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I picked up the Essential phone on a Black Friday deal, just before Andy Rubin took his "vacation". The phone came to just under $428.00 with NJ sales tax. The phone came with the camera on back order. I canceled the camera, and got the PH-1 for $292 with sales tax. So far very happy, I did play with one several times at a local Best Buy, and was impressed with the LCD screen. The phone is of course unlocked and is not a Sprint version of the phone. So not having to sign with Sprint, then having to go through De-Sprintifcation is well worth any extra I would have to pay buying an the all other carrier version, which is on Essential's ota channel, not Sprint.
Pro's, nice size and feel, the display is sharp and crisp. Phone is fast, came with no bloat and with basically what is required by Google and that's it. Not even an app for Essential. You basically just add what you want and go from there. The quick charger and cable are very well made, and charges fast. The phone is constructed well, and looks well. The notch, isn't bad, but it's there.
Con's, I don't know what will happen to Essential in the near future. Of course the notch. Lack of cases, though I did find one decent one from Tudia and an IQ screen protector. When I set the phone up, it went through like 4 or 5 ota's, both roms and mostly security updates, I don't know why it just didn't go to the last and go from there, but it's a minor inconvenience. Haven't played a lot with the camera, but it isn't as good as my S8+ and iPhone 7+. Their website, doesn't seem to offer any forums, or much in any way of interfacing with the company. Just a very slick sales platform.
I don't think I would pay more then $400 for just the phone mainly because of being uncertain of the companies future. But $400 plus sales tax for the phone and 360 camera is a good deal. Using the phone with Mintsim, and probably will move it over to my AT&T family plan.