life is WORSE than my 2017 phone. I hope Adaptive Battery does its thing and improves the battery life. If it doesn't, I will return the phone for a refund. BTW, my Pixel XL has outstanding battery life running Android 9.
 

awraynor

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Mine has arrived. I'll set it up and try it out for a few weeks. If it doesn't perform I'll send it back to Amazon. The next option would be a Pixel 3.
 

Rukbat

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T-Mobile reception seems to be a BIG issue, but I use Mint Mobile with no issues.
The carrier for Mint is TMobile, so if you have issues with TMobile's signal, you'd still have them with a Mint SIM, since you're still using TMobile's towers.
 

SRFast

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The carrier for Mint is TMobile, so if you have issues with TMobile's signal, you'd still have them with a Mint SIM, since you're still using TMobile's towers.

Thanks for your response. I personally have no issues with reception. I was stating that others have been complaining about this issue.
 

mike104393

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I was planning to return the phone but keep coming back to it. The battery is really what is keeping me. Best battery experience for the price I paid.
 

scottspa74

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The picture in picture on pie seems really clunky compared to PIP on Oreo. Not essentials fault, just an observation. On Oreo, when you hit the multitask button, PIP was activated and video played while scrolling thru open apps. It seems on Pie that that doesn't work with the dumb horizontal multitask, and that hitting the home button is the only to maintain video playback.

Am I doing something wrong or missing something? Thanks.

P.S. I got my PH1 on prime day as I'd always had a keen interest in it, got 8t as a backup phone, kind of. My active phone is HTC 10, and there's been nothing I've really wanted to upgrade to the last year or so. Now, I can't put this thing down. Battery life, great. Display, gorgeous. Performance, snappy as hell, optimized well, apparently.
 

Andrew_404

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How would you compare the Essential camera to that of the XZ2?

The Essential camera (stock) isn't bad at all. I've also download from the XDA developers site the google camera app. Both work well.

The essential does not do too well in low light conditions where the Sony Compact XZ2 does.

I have tried both of the Essential cam apps in low light and the Essential struggles a little

To me, Sony still makes an amazing camera on their phones. The overall differences between the Xperia XZ2 and the Essential are;


Screen size is nicer and clearer on the Essential. Reading news article and using the phone for everyday usage such as text, facebook and Twitter etc is great. I can't believe I did this all the time on the Xperia lol.

Battery life on the Essential with Pie is awesome sauce. Way better than the Xperia though of course the battery is smaller on the XZ2.

Talking of battery life. I see some on this forum are not having good success with battery life Pie 9. After the upgrade, I did a factory reset and reloaded all of my apps from my backup. Since then, I'm getting 12-14 hours with still 40-50% left. Not complaints.

Before the factory reset, battery life wasn't good at all on the Essential. Infact, so poor, I almost went back to my Sony which has really POOR battery life.

I paid $225 for my essential using some points etc through Amazon. I have not regrets buying this phone.

Anything else you'd like to know?
 
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jontalk

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Wondering if the battery life issue with Pie is widespread. I'm still waiting to pull the trigger on one of these though the update seems loaded with bugs on this phone and others running pure Android. Missed the Sunday Amazon deal for $223 but I have a feeling it will return
 

Gayle Lynn

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Battery excellent. White model bought Amazon March. After 8.1 was out. Think it had 8.0 on it. Before doing 9.p Pie I did factory reset and set it up from scratch.

If someone bought a unit now and it has 7.1 it seems possible it was old early production stock. Or wasn't really new.
 

computerguy68

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I have two of them, first one was off of eBay as Telus wouldn't sell it to me without taking their service. I got the Halo Grey from Amazon around March when it dropped to $399. I just cracked it open when Pie was released. There are actually some differences between the two of them despite both updated to Pie (differences in the settings sections). There were some quirks with the newer one, like the dark mode not working, no sounds when emails texts, etc. It's OK now however. Battery life is fine on both, however I still think my first PH-1 was better on Nougat, bad on Oreo, better with Pie.
 

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