It’s an edge-to-edge, titanium-clad phone packed with the latest hardware and some unique accessories that magnetically snap to the device. The PH-1 is just as striking as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and matches it in hardware capability, but let’s break down how they really compare.
|Name||Samsung Galaxy S8||Essential PH-1|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|Dimensions||5.87 by 2.68 by 0.31 inches||5.6 by 2.8 by 0.3 inches|
|Weight||5.47 oz||6.5 oz|
|Screen Size||5.8 inches||5.71 inches|
|Screen Type||Super AMOLED HD||IPS LCD|
|Screen Resolution||2,960 by 1,440 pixels||2,560 by 1,312 pixels|
|Camera Resolution||12MP Rear/8MP Front-Facing||13MP Dual Rear, 8MP Front-facing|
|Wireless Specification||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Read the Review||Read the Review|
Design and Display
Curved, edge-to-edge screens are all the rage, and you can see why when looking at the Galaxy S8. Samsung’s flagship is an attractive, eye-catching phone that combines a glass-and-metal body with a curved screen into a compact form factor. It’s easy to use with one hand and stands out from the crowd of otherwise identical metal slabs. The bezel on two sides is eliminated because the screen wraps around the sides, and is minimized on the top and bottom.
The Essential goes a step further. It also has an edge-to-edge display, but it eliminates the top bezel entirely, leaving the front camera nestled in the center with the screen wrapping around it. It’s a striking touch that makes the Essential stand out. Its metal body, made of durable titanium, can withstand drops; the back is ceramic.
The Essential is a
Both phones have a Quad HD display with unusual aspect ratios to accommodate the edge-to-edge design. On the Galaxy
Where you will see a difference is with the S8’s AMOLED. Samsung phones have some of the best displays on the market, and the S8 provides richer, more saturated colors, inky blacks, and great outdoor visibility. We haven’t tested the Essential, so we’ll have to reserve judgment, but IPS displays are noted for more accurate color reproduction and viewing angles, so it may simply come down to a matter of preference.
Processor, Battery, and Camera
The S8 and the Essential are powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and come with 4GB of RAM under the hood. It’s a powerful chipset with buttery smooth performance, impressive graphic capabilities, and a modem with support for upcoming gigabit LTE networks.
We’ll need to run benchmark tests to see how the two phones stack up, but in our experience phones that run a lighter Android skin than Samsung’s TouchWiz tend to have better performance, so that may be where the Essential pulls ahead. It also has more internal storage (128GB versus the S8’s 64GB). On the other hand, the S8 has a microSD slot, so you can always add more space if you need it.
Both phones have dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and the new Bluetooth 5.0 standard.
Battery life is hard to judge without running our test, in which we stream full-screen video over LTE at maximum screen brightness. The S8, with its 3,000mAh cell, clocked 5 hours, 45 minutes, a fairly average runtime. The Essential will have a slightly larger 3,040mAh battery, but it could have a better or worse runtime depending on screen brightness, background processes, and optimization.
When we tested the Galaxy S8, we declared it to have the “best camera ever.” The 12-megapixel rear sensor has OIS, is sharp, takes detailed low-light shots, and includes features like bokeh and manual controls with RAW capture. The Essential comes with a set of dual 13-megapixel cameras, one
Software and Features
Software is where things get interesting. As you might expect from the creator of Android, the Essential will come running the very latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat. But beyond that, we have surprisingly few details about what kind of special features will be onboard, aside from the presence of an AI assistant.
We anticipate the UI skin being close to stock. The Essential phone can be purchased with a 360-degree camera (an extra $50) that attaches magnetically to a port on the back. You’ll also get a docking station that lets you charge the phone without a cord. Eventually, it’ll have a whole range of accessories, similar to Moto Mods.
The S8 also runs Nougat, but with a heavy layer of its TouchWiz skin on top. It comes with the Bixby AI assistant that’s activated by a physical button on the side of the device (still not available) and has an always-on screen that shows you time, date, notifications, and music controls.
The Galaxy S8 similarly supports accessories like Gear VR for gaming, now with a motion-enabled controller, a refresh of the Gear 360 camera, and Samsung Dex, essentially giving you a desktop experience powered by your mobile device. It’s not as modular as what the Essential plans to offer, but it’s a more comprehensive set of accessories.
Price, Availability, and Conclusions
The Essential will be sold unlocked for $699. It’s more affordable than the Galaxy S8, which can range in price from $720 to $750 depending on your carrier. The Essential also supports a comprehensive set of GSM, CDMA, and LTE bands, which should allow it to work with all major US carriers.
But the one thing the Essential doesn’t have is official carrier support; it won’t be sold in carrier stores and it remains to be seen if it can take advantage of features like Wi-Fi calling, HD Voice, and VoLTE. Not being sold in carrier stores limits the potential consumer base of the Essential; most people still buy their phones in brick-and-mortar outlets, so not having a physical presence