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Essential Phone gets essential price cut of US$200

Even more essential? The Essential Phone now starts from just US$499. (Source: Essential)
Even more essential? The Essential Phone now starts from just US$499. (Source: Essential)
Andy Rubin has slashed US$200 off the starting price of his Essential Phone PH-1. The move follows reports that the device has had a less than stellar sales start.

Andy Rubin is learning all about what it feels like to try launch a high-end smartphone in the face of overwhelming competition from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google. After reportedly recording only 5,000 sales through its carrier partner Sprint in the first month after its launch, it has now been forced to slash US$200 from the original starting price of US$699 for its Essential Phone PH-1. Essential is hoping that its new price of US$499 will help to rekindle interest in the device.

The timing of the price cut could well have arrived at just the right time for Essential. With reports that Google’s flagship Pixel 2 XL pOLED display may not be up to scratch for a device at its price point, people who had held out for the Pixel 2 XL over the Essential Phone might be encouraged to take another look at the device. The Verge’s Vlad Savov called the Pixel 2 XL display “weird” in how it displays colors, while a fresh report suggest that it could also been prone to screen burn in.

Like the Pixel 2 XL, the Essential Phone PH-1 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, but is made out of particularly high-end materials including ceramic and titanium. Essential says that the price cut arrived after the company decided to rule out “a massive TV campaign to capture your attention. Given that Apple, Samsung and Google all have enormous advertising budgets, the price cut probably makes a lot more sense than trying to compete on that front.

The main criticism leveled at the Essential Phone has been its camera quality. Essential, however, has promised to address any shortcomings in this area through software updates. While it doesn’t feature an OLED display, it does, however, feature a very high quality LCD panel. Unless Google’s DayDream VR compatibility is particularly important to you, the Essential Phone may just have become essential buying at its new price point.

And if you're wondering about the early adopters who picked up the device at the original US$699 asking price? They get an Essential Store voucher worth US$200 to help salve any wounds.


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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2017-10-23 (Update: 2017-10-23)