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Essential really seems want to get rid of whatever phones it has left in stock. Last month we in which the first and only Android phone was marked down to $250 on Amazon Prime Day. On Monday, the device is going for even less than that, as Amazon is .
The Essential Phone first sold for $699 when it launched last summer and has undergone a couple of after sales reportedly fell short of expectations. To be clear, the device still : there’s no water resistance, no microSD slot, no headphone jack, and some users have reported issues with reception on T-Mobile in the past. Battery life is just okay, and even after several updates the camera isn’t really competitive with any other flagship phone from last year. Essential’s modular accessory system has been a total bust, too.
But most of those criticisms aren’t as bad in the context of a $220 phone. The phone still uses a Snapdragon 835, last year’s premier SoC, and still runs smoothly. The ceramic back, along with the slim bezels and notch around the display, look and feel much higher-end than anything else currently going in this price range. It also comes with 128GB of storage by default.
Most notably, the deal makes the Essential Phone the cheapest way into Android 9 Pie. Essential on the day it became available, a first for a non-Google device. The phone’s UI is a more or less stock version of Android on top of that. The “Halo Gray” model here is technically exclusive to Amazon, so it comes with the company’s Alexa assistant baked in, but it’s still possible to ignore that and use the Google Assistant instead.
You’re still assuming some risk here: with Essential’s future so up in the air, it’s unclear if it’ll be able to supply the two years of software updates it initially promised for the phone. Healthy companies typically don’t slash the price of their flagship product by $475 a year after launch. But the device does have an unlockable bootloader for tinkerers the device on their own, and the track record for software updates in this price range usually isn’t stellar in the first place. As long as you understand that you’re not really getting a phone worth $699 here, this is a good deal for a little while longer.
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