Excitement can only last so long before we start expecting the product to match.
I published my initial Essential Phone review on August 18. 11 days later, after a few more software updates and extra time with it, I solidified the review with my final thoughts on the phone. But somehow, today, as we hit one month since Essential deemed its phones available and ready to review, the phone still doesn’t seem … complete. Though the Essential Phone is technically available, on sale, and in some consumers’ hands, it doesn’t feel like it’s really out there yet.
Nobody outside of Essential knows how many phones have been ordered, or how that number differs from how many have been made. But we know it isn’t millions — or, probably, over fifty thousand if we’re being realistic about it. Add to that the extremely narrow scope of its retail launch and the initial shipping delays, and it’s not surprising that the Essential Phone feels like it’s still stuck in first gear.
But as someone who’s been using the Essential Phone for over a month, and dealing with its clearly unfinished software, that’s probably for the best. This past week my Essential Phone received both an 888MB full OS update and a subsequent 71MB bug fix update. Two in a line of roughly 10 OTAs I’ve received in the past month — necessary, badly needed updates. Most focused on the camera, which is still below the standard of a $700 phone, but also squashing important bugs and improving overall stability. Using the Essential Phone today is far and away a better experience than a month ago; and it still doesn’t feel like a completed product that should actually be on sale, to say nothing of being on sale at this price.
At some point we expect a