Essential Phone: Everything we know right now

Stay tuned for a big update on 30 May…

30 May 2017
by Stuff Staff

It’s not often a brand new player enters the smartphone scene.

With a handful of well-established names dominating sales, it can be a tough market to break into – but Essential Products is looking to do just that with its as-yet-unnamed debut device.

What makes Essential a bit more noteworthy than the average startup is that it’s headed by Android creator Andy Rubin – a man who presumably knows what goes into making a great smartphone.

With the announcement of the company’s first handset imminent, let’s take a look at what we know so far.

WHAT WE KNOW

>>> It’s focussed on accessory add-ons

A Bloomberg report claims that Essential has developed a proprietary magnetic connector for the phone that not only supports battery charging but allows the user to add on hardware accessories to increase the phone’s functionality. One accessory already vaunted is a 360-degree camera, which seems to have been confirmed by a teaser silhouetted image tweeted out by Essential.

>>> It’s nigh-on bezel-free

Edge-to-edge, baby! That’s the apparent story of the Essential phone’s screen, which reportedly covers almost the entire front face of the device.

The claim from one source is that the phone will have a larger screen than the iPhone 7 Plus (which has a 5.5in display) and that, like iPhones’ Force Touch features, the screen will be capable of detecting differing levels of pressure.

GFXBench’s purported benchmark of the device suggests the screen resolution is 2560 x 1312. That’s a non-standard resolution, just below QHD, which suggests the ratio is wider than 16:9, and closer to the 18:9 screens of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6.

>>> It may be ceramic

Bloomberg’s original report on the Essential phone claims the company is experimenting with a ceramic-backed handset with metal edges. Ceramic phones aren’t a brand new phenomenon (Xiaomi has released a couple), but it’s still a rarity – and potentially a much better material for phone construction than glass, plastic or metal. It won’t corrode, stain or scratch, it has great heat and electricity insulation, and it feels good in your hand.

>>> It’s running on Android, with solid specs

The GFXBench benchmark hints at potential specs (but take these with a pinch of salt, as it could be a prototype device and not representative of the final retail product): 12MP rear and 7MP front cameras, both capable of recording 4K video; 3.6GB of RAM; what appears to be a Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip; and Android 7.0 Nougat. There’s apparently just 10GB of storage in the benchmarked device, but we’d be astounded if that’s all you get in the final product.

 

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