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The Essential Phone Has Dual Cameras, 4K, and a Dedicated B&W Sensor


Android co-founder Andy Rubin and his new startup company, Essential Products, just launched its first product: a powerful smartphone called the Essential Phone. Its photo-related features include dual 13MP cameras, 4K video, and a dedicated monochrome sensor for “true” black-and-white photography.

“Essential Products is a new type of company focused on creating consumer technology products for the 21st century,” the Palo Alto-based startup’s website says.

The Essential Phone is a sleek titanium device that measures 141.5×71.1×7.8mm and weighs just 185 grams. It features an edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass 2560×1312 QHD 5.71-inch display that extends above the front-facing camera.

That camera features an 8MP sensor with a 16:9 aspect ratio behind an f/2.2 aperture lens. It can shoot video at 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps.

On the back of the camera is where the real photo fun begins. There you’ll find the world’s thinnest dual camera system on any phone: a 13-megapixel pair of cameras — one with an RGB color sensor and one with a Monochrome sensor — that utilize “image fusion” technology.

“It uses both color and monochrome sensors that can capture up to 200% more light than traditional phone cameras,” Essential Products claims. “This results in stunning images that are rich in color and detail, even in low light.”

In addition to the high quality standard photos, you can use the monochrome camera by itself for 13-megapixel “true monochrome” photos. We’re guessing this is the same type of thing as what’s offered with the Leica M Monochrom and the new $50,000 Phase One IQ3 ‘Achromatic’: a sensor that lacks a color filter so that it collects light purely for higher-quality B&W images.

The rear camera setup also features a f/1.85 aperture lens, Hybrid Autofocus (contrast, phase detect, and infrared laser assist rolled into one), and the same video capabilities as the front camera.

The Essential Phone will also be launching with “the world’s smallest 360-degree personal camera.” It’s a camera attachment that snaps onto the back of the Essential Phone via magnetic connectors. It communicates with the phone via wireless data transfer, so everything is cord-free. Once connected, you can simply point the camera, shoot, and share the resulting footage.

Other specs and features of the Essential Phone include Android OS, 10 finger multi-touch, a fingerprint reader, 4 microphones, a 3040mAh battery, fast charging via USB, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, Wi-Fi/NFC/Bluetooth connectivity, a Qualcomm 835 processor, and a USB Type-C port.

The Essential Phone comes in 4 colors (Black Moon, Stellar Grey, Pure White, and Ocean Depths) and can be pre-ordered today for $699 by itself or $749 if bundled with the 360-degree camera attachment. No word yet on when the phones will actually begin shipping.