Hands On With Essential PH-1 360 Camera & Earphones HD - MWC 2018

Startup essential founded by Android co-creator Andy Rubin arrived at this year's iteration of Mobile World Congress to showcase a number of new color options for its first handset, as well as remind visitors about the capabilities of its first two accessories for the PH-1 - the modular 360 Camera attachment and the Earphones HD. Both gadgets were initially introduced alongside the smartphone itself last summer but are still widely touted as "essential" for any PH-1 owner looking to get the most out of their Android-powered flagship.

While the Earphones HD boast high-resolution audio, that's just one part of the overall package that can easily be described as ultra-premium in nature. Swappable ear tips that come bundled with the accessory are meant to ensure anyone will find the perfect fit for their own earlobes, whereas the overall build of the headphones is sturdy but extremely lightweight. While that isn't an unprecedented combination of features, it's one that still can't be easily found in the sub-$100 segment of the audio equipment market. The USB Type-C headphones can natively communicate with Windows and macOS-powered devices, whereas they also feature a multifunctional button that can be used for answering and ending phone calls, controlling music playback, and summoning the Google Assistant on the Essential PH-1 running Android Oreo. Coupled with a tangle-free cord and a hard shell case that's bundled with the device, the Earphones HD are advertised as the best audio accessory for the PH-1 and have the specs to back those claims.

The self-explanatory 360 Camera is the firm's first gadget capable of being attached to the rear-facing magnetic pins of the PH-1, transforming the bezel-less smartphone into a highly portable tool for 360-degree filmmaking. While the main camera of the PH-1 was one of the smartphone's sore points, the startup has been hard at work improving it through software upgrades in recent months and is also advertising its imaging accessory as a perfect way to complement the handset in case you're looking to take your photography and video recording to the next level. The accessory is said to be the world's smallest 4K 360 camera that can also capture regular content should you want it to do so.

While speaking on the sidelines of MWC 2018, Essential representatives told Android Headlines the company is presently reviewing a release candidate for Android 8.1 Oreo after deciding to skip the 8.0 build altogether and upgrade its devices directly to the latest version of Google's operating system from Android 7.1 Nougat. The development kit for the PH-1 is also coming out "soon," the company confirmed, but wasn't willing to divulge additional details on the matter. Essential is still adamant to continue releasing new accessories for the PH-1 that will presumably also be compatible with its successor that's likely to hit the market in the second half of the year. One "Hi-Fi" module is currently in the works, whereas the previously announced Essential Phone Dock remains in active development. Other accessories are also being prepared but the company is only planning to share some concrete information on them later this year.

Essential Earphones HD

Essential 360 Camera

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]