Andy Rubin, known globally as the father of Android, was responsible behind the launch of the new Essential Phone. This Android smartphone is made using premium materials and has what it takes to compete with the high-end flagships in the market today. But how does it fare against the Samsung Galaxy S8, which is the benchmark we use to compare all new smartphones. The handset comes with an exciting design which has won critical acclaim from experts and users alike. Keeping this in mind, it’s imperative that we look at some of the key positives and negatives of both smartphones to ascertain which one has more weight over the other.
One thing coming in the way of the Galaxy S8 has already been in the industry for a handful of months. Essential will have to figure out its marketing strategy if it wants the new handset to compete with the bigger flagships in the industry. With that in mind, let’s have a brief look at the hardware of both smartphones.
Essential PH-1 Vs Galaxy S8 Best 2017 Phone Comparison
Design & Display
The Galaxy S8 is incredibly thin, so much so that it basically has only a glass panel holding it together. This is a sacrifice that the company had to make to keep the thickness and weight to a minimum. Essential, however, takes a different route with its offering by offering a titanium based casing and ceramic back panel, which offers more durability than the all-glass back of the Galaxy S8. What’s immediately apparent from both phones is that they have very slim bezels on the front, which makes for an exciting smartphone experience. I particularly like the front panel on the Essential Phone, with the front facing camera almost embedded within the display.
In terms of display performance, though, the 5.8-inch 2960 x 1440 Super AMOLED panel on the Galaxy S8 comfortably beats the 5.71-inch 2560 x 1312 LCD panel on the Essential Phone. Given the years of experience Samsung has with AMOLED displays, this was always going to be a no-contest. However, it’s clear that the customers will feel that both phones feel like highly capable flagships in the hand. The Essential Phone makes up for its inadequacies in the display segment in other areas. It has a screen-to-body ratio of 84.9%, which is better than the Galaxy S8.
The Essential Phone comes with a 13-megapixel f/1.9 dual-camera layout on the back, accompanied by laser autofocus and dual-tone LED flash. The front is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera which merges with the display almost. It’s not all for show though, as it’s a pretty decent camera on its own. The dual rear cameras on the Essential Phone is slightly different than what we’re used to. It can take photos in standard RGB and monochrome, and give you a perfect combination of both. However, the lack of depth of field effects is a bit of a letdown.
The Galaxy S8 uses a 12-megapixel f/1.7 single sensor on the back, and it really shines. It is one of the best mobile cameras available in the industry today, and with good reason. The Galaxy S8 also comes with an 8-megapixel front camera, which is known for its wide angle selfies and low light photos. So when we talk about camera performance, it’s clear that this is a no contest between the two phones. Perhaps Essential could have put in more work on the camera aspect rather than just using a dual camera on board.
Both the Galaxy S8 and the Essential Phone come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, which uses Qualcomm’s custom Kryo cores on board. There’s very little to differentiate between the two phones in this regard, so we’re going to call this a tie. Most flagship smartphones utilize the Snapdragon 835 chipset in 2017, so this is one area where manufacturers don’t have much room to one-up their rivals.
Much like the processor, both phones come with 4GB of RAM on board. However, given that the Essential Phone packs a pretty uncluttered version of Android, we expect the performance to be smoother on the device. The Galaxy S8 comes with a massive pile of features and bloatware, most of which will never be used by the customers.
The Essential Phone packs a 3,040 mAh battery on board, which can comfortably last you the entire day on a full charge. The company hasn’t provided detailed battery life data for the phone, so we’ll reserve judgment until we have more word on that front.
The Galaxy S8 comes with a slightly smaller 3,000 mAh battery under the hood which will apparently offer talktime of 20 hours. In any scenario, customers should be able to eke out at least a day’s worth of usage with either phone.
Both phones pack USB C ports on board, along with rear mounted fingerprint scanners. The Galaxy S8, however, comes with some additional internal features like DeX support, Samsung Pay, and the custom features that you won’t find on any other phone. The Galaxy S8 also comes with Bixby support on board, while you will have to rely on Google Assistant, or a third-party offering like Amazon’s Alexa. There are add-on accessories that can be snapped on to the device, which have to be bought separately. There’s a $149 3D camera accessory that can be snapped on to the rear of the device, which is worth a look. The Galaxy S8 runs Android 7.0 by default, while the Essential Phone comes with Android 7.1 on board.
The Essential Phone will set you back by $699 in the U.S., or $749 with the add-on 3D camera accessory. This makes for a pretty exciting combination. The Galaxy S8, on the other hand, can be bought for $574.99 via Amazon, which is a pretty reasonable price for an early 2017 flagship. The handset can also be bought via all major U.S. carriers.
When it comes down to raw features, there’s no denying that the Galaxy S8 hits the jackpot. However, the Essential Phone is a pretty capable device of its own, thanks to its robust body, consisting of titanium and ceramic. If you don’t mind trying out a new brand, we can definitely suggest getting the Essential Phone. However, if you want something substantial, and a flagship with all the catchy features, you can’t do much better than the Galaxy S8 right now.