Essential maybe does not go through its best, but you have to recognize recent merits such as updating your phone to Android P Beta and continue to create modules. After the wireless charging base that never came (and therefore we do not count), the first modular accessory available since launch will be the Audio Adapter HD, a block that adds minijack to the phone.
Audio Adapter HD is part of a new audiophile focus that Essential has presented on his blog and that includes agreements with Tidal, to offer 3 months free of Tidal Hi-FI for new subscribers, and with MQA, for which the Essential PH1 is now Calibrated to listen to the MQA tracks with the original quality. Interestingly, the future accessory is the least known details.
If it does not fit inside, we put it out
Let’s go back to the past. In September 2017, the Essential team commented that the reason why the PH-1 did not include a minijack was basically because it did not fit. “It’s a big connector” that could only have been included at the cost of “reducing the battery by 10%” or “adding a lower edge to the screen”. But, do not worry, we were already told that Essential was working on an HD audio module for the most demanding audiophiles.
That module is already a reality, or at least it will be soon: later during the summer, if everything goes according to plan. From this new module we now have a photo, its name and a vague description of its operation.
How could it be otherwise, this Essential Audio Adapter HD will connect to the magnetic connectors on the back of the phone, so it does not need external power. This also implies that you can listen to music while you are charging the phone, something that we took for granted until the manufacturers decided it was not important.
In addition to a physical connector, it includes a DAC ESS Saber HiFi compatible with MQA and capable of providing great sound quality as long as you have a headset capable of maintaining quality. Without being able to prove it, at the moment we have to take the word of Essential about the quality.
The connector is built with titanium and its creators highlight its extreme resistance. We do not have information about its size, weight or price, although judging by the previous photo and taking into account that the PH-1 measures 71.1 mm wide, it must be around 35 mm, with rounded corners that remind a lot of the design of a Mac Mini.
It’s like a physical ‘notch’
Very good for Essential, which fulfills the promise of creating an HD audio module for your phone, although the mere idea of adding a box with a connector to the phone is a bit bizarre. Plus, even, considering that the Essential Phone includes its own USB-C to minijack adapter, for free.
Although it is true that this new accessory is more focused on those who are looking for a better sound quality than the ordinary user who simply wants to connect his headphones for a lifetime (and that he can already do, with the adapter), when Essential He talks about the benefit of being able to charge and listen to music at the same time, reveals the failed logic behind the disappearance of the minijack. The same as so many others have repeated since Apple dispensed with it on the iPhone 7.
The mere idea of fixing this accessory to listen to music in high quality on your mobile phone, turning it into a kind of Frankenstein monster that can not be kept stable at the table, which will fit in your pocket and will prevent you from using a casing, it can hardly be defended as progress and it sounds more like a fix. As the notch.