The first Essential Phone was a good device, and everything that the first wave of Android phone enthusiasts could have wanted. But by the time the Essential company and the PH-1 existed, the general public had moved beyond their initial any-new-Android frenzy. Now we're in an era where the most fad-friendly phone is king, and only king for a half-cycle. Essential's first phone release is an attempt to check all the boxes for innovation but remain bare-bones at the same time. Therein lies the Essential struggle.