Tom needs to update/re-review the Essential Phone. Essential has issued software updates that fix the problems that were present during the initial release of the phone and you do not have to wait for your carrier to do it, Essential does it because the phones come unlocked (except Sprint financed phones).
Why Tom links to an Amazon SKU with a Cricket wireless SIM for $ 492.98 is beyond me. Essential works with any carrier and Cricket is one of the worst because they throttle the data speed to 8mbs unless you choose the unlimited plan. AT&T bought cricket and buying AT&T's own prepaid plan is less expensive and does not throttle its users except during heavy congestion or after you have used 22 Gigabytes of data in a month.
Amazon has several colors and deals to choose from including the popular Halo Gray that comes with Amazon's Alexa app. They are all around $499.00 and they have run a lot of price specials on Amazon.com so using honey.com's app is very useful. I paid $429.00 and shortly thereafter they were running $399.00 deals.
At the time of this writing, Essential has released Oreo 8.1 and patched all the problems that other manufacturers like Samsung's S9 series and other manufacturers are dealing with at the moment. They all have similar specs, processors, camera's, etc. The difference is in price and having fixed the software issues that have users complaining right now about the other guy's phones.
LG should have kept the removable battery. You can always get a water-resistant case to protect it with. BTW, I already replaced the battery on my Stylo 2 twice because they swell up and no longer accept a charge over time. And being able to visually inspect the battery and order replacements online is another plus for eexttending the life of the device. Which is why, if I upgrade to a flagship model, it will be a V20, ported to my carrier, Boost Mobile.