The Essential Phone (PH-1, if you prefer) got a lot of attention at its launch last year, for many reasons. For one thing, it introduced the modern concept of the notch, with its tiny cutout for the front camera and sensors. For another, it was backed by Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android. Unfortunately though, Essential hasn’t quite lived up to the high expectations set for it.
Nearly a year after its launch, the company has finally announced a modular accessory for the Essential Phone, the Audio Adapter HD. The newly launched accessory is a magnetic DAC and 3.5mm dongle, that clamps onto the back of the phone and adds the ability to plug in a traditional pair of wired headphones. Since the smartphone doesn’t have an on-board DAC, the dongle includes an ESS Sabre DAC. The adapter is crafted from machined titanium, according to Essential.
A key advantage to the accessory is that it will now allow users to charge the phone while listening to audio, which wasn’t possible before since the 3.5mm headphones would plug into a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter that would occupy the lone port on the device. While this concern was a particularly big deal a couple of years ago, recent improvements to fast charging standards and the growing popularity of wireless audio makes it a rather inconsequential matter now.
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Apart from this, the company also launched a 360-degree camera attachment at launch which also uses the magnetic clamping system. This particular accessory was first announced in September last year, and has taken rather long to actually launch. Sadly, the Essential Phone hasn’t sold in large numbers, and an accessory coming this late into its product cycle is unlikely to do too well either. The company itself isn’t doing too well, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see a successor to the Essential PH-1 at all.