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Nothing Phone 1: Is it worth the hype?
7th March, 2023 |
Is the Nothing Phone 1 nothing to write home about? Or like nothing we’ve ever seen before? Let’s take a closer look…
When it comes to tech news there’s been a veritable whirlwind of interest around the release of the rather mysterious Nothing Phone 1, which could leave you wondering what all the fuss is about. Let Gadget Cover cut through the noise with our quick guide to this intriguing new handset.
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Introducing the Nothing Phone 1
Launched in July 2022 as the phone that would ‘remove barriers between people and technology’ and ‘make tech fun again’, the Nothing Phone 1 is the brainchild of London-based tech company Nothing and its founder Carl Pei. As only the second ever product released by the company (the first was 2021’s Ear 1 true wireless earbuds) phone fans were very excited indeed.
With a starting price of £399, the Nothing Phone 1 is available from various outlets including Nothing’s own website, Amazon and the O2 network. While the phone is very affordable and offers a great deal for that price, it’s got a real fight on its hands to compete in such a busy mid-range market.
Indeed, competitors currently wowing phone fans include the likes of the Google Pixel 6a, Samsung Galaxy A53 and iPhone SE (2022). Not to mention the OnePlus Nord 2T from Pei’s previous company OnePlus.
So, if you’re wondering how the Nothing Phone 1 stacks up and whether it deserves a place at the top of your tech wish list, then take a look at these tantalising tech specs!
- Price: £399, £449, £499
- Display size: 6.55-inch OLED, HDR10+, 10-bit colour depth
- Display resolution: 2400 x 1080, 402 ppi
- Refresh rate: 60Hz to 120Hz adaptive
- Dimensions: 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm
- Weight: 193.5 g
- Build: Dual-side Gorilla Glass 5, Glyph Interface LED lights, aluminium frame
- Brightness: 500 nits brightness, 1,200 nits peak brightness
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+
- RAM: 8GB, 12GB LPDDR5
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB
- Micro SD card support: No
- Operating System: Android 12 with Nothing OS 1
- Cameras: 50MP, f/1.9 (main), 50MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide)
- Front-facing camera: 16MP, f/2.5 (selfie)
- Video capture: Up to 4K at 30fps, 1080p at both 30fps and 60fps
- Battery capacity: 4,500mAh
- Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
- Connector: USB-C
- Wired charging: 33W
- Wireless charging: 15W Qi wireless charging with dual charging support
- Reverse charging: 5W reverse wireless charging
- Colours: White, black
- Water/dust resistance: IP53
Nothing Phone 1 in depth
Looking through lists of tech specs is all well and good, but if you really want to know whether the Nothing Phone 1 will be what you’re looking for, then you need to dig a bit deeper. So, what can you expect if you manage to get your hands on one of these sought-after devices?
Design and build
At first sight the overall straight-sided, round-cornered design bears a striking resemblance to an Apple device such as the iPhone 12. However, on closer inspection there are some pretty wild design differences that you’re sure to spot.
First things first, a big hook for any design aficionados out there is that the phone is completely transparent. And we don’t just mean that you can see inside it; every component, screw and cable has been designed to look great beneath the Phone 1’s back glass.
But it’s when you turn the phone on for the first time that the real fun starts. The Phone 1’s real design statement is the series of 900 white LEDs arranged across the phone’s back to form the so-called Glyph Interface.
This truly unique LED notification system really has to be seen to be believed. If you’re looking for a phone that offers the cutting edge in wild light shows then this is most definitely it!
The Phone 1 is also super-lightweight and feels secure in the palm, although with a low IP53 rating for water and dust resistance you won’t want to take it to the beach anytime soon.
If you do happen to accidentally drop it into water, your insurance for mobile phones through Gadget Cover should protect you from liquid (subject to terms & conditions).
The Nothing Phone 1 has an excellent display for the price, offering up a 6.55-inch Full HD+ flexible OLED screen, HDR10+ compatibility, 10-bit colour support and a 120Hz refresh rate. This makes it a worthy rival to the similarly-priced Google Pixel 6a with its 6.1-inch display and 60Hz refresh rate.
The Phone 1 has a flat screen surrounded by a rather noticeable bezel, but uses a flexible OLED panel rather than a less expensive rigid panel – so at least the bezel is evenly thick all the way around.
The Phone 1 doesn’t offer an always-on display yet, but it will wow you with sharp images, vibrant colours and a pleasurable viewing experience.
Something which raised eyebrows on the Phone 1’s release was the news that it was powered by a cheaper and older seventh-generation Snapdragon 778G processor. And would come paired with 8GB RAM (unless you opt for the top-tier 12GB RAM model).
Unfortunately, despite all its flashy and premium styling, performance is an area where the Phone 1 reminds you that it’s still a mid-range device. That said, reviewers such as TechRadar have noted this should be more than enough from most users’ requirements.
But if it’s longevity you’re after, a phone rocking an older chipset is likely to slow down more quickly than a better equipped device.
While the Phone 1’s cameras aren’t going to go head-to-head with super high-end flagships or dedicated camera phones, the pair of 50MP rear sensors pack in the pixels and offer decent functionality.
Certainly, taking photos on the Phone 1 is a lot of fun and offers decent picture quality in daylight or artificial light, although in low light conditions the camera system does start to struggle.
You’ll be pleased to hear the snazzy Glyph interface can be used as a makeshift ring light when shooting videos in portrait mode or as an alternative to the LED flash in low brightness.
In a similar way to Google and Motorola, the Phone 1 has taken the stock Android experience and streamlined it in such a way to set it apart from other Android phones. The software experience feels clean, fuss-free and purposeful, and there’s plenty of scope to tweak things to your liking.
Potential buyers will be pleased to hear that Nothing has promised three years of OS updates and four years of security updates to Phone 1 owners. There are also fewer pre-loaded apps than on other phones so you should be able to avoid doubling up on software services.
Battery and charging
Another weak spot for the Phone 1 is the battery life, with tech reviewers at The Independent finding that heavy usage will have you running out of juice well before bedtime. Although this might improve as the phone’s software learns and adapts to your usage.
Fortunately, charging is quick.
Pros and cons of the Nothing Phone 1
With so many other excellent mid-range options on the market right now it can be tricky working out which one is best for you. To help you assess the Nothing Phone 1, let’s round up the pros and cons of this stunning machine.
- Unique transparent design and premium build
- Head-turning glyph lighting
- Clean Android-based Nothing OS
- Good photos in daylight
- Decent performance for the price
- Older, mid-range chipset
- No charger included in box
- Camera performance at night isn’t great
- Battery life could be better
If you haven’t yet read about some of the Phone 1’s rivals then there’s lots of helpful information on the Gadget Cover blog. We’ve got in-depth reviews of the Google Pixel 6a, and the iPhone SE (2022).
Check out our rundown of new upcoming phones to see what else is planned for this year. From the eagerly anticipated Google Pixel Fold to the latest iPhone 15 range from Apple, whichever one you purchase you’ll also need insurance for mobile phones in your shopping basket, too.
Nothing Phone 1 – The Gadget Cover verdict
Overall, the Nothing Phone 1 is a decent mid-range phone offering attention-grabbing looks, premium finish, smooth OLED display, and plenty of tricks up its sleeve. If you can ignore all the hype and some of its shortcomings, then the Phone 1 is one of the more interesting new phones available right now.
Whichever mid-range model you go for, you’ll want to make sure you have the right cover in place from day one. Gadget Cover can arrange a wide range of policies suitable for mobile phones like the Phone 1.
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