The smartphone market can be cruel to newcomers, especially in the United States. It’s a place where big names matter most, and four major wireless carriers still hold all the keys to the kingdom. Devices that should change the market often fall flat or gain only niche followings.
Andy Rubin, creator of the new Essential Phone, knows how tough it is to get a hit. He founded Danger in 1999, whose Sidekick phone sprung into popularity some years later thanks to its innovative design. He then founded Android Inc. in 2003, and helped create what eventually became the most popular smartphone operating system in the world.
It’s no surprise that, despite a beautiful design and the approval of reviewers like Wired’s own David Pierce, the Essential Phone PH-1, hasn’t quite taken off. It’s only sold unlocked online or through Sprint. In a blog post on October 21, the company officially lowered the price of the Essential Phone from $700 to $500. Those who purchased it at $700 already will get a $200 gift card code to use on the Essential shop.
We like this device. There are a few issues with its camera, but it’s roughly on par with the best smartphones of 2017, and at $500, it’s a far more attractive offer than it was at $700. Essential’s phone rivals the best, like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, but is priced hundreds of dollars less.
You can buy the Essential Phone on Amazon for $500 (Prime-eligible), or directly through its website. The good thing about the Essential Phone is that it’s unlocked, so it will work on any of the major wireless carriers, including Verizon.
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