Apple this week launched the iPhone 15 Pro, its first smartphone made with a titanium frame. That launch will bring the material to the masses, but it also reminds us of 2017’s Essential Phone, the short-lived Android phone that had a premium build that was so far ahead of its time.
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The Essential Phone, or “PH-1,” debuted at a time when there was a lot more competition in Android. Google Pixel was just getting started, LG hadn’t thrown in the towel yet, and everything about Essential just seemed so promising back in 2017 when it was being teased. That initial impression was only backed up by hands-on time with the device.
There are plenty of elements of the PH-1 that didn’t age well, or even start off great. The LCD screen was objectively worse than OLED, and the cameras were basically trash. But from a hardware standpoint, the Essential Phone remains the best hardware Android has possibly ever seen. It’s certainly the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.
And, to a certain extent, I think Essential’s use of titanium might be better than Apple’s.
The polished titanium frame of the Essential Phone picks up fingerprints but at nowhere near the rate of the iPhone 15 Pro, which frankly looks gross based on hands-on coverage from our sister site 9to5Mac as well as other outlets such as The Verge. Presumably, that’s due to the…
There's something about the balminess of summer that makes you want to let loose. And the right soundtrack makes all the difference. Mixing hip-hop and R&B with Afrobeats, dancehall, and more, here’s a playlist to take you through those warm nights. Our editors regularly update this playlist, so if you hear something you like, add it to your library and keep the party going. Listen to Apple Music