The Phone 1 is the first smartphone from the British technology company Nothing, which was founded by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei with the goal of bringing a bit of fun and excitement back to the increasingly mundane world of consumer electronics.
With a starting price of $749, it appears to compete directly with less expensive versions such as Samsung’s mid-range A-series and Google’s Pixel 6a. It accomplishes so while also providing something unique: a set of white LED strips dispersed across a transparent glass back to generate light patterns known as “glyphs” by Nothing.
Without having to look at the screen, distinct light patterns indicate who is calling, which app is alerting you, or even different types of notifications from the same app.
A generally understated design is given a little bit of interest by the glyphs and transparent back.
- Processor: Snapdragon 778G Plus
- RAM: 8 or 12GB
- Storage: 128 or 256GB
- Operating system: Android 12 with Nothing OS
- Camera: 50MP main and ultrawide, 16MP selfie
- Water resistance: IP53 (splash-resistant)
The phone boasts a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus CPU, which feels rather quick and is certainly capable in day-to-day use.
However, it lacks the raw performance of top-tier chips, which is most apparent when processing photographs and when the camera is slow to switch between lenses after capturing pictures.
It matches most top devices in terms of battery life, lasting roughly 38 hours between charges, including two hours on 5G. You’ll most likely need to recharge it once every day.
Nothing OS, a pared-down version of Android 12 that comes pre-installed on the Phone 1, offers all the functionality you’d expect without the clutter of duplicate apps, relying primarily on Google’s offerings instead, which is a good thing.
The company will provide major Android updates for three years and security updates for a total of four years. That’s decent but falls a year short of the competitive products from Google and Samsung, and is far behind Fairphone and Apple’s six- to seven-year support.
The best photographs, with generally good color balance and detail, are produced by the primary camera.
When photos are examined in their entirety, they may lack some sharpness and fine detail, and it might be a little challenging to take a sharp picture in low light.
Although the photographs from the ultrawide have cooler tones and lesser detail, they are nonetheless good. Parts of an image can occasionally get oversaturated by the camera, such as crimson flowers that lose all clarity and appear to glow.
The selfie camera is just as impressive, capturing precise images in ideal lighting.
Although limited to 4K, video capturing is good value for the money.
The Phone 1 is Nothing’s startlingly competent first try at a smartphone.
The glyph lights on the rear are undoubtedly inventive and attractive, however it can be challenging to remember which pattern is whose. But it’s fantastic to see something novel and entertaining.
The superb Pixel 6a from Google is one of its fiercest opponents, but the $749 Nothing Phone 1 stands out when compared to many other dull mid-range phones.