Mobile Phones Android What Is the Essential Phone? By Anita George Writer Anita George is a writer who has been covering technology since 2013. Her work has appeared in Paste Magazine and she holds both B.A. and B.S. degrees. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Anita George Updated December 12, 2019 Essential Products, Inc./Wikimedia Commons Android Switching from iOS Tweet Share Email The Essential Phone is the flagship smartphone of Essential Products, Inc. It's an Android smartphone advertised as having all the features you could want in a smartphone without the presence of cumbersome, preloaded apps and charging accessories. The Essential Phone was initially announced in May 2017 and was officially released in August of that same year. The Essential Phone was designed by Android co-founder, Andy Rubin. The Essential Phone's Features The Essential Phone currently runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, Android 8.0 Oreo, and the latest version, Android 9.0 Pie. The smartphone also has 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Its edge-to-edge display is 5.71 inches and made with Corning Gorilla Glass. Essential Phones also come with a fingerprint reader, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, all of which are encased in a titanium body and a ceramic back. 1080p HD video recording is also available for both cameras. The Essential Phone also boasts magnetic connectors that allow its accessories (chargers or detachable 360 Camera) to simply magnetically attach to the phone without needing a cord. These magnetic connectors are called Click Connectors. The 360 Camera is usually sold separately, unless you buy an Essential Phone directly from Essential Products, Inc. What's Missing From the Essential Phone? There are a few features that Essential Phones don't have that current, more mainstream smartphones do. First, Essential Phones don't come with a headphone jack. If you decide to purchase an Essential Phone but would rather use your own headphones, you'll need to purchase their $15 Audio Adapter, allowing you to connect your wired headphones and earphones to the Essential Phone. Second, Essential Phones don't come with preloaded apps or unnecessary bloatware. It runs purely on its Android OS. Lastly, unlike many other smartphones on the market, Essential Phones don't have any logos or branding on them. How Much Does an Essential Phone Cost and Where Can You Get One? As you might expect, the Essential Phone's price point varies greatly and often depends on whether or not it's unlocked and which retailer is selling it. If you purchase an unlocked Essential Phone directly from Essential Phone, Inc., the price will be a minimum of $499. At this price, in addition to the phone, you'll also get HD headphones, a detachable camera called 360 Camera, and a case for the camera. You can also purchase an Essential Phone from other retailers, such as Best Buy. The current price range for a new or used Essential Phone among retailers starts at around $135 and ends around $525. You can also purchase an Essential Phone directly from Sprint for $449 or with an 18-month lease for around $18.75 per month. An unlocked Essential Phone should be compatible with every major carrier, such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. There are many prepaid services that support the unlocked version as well, such as Cricket Wireless, Boost Mobile, and MetroPCS.