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Essential - Essential Phone 4G LTE with 128GB Memory Cell Phone (Unlocked) - Black Moon

  • Model: ESSENTIAL SMARTPHONE
  • SKU: 5973000

Not On Display at Sterling

On Display at Gaithersburg

Take amazing photos with this unlocked 128GB Essential smartphone. The edge-to-edge 5.71-inch display is ideal for streaming videos, and the octa-core Kryo processor and 4GB of RAM let you play games without lag. This Essential smartphone runs the Android operating system, which provides you with access to thousands of Google Play Store applications.

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  • Unlocked
Color:
Black Moon
  • Black Moon
  • Pure White

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Overview

What's Included


  • Charger
  • Essential Phone 4G LTE with 128GB Memory Cell Phone (Unlocked)
  • Headphone adapter
  • Owner's manual
  • Sim tool
  • USB cable

Ratings & Reviews


Overall Customer Rating:
85% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (164 out of 195)

Features


Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor

The octa-core 2.35GHz processor and 4GB of RAM deliver outstanding overall performance for opening and running applications, flipping through menus, running home screens and more.

Android 8.1 Oreo OS

PH-1 runs pure Android. You get a smooth experience that is fast and fluid with no unnecessary apps or preloads.

Universal Unlocked

Compatible with all major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, and with prepaid carriers including Cricket Wireless, Boost Mobile, MetroPCS, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, Tracfone, Net10, Mint, H2O.

4G LTE speed

Provides fast Web connection for downloading apps, streaming content and staying connected with social media.

5.71" Quad HD touch-screen display

The extra-large screen is matched with a slim body to comfortably fit in your hand. Offers 16:9 cinema-like screen ratio that's perfect for viewing of videos, photos, and games.

13.0MP rear-facing camera for pictures and 4K videos

Captures clearer pictures with laser autofocus and optical image stabilization. Also includes a front-facing 8.0MP camera for self-portraits and video.

128GB internal memory

Provides plenty of storage space for your contacts, music, apps and more.

Weatherproof design

This phone is resistant from water and dust ingress (IP54).

Titanium body

Unlike aluminum, titanium does not scratch, dent, or bend.

MQA audio technology

Delivers studio quality music listening on the go**.

* SIM card is not included.

**3-month TIDAL HiFi subscription for new and existing Essential Phone customers with access to thousands of MQA tracks. Visit essential.com/audio to redeem the Tidal offer.


Customer rating

Rating 4.3 out of 5 stars with 195 reviews

84%
would recommend to a friend

Pros

Cons

Most relevant reviews

See all customer reviews
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Pure Android in a beautiful package

    Posted
    Chiadrum

    I did tons of research before buying the PH-1 and I was a little worried about some of the negative feedback on the device. Happy to say that 5 days in I have not experienced any of the issues people have mentioned. I was really missing my Nexus 6 with its smooth, pure Android experience and fast updates to software which usually feel like a free upgrade when they come. I had a free phone from work, a Galaxy S7 but the Samsung experience just isn't for me. When Samsung was unlocked and I could slap a ROM on top of the hardware that was fine but my GS7 was to jittery, slow and buggy for my tastes. I turned to the Essential for the return to Pure Android but without the massive heft of the Nexus 6 (Which we still use for a business phone, and it works great). So far I am extremely impressed with the PH-1. As widely reported, the hardware is simply the best. Everyone that sees the phone is immediately impressed and it is just great to hold and behold. It is a slippery bugger however and it will slide and fall off of just about anything FYI. The display is fantastic to my eyes with gorgeous, vibrant colors at every turn. The fingerprint scanner is outstanding, a massive improvement over the GS7. I had basically abandoned the GS7 fingerprint sensor due to the failure rate. I also had to set up several prints of the same finger for the GS7 in the hopes of recognition. With the PH-1, I set up 3 different fingers so that I can grab the phone from either hand in different positions and still unlock right away. Setup was fast and accurate as is the sensor in action. Just lift the device and notifications and activity pop up right away. A quick swipe of the finger and you are unlocked and ready to go. It also functions as a notification slider during normal use. Nice touch. The software is extremely minimal, just basic Android nothing extra at all. The phone comes with about a dozen apps installed, the rest is up to you which is fine. Make the device yours, add what you need. There is an app for about anything you could ever want including any Samsung feature you could think of so don't worry about missing any bells and whistles you may have been used to. So far I have yet to experience a stutter, lag or crash. This has been by far the smoothest device that I have ever used. Perfection. And Oreo is in Beta, coming soon. The speaker is surprisingly loud and clear. I had to turn down the notification volume, it was obnoxious. A good problem to have. Bluetooth seems to be working flawlessly as well with clearly better quality streaming music to my vehicle than the GS7. The USB C to 3.5 adapter seems to produce quality sound as well although the output is a bit low and bass lean for my tastes. The GS7 definitely had more power and bass although the PH-1 has more refinement and a cleaner sound. I plan on getting some high quality earbuds and there are audio enhancing apps for USB C that should get me where I need to be with the USB C audio out volume and bass. Or the device could be rooted and Viper for Android installed but I am not sure if I will go that route. Expert reviews state that the USB C DAC that was included is a quality unit capable of producing well above average sound. Such units tend to require higher end components attached to take advantage, hence my need for upgraded ear buds. I am a lifelong musician so I am actually looking forward to the excuse of upgrading anyway. Another big point of contention on this phone are the cameras. So far I can't complain. As good as the best out there? Definitely not. But I have already received an update that added some functionality to the camera app and it is a snap to install the Pixel camera app which I have already done in case the stock app falters. The camera launches quite quickly using the double press of the power button. The images I have captured so far have been clear and detailed and hold up pretty well under zoom. The GS7 is the clear winner here but the PH-1 is brand new. Samsung has had many years to refine their camera game. The front camera also takes detailed, clear shots. I will say that color reproductions does seem a hair off in some situations on the PH-1. The most important thing for me is that I can launch and quickly capture a good photo whenever I want to. Essential does seem committed to improving the experience as well with Portrait Mode included with a recent update. OS and Camera app updates have been frequent and effective from what I understand. Worth mentioning is the added function of modularity. The 360 Camera is available (I will be receiving one shortly). Hopefully if Essential succeeds more mods will come in the future. A cool concept that Motorola is doing now. One thing that has been a bit hard to get used to is having the volume up and down and power buttons all on the same side of the phone and the power button on the bottom. I find that array a bit odd and sometimes I miss the mark. Adjust volume when I don't want to etc. Another complaint is that the package includes a charger and quality charging cable however that cable is USB C to USB C, leaving you with no cable to transfer files from your PC to the generous 128GB of storage on the device. I had to order cables from Amazon for that purpose. Not cool. Not expensive, but not cool. Also no earbuds included which most phones do come with. At the price the phone is now selling for it is hard to complain but at the original $700 price tag, hard to swallow. I had 1 interaction with Essential support so far and I received a same day reply to a failure message that I saw for the Essential audio driver. I received a detailed, logical explanation. The problem has not resurfaced. Another complaint I had heard about was signal strength and various issues with the Verizon network. I have not had any of these problems. Actually yesterday, I was doing remote tech support work for a customer. I was on the phone on an HD call, using the phone as a Hotspot to run my laptop connected to the customers network through a VPN and running various tasks in their servers. File transfer was not possible with that connection but otherwise I had no issues and the laptop was moving faster than I would have imagined. Battery life compared to my GS7 is radically better, and supposedly that is not a strength of the PH-1. I am easily making it through a full day with no issues. This is with streaming music, GPS usage, Web searches, emails, texts, videos,phone calls etc. So far so good. In summary, buy this device if you want a very fast,silky smooth experience on a beautiful piece of hardware that gives you a huge screen in a small form factor. I am choosing to support Essential. The big guys need this kind of competition and so far I am a big fan. And as always, excellent service from Best Buy on this transaction.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Close to perfection

    Posted
    vikesfankory

    Let me start off by saying that I am a person who obsesses over perfection for what I spend my money on. Whether it is going out to eat or a cell phone. I expect to get what I put my money into. . With cell phones I expect a few things for the money that I am paying. First off it needs to be durable. Most people, myself included need to know that this device can last over a two year contract without a accident setting us back. I know it is unreasonable for a small device that is held in pockets, purses, and going everywhere with accident prone beings is difficult. Second the hardware needs to perform well for a few years. 3rd my phone is mine. I am paying hundreds of hard earned dollars for a device I should have what I want on it when I want and how I want. I do not like bloatware, adds I did not ask for, or any other company plugging and smearing their face all over that device. Finally a phone that software continues to update, improve, and make my device feel like new (or as close as it can with how fast technology rolls) for at a minimum 2 years if not more. No, this is not a perfect phone. But I have never held a device so close to it. The build quality on this is second to none. I have purposely dropped this phone from a height of 20 feet on its corner and there was not a scratch, dent, or any glass out of place. The ceramic back, titanium sides, and Gorilla Glass 5 help up perfectly. I did many more drop tests on this device from lower heights and various angles and it still looks perfect and everything functions as it should. Yes the full front side display and almost 0 bevel is cool. You can read that review anywhere. But this thing can take a beating and with no case to add to it. Making it perfect for those people whos life involves a durable device that can go through a lot of rough times. The only part with durability that I have not liked is the lack of water proofing/resistance. However as much of a bummer as that is I am sure a waterproof or water resistant case will come by way of a 3rd party soon enough if they don't already have one. The hardware seems really nice one this. The processor has no lag even when I have numerous apps going at once. I tried heavy games and streamed movies and music or anything to bog it down and I couldn't. I had about 20 things downloading, movies going, and apps going at once and it was like greased lightning. So now to the elephant in the room. The camera. Yes before the update it seemed like a camera from a year or two ago. However, since they updated it the camera preforms just fine, even in low light. My buddy has a Pixel XL and yes on his screen they looked better. But when we uploaded them to a pc and compared ours side to side they were almost identical. Most of what I wanted to fix was due to software which can be updated by 3rd party apps. Nothing big at all. As for the whole phone being "mine" this phone was PERFECT! It was such a bare bones phone with so much space I have been able to put what I want how I want with absolutely no issues. It was honestly the first time I got a device that did this, and all of my family, friends, and co workers were shocked by it. As for the software again it is as bare bones as they come. But I get updates that aren't intrusive to what I want to do to the device. It just improves it without intruding. This is the one and only time I or anyone I know have not been annoyed by updates. This phone does have some flaws like any device out there. It is not quite perfect by any means. The waterproofing needs to be fixed and yes the proper software to get the most out of the camera should have been out of the box. But since this is the first device Essential made it is nothing short of amazing. Yes, I want perfection in high end devices. Will I ever get it, probably not. But this one nailed most aspects on its first try and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. I can honestly say that this device feels like it can go for a long time without feeling out of date and you will definitely get your money's worth.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Lightning fast and solid

    Posted
    Chris703
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I am coming from a LG V10 Android phone. I have also used Windows Phone and an iPhone in the past. I am an avid photographer as well so the camera on my phone is important to me. Important, yes. An absolute deal-breaker? No. To explain, most of my work is done with a DSLR. That said, there is no substitute for having a smartphone camera in my pocket for various shots and circumstances. So, when I began the hunt for new phone (my V10 had become increasingly slow and the response time was becoming unacceptable) the camera was high on my list of features. But even more important was the speed and the build quality of the phone. The V10 was military grade and could be dropped from waist-high with very little chance of breakage. The Essential phone is even more solid. I started research and read enough reviews of the Essential phone that I was a bit concerned about the camera app. Many of the earliest reviews were trashing the camera. But, as I examined my needs and thought about how I use my phone, I decided that the camera wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. Clean, efficient design was my primary criteria. Could the phone work lightning quick? How easy was it to use? What about the form-factor in-hand? The V10 had a larger screen which I really grew to appreciate. But it often required two-handed operation. Not a big deal but just something to accept as part of owning a larger screen phone. Well, The Essential was greatly discounted (a real bargain) and the price of the new phones was becoming astronomical. So, I looked for an affordable (check), high-spec phone (check) that was solid (check) and super fast (check). Was it bloatware free? (check). Could I customize it exactly the way that I wanted (check). Smaller form factor? (check). Amazingly, I put the Essential next to me V10 and fired up the screens. The result? The Essential phone screen is the same size as the V10 but the overall size of the Essential phone makes it much easier to navigate with one hand. My hands are a tad small so there is still some two-handed operation but, again, this is no big deal for me. I read where the screen wasn't the best (not OLED as others are putting in their phones these days). I love OLED but even though the Essential doesn't have OLED I was stunned at how good the screen is on this phone. Very bright at even low levels. Excellent readability. Battery life: I am not a huge Social Media user. My phone is mostly used for texting, photos, checking Facebook on occasion, and lots of email. And, of course, phone calls (imagine that - a smart phone used as a phone). So, I charged this up (USB Type C fast charging! Yea!) and watched how quickly this phone drained the battery. The result is: AMAZING! This creature lasts much longer than my V10 and I have not managed to run it down completely during a normal business day. Messenger app: One thing I didn't like about the V10 was the inability to change the color of the app and the conversations. The latest app that comes with this phone automatically color-codes each conversation individually. It's a small thing I know, but I really appreciate the variety that function provides and how it allows me to track threads with people by color. As day after day has gone by I have become more and more thrilled with my choice. The price is AWESOME! The speed is AWESOME! The build quality - you guessed it - AWESOME. No bloatware! Beautiful screen! The camera app has already been updated. Portrait mode is now enabled. I am looking forward to manual controls from photos (as my V10 has). But they say they are coming. Did I mention that the camera has a black and white mode? Of the dual cameras on the phone one is dedicated to black and white and the pictures that it produces are fantastic. Updates have been regular. Notification screen is now available by swiping the fingerprint reader with my finger. The Fingerprint reader is FLAWLESS and fast. And the phone is a TANK. CONS: I only have two: 1) The phone is very slippery. I put it down on the couch next to me (on a very flat area) and watched it slide right off the couch. So, I went onto Amazon and found a case for it that fits perfectly and solved that issue. 2) The video does not have image stabilization built in. But, again, I don't use my cameras for video much so this has not been a deal-breaker for me. You really owe it to yourself to give this phone a look. I am keeping mine. I hope you get one as well.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

    Essentially Flawed

    Posted
    Spie
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    Let's start by clarifying that I really wanted to like this phone and was looking forward to it since the day it was announced. Unfortunately, it's nothing but a big disappointment and here is my brief review. This is undoubtedly one the best looking phone I have ever seen. Both front and back are a work of art that speak perfection in design and engineering. No one can argue that. The added weight, while making it a bit heavier than similarly-sized phones, isn't that bad and again serves to make the phone feel more premium. Pros: - Beautiful design - front and back are gorgeous - Display is beautiful - colors are crisp and brightness is great even in direct sunlight - Software is obviously clean and super fast (with minor issues - see cons) - Battery life is great - easily capable of going 7am - 10am on moderate use with plenty of power left - Cell reception is strong - never noticed an issue Cons: - Camera. Camera experience is HORRIBLE. It's as bad as reviewers have stated. I got the latest update that Essential made a big deal about (blogged about it) and it's still bad. First of all, app is SUPER slow and crashes 50% of the time for me. It's frustrating because you'll bring out your phone and want to bring up the app to capture something only to be met with a crashed app or just super slow to switch to video. Second of all, additional features don't exist. It's as basic as what a Nokia phone provided 15 years ago. No manual mode. No advanced mode. No settings whatsoever (except geo tagging and shutter sound). Lastly, picture quality is OK at best, but no where near the quality of a Pixe, Sammy or iPhone. People are saying "it's good enough for me", but I have no idea what that means. Why would you spend this much money on a phone for "good enough"? Color is surprisingly good, but that's about it. - Haptic Feedback. Vibration motor is something from a 2010 phone. It's just bad. It's weak and not accurate in the least bit. It just gives the phone a cheap feel. If the haptic feedback on the iPhone 7 is a 10 and Samsung is a 6, this is a -10. Trust me, it's just bad. - While phone is overall speedy, it does crash and hang a lot. It just feels like an early beta version of the software. You can definitely feel the lag while typing - it's not as accurate with input. - Buttons. The close proximity of the volume down button to the power button will cause you to accidentally press it. More annoyance than anything. - Ear Speaker. I get the need for the way it's designed, but unfortunately that means that you can't hold the phone that way you're used to and it takes a lot of adjustments and pressing on your ear to get it right. -Loud Speaker. Super loud but no the clearest by any measure. Notice that I haven't made any mention of the lack of a headphone jack or waterproofing because while that's unfortunate, I knew that before buying the phone and it didn't matter to me. What really did it for this phone and is causing me to return it is #1 horrible camera performance and #2 horrible camera performance. Yes, Essential has come out and said it'll get better with updates, but when was the last time a horrible camera performance went from bad to great for any phone. Sorry, not going to risk being stuck with the phone.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great phone ,Great Price

    Posted
    Shrktank
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    I bought this phone a week ago. I had the S8, but found it too big and would slide out of my pocket. So I want the larger screen but in a small form factor. Did much research and came across the Essential phone. Thie history of the phone is interesting. Company formed by the Android creater Rubin. Focused on hardware. Appears they rushed the phone out too soon as software had issues. Reviews initially ripped it for having bad camera software. However all reviews loved the quality of the hardware. Within the first two months 2 things have occurred. One, they have pushed out 3to4 firmware fixes and two, they lowered the price. So again you have great hardware and a fix for the software issues including the camera for a price point of 499. Hardware wise you are getting a device with 128gb of internal memory, snapdragon 435 processor which is the best out there. A ceramic back, titanium sides and gorilla 5 glass on the front. This thing can withstand drops. Overall a beautiful device. I went with the white back and really like it. The phone weighs about an ounce more than most phones, but has a nice feeling in the hand. When you hold this phone you will sense how solid it is Just another little thing I like is that it can stand on its side. This is great for watching videos or taking pictures As far as software it is a pure android device. No bloatware, no apps you have to delete. This allows the phone to run extremely smooth. It is currently running Android 7, but it appears they are testing Android 8 and hope to have out in a few weeks One last note. Most of the larger phones slip out of my pocket because of how tall they are. This Essential is of a size in which it will not slip out, but also can fit in normal size pocket sideways. Therefore no chance in popping out The Essential is pretty much the same size as the new iPhone X. However there in no large notch on the top of the screen, no strange gestures to get around, no large price tag to pay and it has a fingerprint scanner. Do your selfs a favor and check out this phone. You will be glad you did.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Very Nice Phone Small Size Big Screen

    Posted
    GSSISBST
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    The only thing holding me back from giving this phone a 5-star rating is the camera app. The latest update has improved it a lot. I just used Open Camera in its' place until the last camera update. Now the Stocked Camera app is usable. The fit and finish of the phone are amazing. It feels great in your hand and the ceramic back creates friction with your hand. This phone does not feel slippery at all.The Software is very polished after yesterdays Firmware update. I was using S7+ and then an iPhone 7+ which both are much larger with a smaller screen and slippery phones. The PH-1 screen is completely usable in sunlight. It is a very nice display! The fingerprint button works much better than the iPhone. My headphones are Bluetooth so I don't care about a missing headphone jack. There is an audio adapter included in the box but I don't use it all. I am a die hard Windows Mobile fan and have finally found a comparable phone and OS in my opinion. The Microsoft software integrates great with this phone. Cortana is my default Assistant and she communicates with my PC to keep me productive. The frequency of updates from the Essential team is outstanding! Keep them coming. The 360 Camera will come in useful for my job. It's weird to me that the 360 Camera when attached has always worked great from the minute that I took the phone out of the box. The weird part is that the embedded camera's software wasn't usable at launch. The 360 Camera stays in focus the entire time and the audio that is captured is great. The file sizes are large. Uploading to YouTube works great and a 360view is seen by the user. I prefer to not use a case or screen protectors for my phones for personal reasons. I always carry a phone face first in my front pocket of my pants.I've had the phone for a week+ and there are 2 small scratches on the back and one was a diamond in a ring. That not bad at all in my opinion.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    really nice

    Posted
    jamie3529
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    Bought this the other day just because I could. I've used many many phones, currently using Galaxy S8 as work, bought this Essential phone to try on my personal number. Had it 5 days, so far I really like it. It is probably the nicest phone to hold in the hand that i've had, perhaps only the iPhone 5 was better to hold without a case. The square edges are great. I also absolutely love the fact that when I set it up, there are no apps I didn't want on the phone. Its clean, only android. No signing into a manufacturer account, no carrier apps, nothing. I added only what I want. Easiest phone set up ever. Display is beautiful. Galaxy S8 has richer color, and blacker blacks, but I still have issues with the S8 curved edges reflecting light, especially watching video. Essential phone has a nice flat screen, and is a delight every time I unlock the phone. Camera is not up to par with the S8. (This is why I carry an S8. For the camera) But Essential camera is not bad by any means, and in fact some photos I like better than the S8. Essential phone is fast, very smooth to operate. Fingerprint sensor is fast although I wish it wasn't quite as flush as it is, sometimes hard to find. I believe the fingerprint sensors on Huawei phones are the best and fastest I've used, but the Essential is very good. Certainly better positioned than the fingerprint sensor on the S8. At its current price, this Essential phone is outstanding, in my opinion. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. No regrets. (wish it had a headphone jack though....)

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great phone

    Posted
    Lance
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I was the person who was looking for the in between of a Samsung and iphone. I found it in this. I had the iphone 6 plus for three years and I loved it but it was getting slow and Apple priced me out of the market with their newest X phone. I loved the idea of a new company coming along to challenge the status quo so I gave Essential a shot. I don't regret it. This phone is beautiful. As one person said "I want to wrap it in a towel and hold it like a baby"; I can't stop holding this thing and looking at the screen. Feels very well made. The screen is big and beautiful. Andy Rubin and company made the hardware lightning fast. The phone loads apps in a hurry. Internet searches are almost instantaneous. So far no defects like you might get with other phones such as swelling batteries. The ceramic back is beautiful. Careful not to lay on tilted surfaces as it will slide. The fingerprint sensor is extremely accurate and extremely fast. The phone is the perfect size to use one handed yet has a massive screen. Essential played it smart,... have the hardware in place and everything else can be fixed with software updates. I've read some some complaints about the camera but I haven't had any issues. Besides that, I'm not one to go around wasting my day taking photographs. I liked the simple iphone interface but you can get apps to fully customize the Essential to be like an iPhone: Google Duo is Google's answer to FaceTime and is supposed to work better and there are apps that look similar to iMessages. I really have no complaints about the phone. Maybe make the price $649, but then again I'm a tightwad. I really hope to see this company succeed. To have made a phone this impressive with under 100 employees is exceptional and extraordinary. I'm an Essential fan for sure. Also, I use Cricket Wireless which is owned by ATT and I popped my sim card in and the phone worked with no problems.

    I would recommend this to a friend



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