Founded by the ex-OnePlus CEO Carl Pei, ‘Nothing’ company first came into the tech scene with their Ear 1 last year. Over the last six months, the company has slowly teased an android smartphone which eventually built the hype train around it. This hype game is nothing new for Carl Pei as he has basically laid the foundation of OnePlus in a similar manner. The company’s first phone, the Nothing Phone 1 launched globally on 12th July 2022. Here’s a take to see whether Nothing can actually offer something.
Key Specifications of Nothing Phone 1
Design and Build Quality
From the outside, the Nothing Phone 1 looks like a Cyberpunk version of the iPhone 12. Whether it’s the camera position, frame, or button, everything looks like a direct inspiration from the iPhone 12. And the choice is also understandable. Carl Pei has repeatedly said that Nothing only considers itself a rival of Apple. The company’s first step to challenging Apple is to re-innovate its own design language.
Beyond the obvious design choice, the phone is made from 100% recycled aluminum and 50% bio-recycled plastic. The aluminum frame with a glass front and back gives the device a premium hand feel. Not to mention, the transparent back which is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
The power button and the volume rocker have been placed on two opposite ends with the sim slot being next to the Type-C port. There’s also dual stereo support on the device but no headphone jack unlike other mid-range devices in this segment. All in all, the design can be easily termed the android of iPhones.
But there’s one more thing that separates the Nothing Phone 1 from any device out there. Let’s talk about that.
The Glyph Interface
Nothing has aligned 900 LEDs on the back of the device to create a distinctive lighting pattern. These LEDs light up to provide notifications, ringtones, and a myriad of other options. We have seen the use of light in the likes of the ASUS ROG phone. But that is mostly a complete gimmick.
What Nothing has tried to do is incorporate functionality in an otherwise gimmicky design choice.
The glyph interface is mostly like a new toy that is sure to turn heads. While Nothing has put a host of customization on the lighting, it will ultimately come down to the user preference and using habit to determine its relevance.
The Nothing Phone 1 uses a 6.55-inch OLED FHD+ 120 Hz panel. The display also supports HDR 10+ as well as Widevine L1 codecs. If the overall design wasn’t reminiscent of iPhone enough, the front will remind the users of the same as well.
Phone 1 uses a single punch hole display with a uniform bezel all around. Typically it's not seen in android because it overruns the cost of using a flexible OLED panel.
Nothing has gone the extra mile to ensure the uniformity of design aesthetics and it honestly delivers. The front and the overall consumption experience feel much superior to its price point.
One of the major complaints with any mid-range androids is the camera gimmicks. You’ll see a triple or even quad camera setup with one or two sensors being completely useless. These additions are made simply as a marketing stunt.
Fortunately, Nothing has come out of that bubble and included only two sensors on Phone 1. A 50 MP main shooter and a 50 MP wide-angle lens also double as a macro lens. This is an excellent choice as it keeps the back minimal all the while retaining functionality.
Speaking of camera performance, both lenses shine in bright outdoor conditions. Pictures look crisp with a high dynamic range and great details. But the problem starts with artificial lighting as there are noticeable grains and noises in the picture. The glyph lighting comes in handy where flash might be an overkill like in most macro shots. The 16 MP front shooter also suffers from the same issues.
The videography can go up to 4K at 30 fps. The OIS and EIS do a decent job but it's not perfect. It is expected that Nothing will address the existing camera issue with the running updates.
Processor and Performance
Many people expected that the Nothing Phone 1 would be a flagship or at least sport the latest 7 Gen 1 premium mid-range chipset from Snapdragon. However, the steady leaks from Nothing itself leading to 12th July suggested that the Phone 1 will feature a Snapdragon 778G+ processor. The 778G+ is an overclocked version of the usual 778. The octa-core processor features 1 2.5 GHz Cortex-A78 and 3 2.4 GHz Cortex-A78 and 4 1.8 GHz Cortex-A55 chips along with Adreno 642L GPU.
Speaking of in-hand performance, the phone feels nothing less than a proper flagship. The NothingOS is a completely stripped-down stock android OS that runs smoothly thanks to the 120 Hz panel. The only noticeable difference can be seen in gaming where high-intensity games like PUBG and COD run in medium graphics settings.
There’s no point in discrediting the device because of its mid-range processor. Instead, the bare OS and high optimization make the device a perfect daily driver even for heavy users.
Battery and Charge Time
The Nothing Phone 1 is equipped with a 4500 mAh battery. The 4500 mAh battery is good enough to make the device last for an entire day. The battery is coupled with a 33 W fast charger. An hour of charge will take the device from zero to 100% in about an hour.
Price of Nothing Phone 1
The Nothing Phone 1 launched in three variants. The 8/128 GB variant is priced at 31,999 Rs while the 8/256 GB and 12/256 GB are priced at 34,999 Rs and 37,999 Rs. The price translates to roughly 37,620 BDT, 41,147 BDT and 44,647 BDT respectively (1 INR = 1.18 BDT). But the price may vary depending on the availability and import policies.
The Nothing Phone 1 is much like the company claims. It’s a breath of fresh air in an otherwise increasingly boring smartphone design. The glyph interface looks like a gimmick but it can be a handy little feature for those who are into futuristic light shows. The design is complemented well by the display, processor, and battery. The only drawback might be the price which is a bit more than similar ranged devices.