In recent times as far as tech is concerned, nothing has garnered the kind of hype that Nothing has achieved through its first phone – Nothing Phone (1).
Though nothing lesser should be expected of them, considering it is backed by the genius mind of Carl Pei who is no stranger to the world of smartphones, to put it mildly.
Nothing promises a radical new device, something more than just a phone, with their tagline “Phone (1) can bring us back. To us.” But is it truly the revolution that Nothing claims it to be?
Of course, the most unique and eye-catching features of this phone are the transparent back and the set of LED lights that the company has named the ‘Glyph Interface’.
The transparent back showcases some of the internal components, while others are hidden behind precision-engineered panels.
The Glyph Interface comprises a set of white LED strips which show through the transparent back panel. Not only do these add a unique look to the phone, but they also have some utilitarian functions.
They can show charging progress, flash in tune with the ringtones, and even act as a flashlight for the camera.
Of course, in order to take advantage of most of these features, you’ll need to make a habit of placing your phone with the display facing down, which raises the risk of scratching your screen. Thankfully, Nothing includes a pre-applied screen protector with the phone.
The rest of the overall build of the phone is impressive in its own right, though it is not as futuristic as the Glyph Interface.
It has squared-off sides, which may remind some people of the recent iPhones. The frame is made of recycled aluminum, so the phone is pretty light despite being somewhat large in size.
Gorilla Glass 5 is used to make both the back and front glass, which makes them scratch resistant. For dust and water protection, it is rated IP53.
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Display and Audio
Phone (1) comes with a 6.55-inch, 120 Hz OLED screen. As a result of which it produces bright colors, and it also supports HKR10+. You also get the option to lock the refresh rate to 60 Hz to save battery.
The screen is surrounded by a black bezel on all sides, which might be a little too thick for some people’s taste. On the plus side though, the bezel is perfectly symmetrical on all sides, which improves the visual aesthetic.
This phone joins many others in the no-headphone-jack club. The stereo speakers aren’t bad, however, they’re nothing to write home about either. These are better than most of the competition, however, they wouldn’t beat any external speaker.
Processor and Performance
The Phone (1) is powered by Snapdragon 778G+ from Qualcomm – which was launched in October 2021. This is the one area that shows the most that this is after all a midrange phone.
The chip is pretty old and also a tier below the 8 series. Having said that, this is in no way a deal breaker. Competitive gamers might not find this phone suitable, but for everything else, it is more than capable.
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Benchmark results are pretty much what you’d expect in this price range. It is close to OnePlus Nord 2T and better than Samsung’s Galaxy A53. Speaking of real user performance, the phone is fast, with lag being a very rare thing.
For RAM you get the options of either 8 GB or 12 GB. And storage options are 128 GB and 256 GB. Though you won’t get the white color with the cheapest 8 GB – 128 GB version.
The Phone (1) supports Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC for Google Pay, and of course, 5G.
Similar to the headphone jack, Phone (1) also ditches the charging brick. The battery is 4500 mAh, which is another average feature. The battery life, however, is below average.
This phone will barely last you a full day if you’re being careful. If you make too many calls or spend a few hours gaming, it may run out sooner. Obviously, battery life will only get worse over time.
Contrary to what most people will suspect, the Glyph interface is not what is eating up the battery. As with most smartphones, the main culprit is the high refresh rate screen.
The phone supports 33W charging, so in about 30 minutes it can go from 0 to almost 70%. That beats Google, Apple, and Samsung, but is still behind some Chinese competitors like OnePlus and Xiaomi.
On a positive note, Phone (1) supports wireless charging, up to 15W. It also features reverse wireless charging, so you can charge your headphones, etc.
The only competitor with a similar price that supports wireless charging is the iPhone SE. So if you want this feature in this price range, but would prefer Android over Apple’s iOS, then this is a good option for you.
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The Phone (1) features two rear camera lenses – main and ultrawide. They’re nowhere near flagship, but they’re good enough to get the job done. However, you may find the night photography a bit lacking.
The primary lens is 50 Mp IMX766 from Sony. The photos are bright and punchy, and the camera works well in most light conditions. Even when you go up to 2x digital zoom, there is enough detail that the photos don’t get blurry or grainy.
Optical Image Stabilization improves photography even in low-light conditions. The Glyph interface can be used as a fill light, a softer alternative to flash.
The ultrawide uses 50 Mp JN1 from Samsung and is noticeably inferior to the main. Photos appear faded and washed out, and there is no OIS to help with nighttime photography. It is still a better ultrawide camera than most of the competition.
The front camera is 16 Mp. The photos are properly lit, and portrait mode is pretty good at subject detection.
Both the rear lenses can record video at up to 4K at 30 fps, and the front camera supports 1080p at 30 fps. There is an option to turn on a flashing red LED on the back of the phone while recording videos.
The Phone (1) comes with Android 12, topped with Nothing OS. It includes a simple clock, some new wallpapers, and a custom-styled voice recorder app. It also comes with built-in controls for Ear (1) earbuds.
As said before, the phone is priced pretty competitively. Below you can see the process of different variants in all the available markets:
- 8GB + 128GB: ₹33,999/£399/€469
- 8GB + 256GB: ₹36,999/£449/€499
- 12GB + 256GB: ₹39,999/£499/€549
To sum it all up, this is in no way a bad deal. The phone is certainly appealing, and some minor bugs may get fixed in future updates.
It is good to step towards innovative design, even though the new elements are mostly gimmicky. You’ll definitely not accuse this phone of being boring.