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Essential Phone - Unboxing and First Impressions - Sprint Product Ambassadors

Sprint Product Ambassador

Hey Everyone!


Boy, has it been a busy end of the year with some downright amazing devices in the Sprint lineup!  I have been swapping between devices quite frequently in recent weeks and I am having a difficult time finding a true favorite.


Today’s blog is about the Essential Phone.  This phone is absolutely gorgeous and immediately shouts “premium” when you see and feel it.  It’s nice to have a new player in the smartphone market next to the other big dogs, and I look forward to continued development from Essential!




The phone comes in a rather large square box that doesn’t have a lot of frills or graphics, just a simple image of the Essential Phone and a label on the back. The label on the back includes some peel-away adhesive that opens the phone and allows its contents to slide out. I rather liked this because it added a “pop” to the unboxing experience.


When you slide out the tray within the box you’re presented with the phone, a braided USB Type-C Cable (Type-C on both ends), a USB Type-C to 3.5 MM Headset jack adapter, and a charging block. The separator in the middle of pull-out tray contains some regulatory and warranty information, as well as the SIM tray popper made to look like the Essential logo (nice touch!).

The boxThe boxThe opening experienceThe opening experienceWhat's in the boxWhat's in the boxBraided USB Type-C + Headset AdapterBraided USB Type-C + Headset AdapterSIM Tray PopperSIM Tray Popper


I charged my device before powering it on and using it, and I was presented with a different battery charging icon than other devices. Instead of the typical battery, I was presented with a coffee cup indicator, which is a nice touch because it signifies a re-charge, like all of us need!





Setup was a breeze once I performed an ESN Swap with Sprint via my online account. I just turned the phone on and it activated quickly. After it reboots from the activation you may be presented with a software update – be patient while this is downloaded and completed. I highly recommend connecting to a WiFi network to complete this action, especially if you’re on a limited data plan.

Once it’s installed, the device restarts and you can then sign into your Google account and move applications and the like to the device via the on-screen directions. I chose to set up as a new device to start fresh and then install apps as I went along.




First Impressions:

The device is clean in both software and hardware. The software is quite beautiful because it is bare-bones out of the box. There are no overlays, no “bloatware” apps that people tend to never use, and there is ample storage space available for applications, photos, etc. The only application that is not Android-stock is the My Sprint application, which is installed after activation – this app is far from bloatware since you can view/pay you bill, track your usage, and report any connectivity issues through it.



The device only has 20 applications on it out of the box, which are mainly all Google applications such as Chrome, Duo, YouTube, and Photos.


Installed apps at activationInstalled apps at activation

The hardware is clean, slick, and impressive. I love the look and feel of the device as I am using it. It’s a bit heavy, but it feels sturdy in my hand compared to other devices that have a plastic feel to them. The edge-to-edge screen is perfection; I love seeing the most amount of real estate possible in use for the beautiful screen.


TIP – The ceramic backing, as well as the screen, is a fingerprint magnet! I recommend keeping a lint-free cloth handy, such as those used for eyeglasses, to remove unwanted fingerprints and dust from the device.





The Essential Phone reminds me of my Nexus 6P in the sense that there are strictly Google apps on the device at configuration and it just works.  The hardware and software of the Essential Phone make a great combination, and I am looking forward to putting this device to the test!


Follow my blog for additional updates on the Essential Phone as I continue to use this device!


As always, thank you for stopping by to read this!  What do you like most about the Essential Phone? What don’t you like?  Let me know in the comments below!


Troy Glidden

Service & Repair Manager

Portland, OR area

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The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. 

Until next time!

1 Comment


How has this phone been performing on the sprint network?

Especially in the antenna performance and the DC metro area.

I have heard horror stories. But it has the Qualcomm X16 modem which is gigabit LTE ready and it has Sprint's proprietary Band 41. So theoretically it should be able to take advantage of sprints network upgrades, unless the bezel-less screen and ceramics design have negatively impacted the radio performance. Don't want to make a purchase I will have to immediately replace. 

Any data would be appreciated.