A new video is now up on YouTube from prominent YouTuber JerryRigEverything, taking Essential to task over its claim that its Essential PH-1 phone doesn't actually require a case to protect it. Although the video shows pretty conclusively that is probably a gamble most users won't want to take with a device costing around $824 in some regions, it does hold up remarkably well without the added protection.
As to the test itself, the drop test was conducted about as scientifically as a drop test can be outside of the lab, with the host dropping the device in different real-world scenarios. That means drops from a seated position, then from pocket height, and finally from head height. Despite the overall integrity of the device being compromised during a scratch test, Essential's phone handles the seven drops relatively well. In fact, the ceramic back of the device takes almost no damage, despite having a higher than average rigidity - with a Mohs rating of 8. Meanwhile, the titanium sides of the device also show almost no damage at all following the test. Bearing that in mind, the screen and its plastic surround takes the brunt of the damage, which is surprising because a surface with a lower Mohs rating should be able to handle impacts better. Moreover, the screen shows significant damage after a single drop from knee height and stops working entirely after being dropped for only the fifth time - a fall from pocket height.
The fact that the back and edges of the device remain in pristine condition after taking so much abuse is a testament to how well-built and designed the Essential PH-1 is. However, what the video shows is that Essential's claim that it doesn't require a case may have been a bit premature. No testing can really be considered conclusive and customers who have already bought the flagship or who plan to buy one will almost certainly want to buy a screen protector at very least. In the meantime, the video - which has a run time of just over six and a half minutes - has been included below for anybody wanting to check it out for themselves.