After the success of its debut product, the Nothing ear (1) truly wireless earbuds, the newly founded company Nothing is back with its second product, the Nothing phone (1). The phone has generated a lot of buzz in the tech industry, thanks to its innovative design and focus on simplicity. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Nothing phone (1) and explore its features in detail.
One of the most striking things about the Nothing phone (1) is its design. The phone has a minimalist aesthetic that is clean and uncluttered. The front of the phone features a large, edge-to-edge display with a small hole-punch cutout for the front-facing camera.
The back of the phone is where things get interesting. The phone has a transparent design that allows you to see the internal components of the phone. This is a departure from the typical solid color options that are available in the market. The transparent design not only looks unique, but it also allows you to see the quality of the components that are used in the phone.
The phone has a slim profile, with a thickness of just 8.9mm. It also has a matte finish that feels smooth to the touch. The phone is available in two colors: black and white.
The Glyph interface
As if the transparent back itself wasn’t enough, Nothing went a step further and added LED strips to some of the components. The company tells me that it had to place over 900 individual LEDs and use a protective layer held together with yellowish glue to neutralize blue wavelengths and light bleeding. You wouldn’t think adding a few LEDs to the back of a phone would be that involved, but apparently, it is.
Together, these LED strips form what Nothing calls the “Glyph” interface. As you’ve undoubtedly seen by now, thanks to Marques Brownlee’s early hands-on, the light strips flash in sync with your notification and call sounds. You can assign different light shows and sounds to different callers, helping you get an idea of who is calling you when you’ve got the phone face-down on the table. The same idea also applies to app notifications, though you can’t select your preferred contacts or apps in the Glyph settings pane.
Nothing promotes the Glyph interface as an advantage to help you focus more on the world around you than on your phone. The idea is that rather than having your phone face up on the table while you’re out and about with friends or while you’re focusing on work, you’re putting it face down. This is supposed to avoid distracting notifications from coming in, but the lights should still help you identify when an important call from, say, your mother or partner comes in. As much as I enjoyed playing with the light show in the early stages of testing, I’m finding it increasingly distracting. With the Glyph interface activated, it feels like there is no escaping from notifications anymore. Usually, I turn my phone face-down to avoid seeing any notifications that could distract me from the moment. The Pixel series solves this elegantly, with phones optionally automatically turning on the Do Not Disturb mode when placed face-down.
The Nothing phone (1) features a 6.2-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. The display has a 20:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 413 pixels per inch. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, which is one of the most durable types of glass available on the market.
The display is bright and vibrant, with excellent color accuracy and deep blacks. It also has a fast 120Hz refresh rate, which makes scrolling and animations feel incredibly smooth. The phone has an in-display fingerprint sensor that is quick and reliable.
The Nothing phone (1) has a dual-camera setup on the back, consisting of a 50-megapixel primary camera and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera. The primary camera has an f/1.9 aperture and features optical image stabilization (OIS). The ultra-wide camera has a 123-degree field of view, which is wider than most other smartphones on the market.
The camera performs well in a variety of lighting conditions, with good dynamic range and accurate color reproduction. The OIS helps to keep photos and videos stable, even when your hands are shaking. The camera also supports 8K video recording, which is a nice feature for anyone who wants to capture high-quality video.
The front-facing camera is a 32-megapixel sensor that is housed in a small hole-punch cutout on the display. The camera takes sharp and detailed selfies, with good color accuracy and natural skin tones.
Nothing pitched its Nothing OS as a big differentiator compared to other manufacturers, but in the end, it almost feels too bare-bones to be that differentiator. However, I think it’s good that Nothing started with a clean slate rather than trying to one-up busy skins like Oppo’s Color OS or Xiaomi’s MIUI right out of the box. It is definitely refreshing to see a mid-range phone without any bloatware to speak of that isn’t a Pixel.
Nothing Launcher is pretty close to the Pixel Launcher, too, down to the Google Discover panel on the left, the permanent Google Search bar at the bottom, and an At a Glance-like weather and calendar widget at the top. While you can easily remove the latter and replace it with anything else, the search bar will always be part of the experience. You can also install and use custom icon packs with the launcher and, on the Android 13 beta, enable themed icons.
Nothing has added a few custom widgets to the launcher, too, mostly to show off its dotted typeface. You can add an analog or digital clock, a weather widget, and, yes, an NFT wallet via WalletConnect, which is also pre-installed. Thankfully, this stays out of the way unless you connect your crypto wallet with it.
The Nothing phone (1) is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, which is one of the most powerful processors available on the market. The phone also has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which is more than enough for most users.
The phone runs on the latest version of Android, with a custom skin that is designed to be clean and simple. The user interface is easy to navigate, with intuitive gestures and animations. The phone also supports 5G connectivity, which is a must-have feature for anyone who wants to take advantage of the latest network speeds.
The Nothing phone (1) has a 4,000mAh battery, which is about average for a phone of this size. However, the phone has a fast charging feature.The phone also supports wireless charging
This is still true with Android 13. Paired with fast 33W charging that brings the Phone 1 up to 50% in half an hour, there isn’t much to complain about in this department. Sure, Xiaomi and Oppo phones support much faster charging, but 33W is a fine middle ground in 2022—especially for a phone sold in the US.
Should you buy it?
If you live in India, you probably shouldn’t purchase the Nothing Phone 1. I understand that getting your hands on a new phone is thrilling and that it could seem like a good deal when compared to what other manufacturers charge for their flagship models. With the similarly cost Google Pixel 6a, which operates as expected on cellular networks, you’re still better off. Also, it has a fresh installation of Android and will receive security upgrades for the following five years. And the camera completely outperforms the Phone 1.
The Phone 1 is an intriguing option, though, if you’re searching for a mid-range phone with a distinctive design that will draw attention. If it’s completely operational in your region of the world, that is doubly true.
I’m very happy with the software advancements the firm is making, which have mostly resolved my camera and UI complaints from my initial evaluation of the Nothing Phone 1. The Phone 1 would most likely be included in our list of the top low-cost Android phones if it weren’t for its current limited compatibility with US carriers. It does a lot of things well and delivers some of the most distinctive looks for under $500, which is impressive for the first phone from a brand-new company.
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