It all starts with just general app instability. Apps crash — a
lot. More than I’ve experienced on any other phone. They freeze,
stutter, lock up and force close. Sometimes you tap an app to
open it, and nothing happens for multiple seconds. When an app
calls up another one through a share action, it takes the same
egregious delay. Sometimes apps open and switch just fine, but
then randomly slow down to a crawl with inordinately long splash
screens or loading animations. And it isn’t tied to just one app,
it’s all apps.
The app issues seem to come as a result of general system
instability that I haven’t seen in a high-end phone in years.
Touch response is very slow, making everything simply feel
sluggish as you tap and scroll around every day. The phone
will often struggle to open or close the camera and can fail
to save photos if you close the camera too quickly. I’ve had
the entire phone go unresponsive for several minutes and
require a force reboot (hold the power button for ~15 seconds)
multiple times. […]
The camera app is slow and unstable and lacks basic features like
viewfinder grid lines or any sort of customization or “pro” mode.
HDR mode doesn’t really seem to do anything but take photos
slower, and toggling it on still inexplicably turns the flash to
“auto” mode. The slow performance directly contributes to missing
shots, and the fundamentals of a small sensor with no OIS mean you
get grainy and blurry low-light shots regularly. The Essential
Phone’s camera is still so far from the competition.
In short, the Essential phone is a disaster.