Nothing Phone 1 Review: Hype or Worth the Buzz?

July 16, 2023
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Nothing Phone 1 promises to disrupt the saturated smartphone market with its unique design and clean software. 

After generating immense hype with Ear 1, Nothing’s first smartphone aims to stand out through its striking transparent back that shows off Phone 1’s internal components and Glyph interface with LED light strips. 

While the device delivers on its distinctive design, Nothing Phone 1 still has things to prove in terms of camera performance, software features, and long-term updates to justify its hype. 

This review dives into Phone 1’s key aspects, including display, performance, battery life, and cameras, to determine if it’s worth the buzz.

Design and Build

Design That Goes Beyond the Surface – Image Source: Android Central

Nothing Phone 1 stands out with its semi-transparent back panel that provides a glimpse at the internal components. 

This transparency reveals the wireless charging coil, cooling system, and other meticulously-placed parts that add to the futuristic aesthetic. 

The aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass 5 front and back give Phone 1 a sturdy, light, durable, and premium feel reminiscent of iPhone’s construction. Symmetrical slim bezels surround the 6.55” display, with flat sides that improve grip. 

The glyph interface located on the back is a standout design feature, consisting of over 900 LEDs configured into different shapes and patterns.  

Nothing Phone 1 ​​Unique Light Patterns – Image Source: Amazon.com

These LED strips are programmable to light up notifications, calls, charging status, and more. 

Overall, Phone 1 design combines transparent elements and retro lighting, which flourishes in a polished package made to turn heads.

Display and Audio

Nothing Phone 1 ​​6.55” OLED Display – Image Source: Amazon.com

Nothing Phone 1 sports a 6.55-inch FHD+ OLED display with a responsive 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. 

The panel produces vivid colors and has good brightness levels even in sunlight. Viewing angles are also wide, thanks to OLED technology. 

On the audio front, the phone features stereo speakers that can get sufficiently loud. However, according to the DXOMARK Audio test suite, Phone 1 audio quality lacks balance, with the bottom speaker providing fuller sound compared to the smaller earpiece speaker. 

The speakers are decent for casual listening, but audiophiles may want to use wireless headphones for a more balanced experience.

Performance and Software

Nothing Phone 1 Software – Image Source: Nothing Intl

Nothing Phone 1 is powered by the Snapdragon 778G+ 5G chipset, which provides sufficient performance for most daily tasks. 

The gadget is available in the following capacity variants, which allow for customization based on usage needs. 

  • 8 RAM + 128 GB memory
  • 8 RAM + 256 GB memory
  • 12 RAM + 256 GB memery

Everyday performance is smooth, with apps opening swiftly and UI navigation being fluid. Even heavy games run decently, though drops in frame rate may be noticed in graphics-intensive titles. 

On the software front, Phone 1 runs on Nothing OS 1.5 based on Android 13. The custom skin is clean and minimalistic, focusing on delivering a bloatware-free experience. However, it lacks some of the unique customization options offered by OxygenOS or OneUI

There is no support for themes and limited options for tweaking icons, fonts, etc. Also, some Pixel-exclusive features, like scrolling screenshots, are missing. But the software is smooth and lag-free for the most part. 

With promised 3 OS updates, Phone 1 provides a stable and consistent software experience, albeit not as feature-rich as alternatives.

Also Read: Nintendo Switch Console & Switch Lite Review, Best Games Recommendations

Camera

Nothing Phone 1 Dual Camera – Image Source: Amazon.com

Nothing Phone 1 features a dual camera setup consisting of a 50MP main camera (Sony IMX766) and a 50MP ultrawide camera (Samsung JN1). 

Images captured with the main camera in daylight conditions showcase good contrast and detail. However, indoor and low-light photos suffer from noise and ineffective HDR processing. 

The dedicated Night Mode produces better low-light shots when manually activated. The ultrawide camera is a letdown, with washed-out colors and added noise. One positive is the autofocus capability for macro photography. 

The 16MP selfie camera performs reasonably well outdoors but introduces noise in indoor settings. Video recording goes up to 4K at 30fps on the rear cameras and 1080p at 30fps on the front. 

While the cameras are decent for this price range, they fall short of more expensive flagship phone cameras. Recent software updates have improved aspects like color accuracy, but the ultrawide camera remains underwhelming.

Battery and Charging

Nothing Phone 1 is equipped with a 4500mAh battery that provides sufficient battery life for a full day of moderate usage. 

The gadget supports 33W fast charging, which can charge the phone from 0% to 50% in just 30 minutes. 15W wireless charging and 5W reverse wireless charging are also available, providing flexibility in charging options. 

Nothing Phone 1 Reverse Wireless Charging – Image Source: EasyAcc

The wireless charging capability means you can charge another wireless product like Ear (1) on the coil (on the back of the phone).

However, a charger is not included in the retail box. Users will need to supply their own compatible charger to utilize the fast charging capabilities. 

While the battery life is decent, it falls short of competitors that last over a day on a single charge. But the inclusion of both fast wired and wireless charging at this price point helps make up for average endurance.

Sustainability

Phone 1 showcases Nothing’s efforts towards sustainability. 

The gadget’s aluminum frame contains 100% recycled metal, reducing the phone’s carbon footprint.

To top it up, over 50% of the device’s plastic components utilize recycled or bio-based materials, exceeding industry standards. 

Even the retail packaging uses recycled fiber rather than virgin paper. With eco-conscious manufacturing, Nothing aims to minimize the environmental impact of its products. Small touches like the foregoing chargers in the box further cut down on e-waste. 

Nothing takes laudable steps to shrink the carbon footprint of Phone 1. With sustainability becoming an important consumer buying factor, these efforts help distinguish Nothing as an environmentally-minded brand.

Price and Availability

Nothing Phone 1 is affordably priced to compete with mid-range devices.

The pricing guide and where to buy:

UKNothing Tech, Amazon UK

  • £399 – 8GB/128GB
  • £449 – 8GB/256GB
  • £499 – 12GB/256GB

USAmazon US

  • $395 – 8GB/128GB
  • $430 – 8GB/256GB
  • $555 – 12GB/256GB

KenyaPhoneplace, Avechi

  • KES50,000 – 8GB/128GB
  • KES59,000 – 8GB/256GB
  • KES75,000 – 12GB/256GB

IndiaFlipkart

  • INR33,999 – 8GB/128GB
  • INR36,999 – 8GB/256GB
  • INR39,999 – 12GB/256GB

The competitive pricing makes Phone 1 an enticing, value-focused option in the smartphone market.

Extras

  • Supports face unlock
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6
  • USB (Type-C) charger
  • Colors: Black and White
  • Advanced vibration motors for seamless, life-like touch responses

Also Read: Top 10 Profitable Products to Sell Online

The Verdict

Phone 1 delivers on its promise of a unique design, with a transparent back panel and futuristic Glyph interface. Performance is snappy for daily use, thanks to the capable Snapdragon 778G+ chipset. 

The cameras, while decent, fall short of best-in-class, especially the lackluster ultrawide lens. Battery life and charging speeds are satisfactory but not outstanding. Nothing OS offers a clean software experience but lacks deeper customization options and unique features found on other Android skins. 

Overall, Phone 1 is not a revolutionary device but provides good value for its mid-range pricing. It is worth considering for those who prioritize aesthetics and want a clean, bloatware-free Android phone. 

The crisp OLED display, wireless charging support, and striking design make it stand out. However, the cameras and software need improvement, and battery life could be better. 

As an alternative, Galaxy A53 provides better battery life. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G has a 5000mAh battery, giving it longer battery life that can last almost two days.

In summary, Nothing Phone 1 successfully carves out a niche with its unique transparent design in a crowded smartphone market. But it does not break much new ground in terms of features and performance. 

For some users, like Android purists, who want a clean interface, it checks the right boxes. But it needs refinement to truly compete as an innovative flagship phone.

Closing Thoughts

Nothing Phone 1 proves to be more than just hype, with it successfully delivering on its striking transparent design and solid mid-range performance. 

While the cameras, battery life, and software still need improvements, Phone 1 shows potential for Nothing to disrupt and innovate in a saturated smartphone market dominated by industry giants. 

With refinement in future devices, Nothing could truly carve out a niche for itself by combining eye-catching aesthetics with top-notch features and specifications.

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Victoria Munyi
Victoria Munyi
Victoria is a seasoned SEO content writer and copywriter with proven experience in creating unique, insightful, and engaging content for a wide range of audiences that ranks high on search engines.

She is also a personal finance coach who will help you manage your money better by reducing wastage and identifying opportunities to grow your income. Follow her on her social media pages where she talks about personal finance and business growth strategies.
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