As good as the iPhone is, it’s kind of lost its sex appeal. It’s pretty, sure, but it hasn’t moved forward leaps and bounds from a design perspective. Andy Rubin, the inventor of Android, finally revealed his new smartphone today, called Essential – and it’s definitely hoping to take its place.
The Essential Phone is a sleek titanium device that measures 141.5×71.1×7.8mm and weighs just 185 grams. It features an edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass 2560×1312 QHD 5.71-inch display that extends above the front-facing camera. That camera features an 8MP sensor with a 16:9 aspect ratio behind an f/2.2 aperture lens. It can shoot video at 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps.
On the back of the camera is where the really exciting stuff is. There you’ll find the world’s thinnest dual camera system on any phone: a 13-megapixel pair of cameras – one with an RGB color sensor and one with a Monochrome sensor – that utilize “image fusion” technology. “It uses both color and monochrome sensors that can capture up to 200% more light than traditional phone cameras,” Essential Products claims. “This results in stunning images that are rich in color and detail, even in low light.”
What also makes the Essential so special is that the phone is modular, giving it a unique place in the market. An array of accessories can be clipped on, including a 360-degree camera and charging dock. But there is no headphone jack, though a headphone dongle will come included in the box.
“Devices are your personal property,” Rubin wrote in a blog post today announcing his new company. “We won’t force you to have anything on them you don’t want to have.” “We will always play well with others. Closed ecosystems are divisive and outdated,” writes Rubin. This is in complete contrast to Apple, which tends to be selective about what apps can run on the iPhone.
Other specs and features of the Essential Phone include Android OS, 10 finger multi-touch, a fingerprint reader, 4 microphones, a 3040mAh battery, fast charging via USB, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, Wi-Fi/NFC/Bluetooth connectivity, a Qualcomm 835 processor, and a USB Type-C port.
The Essential also features a screen that stretches to cover the full front of the phone. Even the camera lens is embedded in the screen.
The Essential Phone comes in 4 colors (Black Moon, Stellar Grey, Pure White, and Ocean Depths) and can be pre-ordered today for $699 by itself or $749 if bundled with the 360-degree camera attachment. No word yet on when the phones will actually begin shipping.