Essential's debut device, the Essential PH-1, is now down to only $5 per month on a Sprint Flex lease after a $25 down payment, for qualifying customers. The lease lasts 18 months, after which the consumer can pay the balance between what they've paid at that point and the full price of the phone in order to own it outright, or they can trade it in and go to another device. The approximate price of a large latte each month, with a down payment equivalent to the average used video game for a modern console, nets you a 128GB unit in your choice of Black Moon or Pure White.
Landing in the bargain bin may help the Essential Phone's popularity, though unlocked units are not officially any cheaper. Those can be found secondhand, however, for around $400 to $500. Since Sprint is the only major carrier with the Essential Phone in its repertoire, it's hard to say just how this promotion will affect the device's market value. Being down to this price on a Sprint Flex lease plan means that it's about half the monthly price of a used iPhone 6S on the carrier's leasing plan, and makes it one of the cheapest devices on Sprint. The extremely low price is a bit of a double-edged sword, as the phone still retails for $699. This means that customers who decide to give it a try at this low price point and fall in love over the course of 18 months will be on the hook for over $500, or they'll have to choose between being tethered to a longer lease term or bidding the Essential Phone farewell in favor of another device.
The Essential Phone boasts a unique form factor, bearing a front body that's nearly all screen, save for the bottom lip and the front camera. The device's design can be said to be similar to the iPhone X, though it should be noted that the Essential Phone came before Apple's newest, making it the progenitor of the notable protrusion in the top of the screen that the iPhone X is getting second looks over. Quirky design aside, the Essential Phone boasts some fairly great features, such as a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 on the inside, along with 6GB of RAM, and even modular capabilities. If you happen to be a current or prospective Sprint customer and the Essential Phone has piqued your curiosity, there's never been a better time to check it out. If you end up liking the phone but not the carrier, you can take it to any of the other 3 major carriers in the United States, provided you pay it off and unlock it first.