Hands on: Nothing Phone (1) review

Hands on: Nothing Phone (1) review

The Phone (1) was made to start a conversation Epblogs goal is to be the tech side of trust. We are proud of our independence and of our Hands on: Nothing Phone (1) review thorough testing methods, in which we take our time with a product. We regularly check our test reports for changes and thus keep them up-to-date over a longer period of time – regardless of when a device was released.guaranteed reviews . Trust our Epblogs comprehensive reviews. We tested the products over a longer period of time and were able to see how they cope with everyday tasks. This is how we help you to find the best product for your read our guaranteed reviews.

Epblogs verdict

The distinctive design and compelling narrative of the Nothing Phone (1) are first what appeal to people. The amount of polish put to the Phone (1) beyond expectations, and special features like its transparent back and glyph illumination match novelty with utility in a manner that’s lacking from most other phones. The business has obviously learned from the mistakes made with its previous model.

If you’re reading this hands-on Nothing Phone (1) review, you probably fall into one of two categories: either you’ve never heard of Nothing before and are curious about what the Phone (1) is, or you’ve been following the story of the London-based startup’s eagerly awaited first smartphone and are curious to learn whether the wait was worthwhile now that the hype train has finally arrived.

The Phone (1), which follows the Ear (1) truly wireless earphones introduced in 2021, is the sole physical device Nothing has released in its brief life. Nothing continues to be a rather enigmatic corporation. Those headphones established a defined design aesthetic for the business’s brand and goods, which was carried over to the Phone. They set the standard for the kind of items the company hopes to produce (1).

Ahead of the Phone (1)’s launch, Nothing CEO and co-founder Carl Pei (of OnePlus repute) stated early on in its development that it was being made to help inject some joy back into the mobile market, and quickly created excitement among fans and tech enthusiasts using tricks and tactics familiar to anyone who followed his work at OnePlus.

Teases of the Phone (1)’s design, hardware and features were seeded out to reputable media outlets that place a focus on trends and style (Wallpaper*, Input, GQ etc.) in the months prior to release, while the phone also received exclusive coverage from high-profile influencers like top tech YouTuber, Marques Brownlee (MKBHD).

As a consequence, an unknown brand with a spotty history has been able to generate an excessive level of hype and intrigue surrounding its first phone. So, does the hoopla around the Nothing Phone (1) hold true? Find out by reading on.

Nothing Phone (1) Price and availability

On July 12, the Phone (1) was introduced, and starting on July 21, it will be available in the UK, Europe, India, Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia. Prior to the introduction, the business had previously said that a US release will happen later, but it was unable to say when (it is rumored that changes to the phone would be necessary to fully utilize the region’s 5G infrastructure).

As for pricing, the Nothing Phone (1) is available in three storage/RAM variants: 8GB RAM/128GB, 8GB RAM/256GB, and 12GB RAM/256GB, priced at £399 / €469 / AU$749, £449 / €499 / AU$799 and £499 / €549 / AU$899, respectively. Those UK prices convert to roughly $475, $530, and $590.

Even before the finer aspects of the Phone (1)’s hardware and software were made public, a small group of keen enthusiasts were given the chance to buy on a limited run of 100 inscribed smartphones via the StockX auction site. According to reports, some of those bidders spent more than $3,000, £2,500, or AU$4,300 for the opportunity to be among the first to buy a Phone (1).

Separately, Nothing also developed an invitation system that allowed people with an invite to join a waitlist and be among the first to pre-order a Phone (similar to the one used by Pei’s prior firm for the first OnePlus One) (1).

Nothing Phone (1) Design

While we were able to examine the Phone (1)’s design in Nothing’s official press photos before its release, holding the gadget in your hands is undoubtedly a fuller experience.

Due to the Phone (1)’s straight-sided metal frame, rounded edges, flat front and back, and location of the two rear cameras, the overall appearance is immediately reminiscent of Apple’s iPhone 12; simply scale it up, put it through an X-ray machine, and there you have it. You might wonder, “Why an X-ray machine?” The great draw of the Phone (1)’s shape is its back, which is entirely transparent.

While we’ve seen transparent-backed phones before, usually the components underneath are either only partially visible (as on the HTC U12+) or wholly fake (as on Xiaomi’s Mi 8 Explorer Edition). Nothing, for its part, has designed the exposed parts underneath to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

As you turn the phone in your hand, the shifting specular highlights and shadows that appear over and under the layers of differently-textured components, screws and ribbon cables beneath the Phone (1)’s back glass make it a far more interesting rectangle of electronics to look at than most other phones on the market; not to mention it has Teenage Engineering’s (a trendy Swedish consumer electronics company, who collaborate with Nothing on its industrial design) fingerprints all over it.

Speaking of fingerprints, the Phone (1) does a respectable job of fending them off despite having a back made of transparent Gorilla Glass, and when you do notice smudges, they buff away with relative ease. Customers who spend money on an official Phone (1) cover could enjoy its clarity right out of the box (the case is clear, as expected); but, prints should be expected to stick to it much more quickly and take more effort to buff out than on the phone itself.

At launch, Nothing serves up the Phone (1) in two finishes: a black model and a white one – with the former offering a more understated appearance, while the latter serves to accentuate that standout design element in a way that’s sure to get people talking when you walk into a bar and casually plonk it down on the table.

Despite its straight sides, the edges of the recycled aluminum frame are subtly rounded to ensure that the Phone (1) is more comfortable in the hand than you’d expect and, what’s more, it feels lighter than its build might suggest – at 193.5g it sits below the 200-gram threshold beyond which a device’s weight starts to feel noticeable.

The power key on the right side of the frame and the two volume controls on the left are large, easy to reach and respond with a satisfying click, without requiring a lot of force, while IP53-certification means the Phone (1) can be used in a light drizzle without issue, and should prevent dust from working its way into the cavity behind that clear back glass; just don’t drop it in the sink or throw it around at the beach.

Although we’re still in the middle of testing the Phone (1), the glass and metalwork across aren’t yet showing any signs of wear, save for the pre-fitted screen protector and charging cable, both of which came scuffed out of the box. This could be down to Nothing’s limited start-up operational capacity – with the company’s small size increasing the chance of quality control slip-ups compared to a well-oiled behemoth like Samsung or Xiaomi – or it could just be a faux pas limited to the press sample we received.

Nothing Phone (1) display

There was some speculation around the panel that the Phone (1) would sport, based largely on its expected price point, and now that it’s here we can confirm that Nothing has graced the device with a 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel boasting a 120Hz high refresh rate, along with HDR10+ compatibility and 10-bit color support.

The screen is surrounded by a not-insignificant bezel, but it claws back some aesthetic points by sporting a consistent thickness all the way around (something that’s not always a given and not always easy to do, from an engineering standpoint). The phone’s punch-hole front-facing camera sits in the top-left corner of the panel, while an optical in-display fingerprint sensor sits low and close to the bottom edge of the panel.

Despite the technical advantages an OLED panel usually brings, there’s no always-on display functionality, as yet (Nothing hasn’t confirmed any such functionality); however, a faint ring demarcating the fingerprint sensor’s placement does linger on the screen when the rest of the display shuts off, and despite the handset offering raise-to-wake functionality, you don’t need to rouse the Phone (1)’s display before pressing on the sensor to gain access.

As for the panel itself, the Full HD+ resolution offers a pleasingly sharp image with bold colors, while simple controls that let you adjust color temperature and vibrancy. You can also toggle the refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz to suit what you’re doing on the phone or to preserve battery life.

Nothing Phone (1) cameras

While the front-facing snapper clocks in at a somewhat unassuming 16MP, both rear cameras pack in the pixels at 50MP a piece. The main Sony IMX766 sensor supports by OIS (optical image stabilization) and is ubiquitous amongst phone makers (found on current offerings like the flagship Xiaomi 12 and mid-range OnePlus Nord 2), while the secondary 50MP Samsung JN1 ultrawide means you don’t have to compromise on sharpness when switching between the two focal lengths (at least where pixel count is concerned).

One of the few apps that Nothing pre-loads on the Phone (1) beyond its own-brand audio recorder is a tailored camera experience that features the brand’s black, red and white color palette and, among others, includes a dedicated macro shooting mode.

Nothing Phone (1) Audio and Software

Given that Nothing’s first product was a pair of Bluetooth earbuds, it should come as no surprise that the Phone (1) doesn’t feature a wired headphone jack, instead delivering audio over Bluetooth 5.2. Nothing’s own quick-pair functionality makes connecting select buds – such as the company’s own Nothing Ear (1) – instantly (although a full list of supported products hasn’t yet been shared).

The phone also sports dual stereo speakers, but understand that it’s not an even split, with the majority of the power being driven from the down-firing speaker, while the earpiece outputs mids and highs.

Nothing gave users a taste of its bespoke Android-based user experience ahead of the Phone (1)’s launch by releasing a launcher that could be installed on supported phones from other brands; however, the native experience offers a lot more depth.

The brand’s signature dot matrix font, which can be found across the phone’s hardware – such as on its glass back and even in the SIM tray – also carries across to the user interface, dubbed ‘Nothing OS’, fronting menus and select widgets.

Nothing OS falls into a similar camp to that of Motorola’s and Google’s own takes on Android, with mild adjustments that set it apart from a truly stock experience: folders can be enlarged to occupy a 2 x 2 space on a home screen, offering hybrid functionality; specific quick-settings widgets can be swiped through, providing more connectivity options at a glance; and, while it’s tucked away, there’s even a pop-up view for more convenient multitasking.

Nothing Phone (1) Performance and battery

One of the most controversial aspects of the Phone (1) ahead of launch was Nothing’s choice of chipset, with the company surprising industry watchers by implementing a tuned version of an older seventh-generation Qualcomm chipset – the Snapdragon 778G+.

This comes paired with a base 8GB RAM, but the top-tier model can be had with 12GB, while the ‘+’ denotes the inclusion of wireless (up to 15W) and reverse wireless (up to 5W) charging support.

Behind the glass and the visible components, the Phone (1) packs in a 4500mAh battery, which Nothing says delivers up to 18 hours of use per charge and refills to 50% in 30 minutes, provided you’ve picked up the appropriate 33W PD/Quick Charge 4.0-compliant power adapter. Nothing offers its own adapter, but doesn’t include one in the box, meaning all you’ll find is a white USB-C to USB-C cable.

Early verdict

For those that have been following along, the Phone (1)’s July 12 arrival marks a significant milestone for Nothing as a company, and serves as the true starting point for the their long-promised ecosystem.

The Phone (1) also fulfills its purpose as a statement piece with standout features that current rivals can’t compete on, if only because they didn’t think to.

In contrast to its unique design and lighting, the hardware that the Phone (1) serves up seems a little more pedestrian, but while there are a number of worthwhile alternatives around the Phone (1)’s price point few, if any, are as unforgettable.

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