No matter how good the iPhone X looks, it still won’t pull away the staunchest of Android users.
For some Android fans, making the jump to the iPhone’s iOS operating system just isn’t an option, no matter how much thicker the bezels are on the Pixel 2 phones, Samsung Galaxy phones, LG phones, and even the latest OnePlus 5t.
But Android users have to admit, the iPhone X is absolutely gorgeous, even with that “notch” at the top of the screen.
There is one Android phone, however, that could match the iPhone X in looks and feel, and it costs half as much as the iPhone X. It even runs a near-stock version of Android, which I’ll always recommend over heavily skinned versions of Android that you find on Galaxy and LG phones.
I’m talking about the Phone from Essential. Here’s why it rivals the iPhone X:
The Essential phone has the thinnest borders around the display compared to any Android phone, save for the bottom bezel.
While the Phone may not be fully edge-to-edge like the iPhone X thanks to its bottom bezel, it comes pretty close. It comes closer to that iPhone X edge-to-edge design than any other Android phone out there, including the Samsung Galaxy Phones.
Spec-wise, the Phone's display is a 5.7-inch IPS display, which doesn't quite get the same depth of contrast as the OLED panel on the iPhone X or the AMOLED panels on many Android phones, but it's a beautiful display regardless.
And since this is a comparison with the iPhone X, we'd be remiss in not mentioning the fact that the Essential Phone also has the dreaded 'notch' at the top of its screen -- but this notch is smaller than the iPhone X's.
Thanks to its near edge-to-edge design, the Phone is the most striking and beautiful Android smartphone you can buy at the moment.
The Phone runs on the fastest and latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and packs 4GB of RAM, which is pretty standard across the range of Android flagship handsets. That means it has some serious power, and it glides through a day of intense usage. The battery is on the smaller end compared to those in other Android flagship devices, and doesn't offer the best in Android smartphone battery life, but for most people it should provide a full day of usage.
Storage-wise, the only option you get is 128GB of flash memory, which is plenty for photos, videos, and music if you still store those on your phone instead of using a cloud service. It's also more than enough for apps.
Most flagship Android phones are clad in either glass or metal, which is the standard for premium devices. The Phone, however, has a ceramic back that's incredibly resistant to scratches, and it has a beautiful deep gloss that glass just can't achieve.
The Phone's titanium frame also makes it feel rock-solid, and it's more durable against scratches, scuff, dents, and other damage than the aluminium frame around most flagship Android phones. If it doesn't exceed the premium looks and feel of the iPhone X's ultra stainless steel frame, the Essential Phone's titanium frame at least matches it.
Android doesn't need to be messed with, which is something that Essential thankfully recognises. Companies like Samsung and LG add their own layer of design and functionality on top of Android. These so-called 'launchers' don't look as good as the clean and simple Android design, and they often negatively affect the performance of the phones.
You won't find any unwanted pre-installed apps called 'bloatware' on the Phone, either.
The Phone's camera might not be an iPhone X or Pixel 2 killer, but it still has a great camera that anyone would be happy with.
While I appreciate the Essential Phone's near-stock Android operating system, it's not quite as feature-packed as the iPhone X. You won't find facial recognition on the Phone, like the iPhone X's Face ID, but the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Phone will do just fine to unlock the phone.
You may also find the Phone's camera app a little bare on the feature front compared to the iPhone X. For one, it doesn't have a portrait mode to blur backgrounds and give your photos that professional touch. Still, everyone managed without portrait mode before.
The Essential Phone isn't without its compromises compared to the iPhone X, but it's still one of the best-looking Android smartphones you can buy. And for its $880-945 price tag compared to the iPhone X's $1,579 asking price, those compromises may be easier to accept.