Essential Phone’s $200 price cut leaves original buyers with worthless credit

If there's nothing to buy, does a credit still count?

Credit: Essential

In a surprise announcement that’s not really all that surprising, Andy Rubin’s Essential startup has cut the price of its debut phone from $699 to $499, a permanent 30-percent discount clearly designed to drum up sales of the flagging handset. 

In a short blog post titled, “Free Yourself: An awesome device at an awesome price,” Rubin said Essential’s “small, but mighty, team” decided to offer a discount rather than “a massive TV campaign” to make Essential Phone more accessible to the general public. Last month, smartphone tracker BayStreet Research estimated that Essential had sold just 5,000 units since it launched in August, a pitiful number for a company valued at more than a billion dollars.

However, if you’re one of the original people who ordered an essential Phone at full price, you might be left out in the cold. Anyone who bought an Essential Phone will receive a friends and family code for $200 off at the Essential online store, though there are a couple of catches. First, you need to submit your serial number and IMEI number by November 15 to receive your code. And secondly, codes are only valid until December 15.

Making matters worse is that there isn’t much of anything to buy. If you pre-ordered through Essential.com you were able to buy a 360-degree camera for $50 (a no-brainer for the $199 accessory), so unless you want a second phone or another camera, the $200 credit isn’t worth the pixels it’s written on.

The Essential store is otherwise empty. The company announced a charging dock alongside its new phone that isn’t yet shipping as well as a AI-powered Home speaker that isn’t shipping either. And the chances that code-holders see either of those within the next two months are somewhere between slim and zero.

However, $499 is a much more realistic price for the Essential Phone, with its unique bezel-less design and top-of the-line specs. The handset can be purchased in black ops white for $499 through any of the available sellers: Sprint, Best Buy, Amazon, and, of course Essential.com.

Essential benefits: Original Essential phone buyers have a reason to be angry. Not only were there shipping delays, the first round of phones suffered from poor camera performance and a distinct lack of accessories. And users are still waiting for an Android Oreo update despite Rubin’s promise that Essential Phone would be updated as quickly and regularly as a Nexus phone. But the real crime is this useless $200 credit. It’s basically a ploy to sell a couple more Essential phones before the holidays and a cheap one at that. Hopefully Essential comes to its senses and extends the promotion until at least something else starts shipping, assuming something else ever does.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?