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Essential Phone now priced at $499, previous buyers get a $200 'friends and family' code

The Essential Phone, which launched earlier this summer, may be getting this big price decrease due to poor sales and new competition.
October 22, 2017

After months of rumors, the Essential Phone was first announced and went on sale in May. The high-end Android phone finally started shipping to customers in late August. At the time, the price of the phone was $699, but a few days ago some retailers started discounting the device by $100. This evening, Essential announced that the phone was getting a permanent $200 price drop to $499 on its web store.

Essential Phone review: Maximum hardware, minimum software

In a blog post, Niccolo de Masi, the president of Essential, stated that anyone who bought the Essential Phone before October 22 will be able to get a $200 “friends and family” code for use on its store. The code can be used to reduce the price of a new Essential Phone purchase, which means if you have one of these codes the price of the phone will go down to $299. The code can also be applied to the purchase of the company’s Essential 360 Camera add-on for the phone, which basically makes that accessory free. Those folks will have to submit their details to claim the $200 store code by November 15.

It’s pretty clear that the main reason for this price drop, less than two months after the first units started shipping, is that the Essential Phone has not been a huge sales success. It didn’t help that the phone launched just a few weeks before the release of Samsung’s heavily hyped Galaxy Note 8.

In our own review of the Essential Phone, we noted that it had some impressive hardware specs, including its nearly bezel-free 5.71-inch display, its 128 GB of onboard storage, its speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and its well-crafted design, using a titanium frame and ceramic shell. However, we also felt it didn’t offer much in terms of interesting software, and its camera had so many problems that the company has already pushed out several updates to fix a number of its issues, with more updates promised for the future.

Now that the Essential Phone is priced at $499, are you more interested in purchasing the high-end handset, or has the ship for this phone already sailed away for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments?