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Essential Phone gets a $200 price drop to $499

The Essential Phone now has a more palatable starting price.

The Essential Phone didn't have an easy go of things in its first few weeks on the market. Lauded for its incredible industrial design, the phone's software was barebones to a fault and its camera was criticized for its slow speed, poor low-light performance, and lack of features.

Now months later, Essential's marketing department peep-quiet, the phone has received numerous updates, many of which have improved the overall software experience while adding much-needed camera usability. It's not perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better than when we reviewed it in late August.

Starting today, though, it's going to be easier to justify purchasing Essential's first hardware product: it's receiving a $200 price cut to $499 on the company's website, and existing buyers will get a Friends & Family coupon worth the same amount towards a new Essential Phone or a 360-degree camera add-on. From the company's blog:

At Essential, one of our driving principles is that premium craftsmanship and the latest technologies shouldn't be for the few. We could have created a massive TV campaign to capture your attention, but we think making it easier for people to get their hands on our first products is a better way to get to know us.

At $499, the phone is considerably more competitive against flagships like the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S8. Given that the price drop is only for the unlocked version directly sold from the company's website, it's unlikely to cause too much of a stir, but the move is appreciated nonetheless. Sprint, the Essential Phone's exclusive U.S. carrier, has dropped the price to around $350 when bought on a monthly finance plan, but still sells it for $699 outright. TELUS, Essential's Canadian carrier partner, sells the phone for free alongside a $95/month plan, but hasn't budged on the $1050 outright price, either. Relief is expected in the coming days, though.

With Android Oreo on the horizon, does the price drop to $499 make you more interested in the Essential Phone? Let us know in the comments below!

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