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Essential Phone vs iPhone X (2021): Designed To Complement The Operating System

Essential Products Inc. first entered the smartphone market in August 2017 with the release of the Essential Phone PH-1. According to CEO Andy Rubin, the hardware and specs of the PH-1 were designed to complement the near-stock version of Android. Tech-giant Apple follows a similar philosophy for their iOS as evident in the iPhone X. Both of these older flagship devices are excellent but one is better than the other in some aspects as we’ve detailed below.

Essential Phone vs iPhone X Comparison Chart

Model Essential Phone PH-1 iPhone X
Amazon product Amazon product 
PriceAmazon product Amazon product 
RatingAmazon product
Amazon product 
Amazon product
Amazon product 
BuildFront glass, titanium frame, ceramic backFront/back glass, stainless steel frame
Dimensions5.57 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches
Weight6.53 oz6.14 oz
Display5.71 inches, LTPS IPS LCD 5.8 inches, OLED
Screen Resolution1312 x 2560 pixels 1125 x 2436 pixels
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 835  Apple A11 Bionic
Operating SystemAndroid 7.1 (Nougat), upgradable to Android 9.0 (Pie) iOS 11.1.1, upgradable to iOS 12.3
Rear Camera13 MP, f/1.9 w/ laser AF
13 MP B/W, f/1.9 w/ laser AF
12 MP, f/1.8, 28mm (wide)
12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto)
Front Camera8 MP, f/2.2 7 MP, f/2.2 w/ Face ID
Battery3040 mAh Li-Ion2716 mAh Li-Ion
Wireless ChargingYesYes (sold separately)
Water ResistanceNoIP67 water resistant (up to 1m for 30 mins)


The iPhone X has a beautiful all-glass design but the Essential Phone is more durable with a titanium and ceramic build.

essential phone design
The Essential Phone is square and flat
iphone x design
The iPhone X has rounder edges

With regards to design, the iPhone X features a glass back, a glass front and stainless steel frame. Apple’s hardware is definitely top-notch though the stainless steel portion does feel slippery at times. It’s compact with dimensions of 5.57 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches and weighing 6.53 ounces.

Meanwhile, the Essential Phone is the first handset in the world to have a titanium-ceramic build. This helps prevent a shattered screen on the first drop. The PH-1 appears to be slightly shorter than the iPhone X but they’re actually close in size. It’s just that the iPhone is rounded where the PH-1 is square and flat. To compare, the PH-1 measures 5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches and weighs 6.14 ounces.


The display on the Essential Phone has a higher pixel count and a smaller notch at the top.

essential phone display
The screen on the Essential phone has a higher screen resolution

The Essential Phone carries an LTPS IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1312×2560 pixels. The iPhone X, on the other hand, is equipped with an OLED with a resolution of 1125×2436 pixels. Though it’s hard to tell the difference at first glance, the higher pixel count in the PH-1 is noticeable in how it produces certain colors better.

Although both devices boast of full displays, the screen on the Essential Phone is marginally smaller at 5.71 inches while the iPhone X has a 5.8-inch panel. There is less screen space on the iPhone though as its notch includes multiple sensors and cameras. The PH-1 only has a single camera taking up space at the top giving it the advantage.


Both the Essential Phone and iPhone X have a dual-camera system but the iPhone has more features along with a nicer front lens.

iphone x camera
The iPhone X offers more features on its cameras

The 7-megapixel front camera on the iPhone X has portrait mode as well as different lighting effects, making it more accurate and fun to use. The Essential Phone needs work on its 8-megapixel front-facing camera as it’s bare-bones compared to what’s on the iPhone.

Bearing a wide plus telephoto system, the iPhone X is still the better camera on the rear. The two 13-megapixel lenses with laser autofocus on the Essential Phone are decent. However, they are not as good as what you would find in other flagship phones released in the same year or within the same price range.


The Essential Phone has advanced specs but the hardware and processing power on the iPhone X is simply top-notch.

apple a11 bionic
The A11 Bionic chip on the iPhone X is faster

At the time it was launched, the Essential Phone had the latest specs such as the Snapdragon 835 paired with 4GB of RAM. It has everything you need to power an Android phone and have a comfortable user experience. The PH-1 comes with the Nougat by default although it is upgradable to Pie.

The iPhone X sports the A11 Bionic with 3GB of RAM. Its chipset has fewer cores than the Snapdragon yet it offers faster processing. The iPhone runs on the iOS 11.1.1 and this is upgradable to the iOS 12.3.

Other Features

The iPhone X has a louder speaker and water resistance while the Essential Phone has a bigger battery and prepackaged wireless charging.

essential phone wireless
Wireless charging for the Essential Phone comes in the box

The Essential Phone and iPhone X have a dual speaker setup. The one on the iPhone X is much louder than the Essential, however. Added to that, the iPhone is water-resistant up to one meter for 30 minutes.

Both the Essential Phone and iPhone X last for a day and sometimes into the next day. The PH-1 has a larger battery capacity at 3040 mAh, however, while the iPhone is 2716 mAh. Wireless charging is available for these two handsets but the one for the iPhone is sold separately.


Invest in the iPhone X with its dual speakers, better camera, water-resistance and faster processor over the Essential Phone.

Amazon product

The Essential Phone is a great smartphone with a durable titanium frame, a larger 3040 mAh battery and a higher 1312×2560 resolution screen. It’s also equipped with good camera sensors but will require the Pixel app to produce finer image quality. But even if the PH-1 is more competitively priced, the iPhone X is still the better choice with its premium design and A11 Bionic chipset.

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Andy Mathews

Lead Editor at Compare Before Buying. Product researcher and tech enthusiast passionate about consumer products, comparison charts and surfing.