The Essential PH-1, also referred to by many as the Essential Phone, is finally available to purchase, though at the moment there are only a few places to do so in the U.S., which includes the Essential website, through Amazon, or through Sprint’s website and at Sprint stores as Sprint will be the exclusive carrier in the U.S. for selling the phone. While the phone can be picked up through Amazon and Essential’s own website as an unlocked device, there are some consumers who might prefer to purchase the phone directly from their carriers, but that won’t be possible for anyone but Sprint customers.
That might not bother some as an unlocked device is really just as easy to set up with carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T, but that still doesn’t change the fact that you won’t be able to walk into one of those retail stores and buy the phone, then walk out with it. This is where some consumers might take issue with the Essential PH-1 being available from just one carrier exclusively. While carrier exclusivity doesn’t always mean bad things for a device, it’s not always a good situation either. One only needs to look at the Fire Phone to see what having a single carrier partner can do to a device. Of course there are differences here as the Essential PH-1 is available unlocked and will work with other carriers, whereas the Fire Phone was an AT&T exclusive phone only.
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Eventually, Essential will be selling the device at Best Buy stores too, so those who are willing to wait will be able to grab the unlocked model from a local Best Buy and walk out with it, but it doesn’t look like Essential has mentioned when exactly Best Buy will pick up the device, just that it would be coming soon, which could mean in a week or two or it could mean in a couple of months. The Essential PH-1 is equipped with specs that are comparable to most other flagships so far this year, and even has some slightly unique offerings like the 360-camera attachment. For the most part it, at least on paper, is a capable phone and could be one of the year’s best, but should it be available from more carriers?