In the world of Google, it was huge news when Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android, announced that his new startup was going to be releasing a near-stock Android smartphone. While in 9to5Google’s review we found its hardware to be fantastic, the poor camera performance really made it hard to recommend the $700 smartphone to most consumers. Essential seems to have heard these complaints and has lowered the Phone’s price tag down to $499 permanently…

In a blog post, Essential announced that the company wants “to make it even easier for you to experience our products and our brand.” To do this, the company has permanently dropped the price by $200. At $500, the Essential Phone is much more reasonable, especially for a first-generation handset from a company that’s still regarded as a startup.

It’s also a bit ironic that Essential has lowered the price of the Phone twice now, this time being right in the middle of several Pixel 2 XL debacles. As the PH-1 is near stock, it does have a lot of the same features found on the Pixel 2 as well as (supposed) quick updates, with Oreo coming in the next few weeks.

If you already purchased an Essential Phone before this discount, the company will be sending out a $200 “friends & family code” that can be used to purchase a second Essential Phone or the 360 Camera.

The Essential Phone is now available for $499 in either black or white directly from Essential, Amazon, or Best Buy.

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