The biggest problem everyone had with the Essential Phone at launch was its dual-camera. While the camera hardware was good, the software turned the shots it produced into digital dumpster fires. It was terrible, but it’s gotten much better. Part of that is thanks to Essential’s own work improving the camera app, but most of it is thanks to third-party developers.
Having just used an Essential phone up until a month or so ago, I have a slightly different take on the progress it’s made. Sure, the PH-1 come a long way since launch, but as the article only briefly mentions, to really get the most of the camera which, for me, is becoming the most essential part of every phone, you have to install a modded version of the Google Camera app, which isn’t even available on the Play Store.
This version, built for non-Pixel phones like the PH-1, still doesn’t deliver anywhere near the quality a device like this should in my opinion. In my experience with both the modified Google Camera and stock Camera app, I had horrendous amounts of lag while taking pictures and, on more than one occasion, the apps would just crash altogether. That said, even when it works, the quality seems to vary substantially from shot to shot, even in the same conditions.
The Essential PH-1 isn’t a bad phone. The hardware is gorgeous and most of the software continues to improve at a steady pace. It’ll check all the boxes for a lot of people but don’t let this article fool you: if a camera is at all important to you, I’d recommend looking elsewhere.