Latest update for Essential Phone allows users to customize use of the notch area6
The first choice is "Essential recommended" and applies settings that the company has set on a per-app basis. "Don't use notch area in landscape" means that with the phone in landscape mode, the screen will not show any image or text under the notch. In other words, with this setting, the area under the notch is never used when the phone is held horizontally. The last option, "Always use notch area," is self explanatory.
Users can also customize the notch on individual apps. For example, they can set the phone to allow videos to reach the edge of the screen for certain video streaming sites; at the same time, the settings can be customized to prevent text based apps from going all the way to the edge of the display where the words would be cut off by the notch.