New Essential Phone Turns Smartphone Design on its Head

10/14/2019     Author: Billy Gray

If you thought that you’d seen it all, then phone company Essential are here to show you that you haven’t with their very weird new photos of a narrow smartphone.


We’ve pretty much seen every weird smartphone going recently. Samsung and Huawei’s foldable phones are changing the way that we think about our handsets and looking into a future of unstoppable innovation. In the wake of this rethinking of what a smartphone should be, it seems that no front is going to be left untapped.

If you thought that you needed to be a foldable phone to be original today, then Essential Products CEO Andy Rubin’s latest twitter photos will have you reconsider your position. The photos show a narrow ‘half-width’ phone with a color capturing back changes depending on how the light hits it. It’s an odd shape for a smartphone and certainly won’t be the most idea thing to watch Netflix on.

That being said, this new phone could prove to be a hit among people looking for something different in a phone. Then again, the odd design is likely enough to put most people off. It essentially looks like an old Nokia flip phone that doesn’t fold.

In this post, we’ll have a look at the new Essential Phone and whether or not you’d be likely to want to buy it. We don’t know too much about the inner workings of the phone yet, or how much it’ll cost, but we can show you the design and some of the features based on the photos and videos that we have available to us from the web.

Essential Phone design

The phone has a long and narrow design which allows for multiple apps to be open on the screen and stacked on top of one another. This is quite a cool feature and will likely make up the selling point of the phone’s UI. But this isn’t the only thing about the design of the weird new Essential Phone that makes the design that makes the phone stand out. Let’s have a closer look…

Colorshift back

The video of the new Essential Phone that the CEO of the company tweeted shows a similar Colorshift material used for the back casing of the device as we saw on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. This gives the phone a very unique look which changes color depending on how the light hits it. This will please some people, while others might find it a bit much. In short, it sticks to the phone’s theme of breaking convention and this certainly makes it more interesting to look at than the average handset.

App stacking

In the pictures released of the phone in use, we can see that apps are stacked on top of each while in use and that you can scroll through them with ease, without closing them or putting them in the background. This essentially means that you can scroll through all your tasks like a news feed and keep an eye on everything that you’re doing with ease.

This will no doubt be one of the selling points of the phone’s UI and it will make the device more all-round useful. It’s actually a very convenient looking feature to have on a smartphone – although some users may find it to be a little pointless.


The phone will feature a camera, although it appears to only have one lens. This would likely be a fairly high megapixel count if it is the case. The camera is located on the rear of the phone in a circular bump. The front facing camera appears to be in a punch-hole, although it isn’t clear that this is actually a camera – it could be something else. If that’s the case, then the Essential Phone may have a camera underneath the screen.

This would mean that it wouldn’t be able to use facial recognition to unlock the phone, but it has a fingerprint scanner on the rear under the camera lens, so this could actually be quite a likely scenario. The fingerprint scanner appears to be in a comfortable position towards the top of the rear of the phone.

Narrow, no fold

At first glance, you’d be mistaken for thinking that this was some kind of cool foldable flip smartphone – which it isn’t. That would be very cool and it’s likely that we’ll see this design in the future, although at present it would be very expensive and foldable screen technology is still very much in trial. The narrow Essential Phone that we’re seeing is a non-foldable phone that seeks to make something interesting out of a design that you’ve never seen before.

No notch

While the original smartphone to come from Essential Products featured an iPhone-style notch, it appears that the next phone to come from the company won’t have one. The front-facing camera appears to be a pin hole one similar to what Samsung used in the S-10 range. It looks like this phone will copy the current trend of cutting out the notch in favor of extra screen space.


There are some obvious downsides to this phone. You won’t be able to comfortably watch Netflix, YouTube, or anything else, and frankly, while the device will have a camera, good luck reviewing your pictures on such a narrow screen.

Sure, no one has done this before – and there’s a reason why no one has done it. It’s a completely impractical way to design a smartphone. Frankly, we’re willing to wager that no one is going to buy this thing. It’s simply not in tune with the current demand for a large screen, decent photos, and the ability to watch videos and play games.

Maybe your Nan will buy it, but we’re struggling to see who else would be interested in a phone designed like this. You don’t get too many points for going where no one has gone before if there’s a good reason why no one ever went there in the first place.

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