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This is a futuristic bezel-less looking smartphone that’s also modular

Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android has just dropped an interesting device. Simply called as the Essential Phone, it’s almost all screen at the front similar to Xiaomi’s bezel-less Mi Mix. On top of that, it even has magnetic connectors that allow you to hook up additional accessories without any cables or dongles.

As the creator of the world’s most popular mobile OS, Andy Rubin isn’t happy with the current state of technology. He felt that things are getting unnecessarily cluttered, so he decides to take matters into his own hands by founding Essential. Essentially they believe that devices are truly personal and you should only get features that you want to have and simplicity is always better. Technology should also evolve with you and they believe in premium materials with true craftsmanship. As a result, they have released their first Android smartphone that’s also somewhat modular at the same time.

At the front, you’ll see that the Essential Phone is all display with an edge-to-edge 5.71″ Quad HD (2560×1312) screen with a 19:10 aspect ratio. Since it’s almost bezel-less, they are calling it a “Full Display” which offers a big screen experience in a smaller form factor. It uses a titanium frame for better durability while the back uses ceramic. Compared to aluminium, titanium is tougher in withstanding scratches, dents or bending so you won’t even need a case to protect the device. The front display also gets Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection. Unlike the Mi MIX, it looks like Essential had managed to fit an slim earpiece at the top of the frame.

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As you would expect for a flagship device, it gets a top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage. Over at the rear, it gets a 13MP dual camera set up (RGB + mono) with f/1.85 lens and a Hybrid Auto Focus system that uses Contrast, PDAF, and IR Laser AF. Similar to Huawei’s flagship series, it comes with a dedicated mode to capture true monochrome photos.

Using both sensors, the Essential Phone claims to capture up to 200% more light than standard smartphone cameras. It can record videos at 4K 30fps as well as 1080p in 60fps. For selfies, it gets a 8MP f/2.2 front camera that also shoots videos in 4K.

To capture the moment in 360, Essential has also introduced an Essential 360 camera which you can attach to the back of the phone with the aid of magnets. The 360 camera has dual 12MP f/1.8 fisheye cameras that can record 360 UHD (3840×1920) videos at 30fps. It connects to the phone via two pins and it captures 3D audio with 4 built-in mics. The 360 camera itself is priced at US$199 (about RM852).

On the phone itself, it also comes with 4-mics and it pushes audio using its earpiece and loudspeaker. Powering the Essential Phone is a 3,040mAh battery which supports Fast Charging via USB Type-C. For greater convenience, there’s also a docking station which you can recharge on a plate using its magnetic connector. It also supports NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO. There’s also a fingerprint sensor located at the back.

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In terms of colours, Essential Phone comes in Black Moon and Pure White, and the company will be introducing Stellar Grey and Ocean Depths colour options later. The Essential phone itself costs US$699 (about RM2,990) while the Essential Phone + 360 camera bundle is now offered at US$749 (about RM3,204) instead of its full retail price of US$898 (about RM4,231). At the moment, it is available for reservation but they are only shipping within the US.


Alexander Wong