There’s not often an overwhelming amount of excitement about a phone. It’s challenging to create hype around phones, especially in recent times when all smartphones have been homogenous slabs made of plastic and glass. It’s not overstating it to claim that The Nothing phone (1) has probably been the most anticipated since renderings of the iPhone X broke the internet several years ago. With its distinct and hidden marketing strategy, obscure and elusive label, and, finally, the fantastic more than 900 LEDs, the Nothing Phone (1) indeed attracted the attention of the web.
The million-dollar question is: is the phone worth the hype? In all the glitter and flash of flashing lights and glitz, Does the phone make a mark in the competitive market for mid-range smartphones? Does it have the ability to compete with established competitors such as Samsung, Realme as well as Vivo? I’ve used The Nothing Phone (1) for the last few weeks, and I have broken my experience into the top and bottom aspects of the phone.
Specifications for key components
Let’s go through the basics of specifications. The phone (1) phone (1) runs on the Snapdragon’s powerful 5G mid-range chipset called the Snapdragon 778G+. It comes with a 6.55-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate with up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB of internal memory, and a powerful 4,500mAh battery that supports wired charging 33W. The model we tested was the most powerful model that came with 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage.
The Nothing Phone (1) runs Nothing OS on Android 12. The smartphone comes with a 16MP camera for selfies and two rear cameras; the primary camera is 50MP and features Sony’s IMX766 sensor and OIS and an ultra-wide 50MP camera with Samsung’s image sensor JN1.
What is the best way to work?
Unique design: Futuristic and sleek
There’s no doubt this: the Nothing Phone (1) indeed differs from other phones due to its Blade Runner-inspired modern design. The phone has a distinctive style, thanks to the presence of light strips hidden under a semi-transparent rear panel. There are four LED strips, one around the camera’s rear unit and a C-shaped one that surrounds that wireless charging unit, another which resembles an exclamation point at the bottom, and a diagonal strip in the right-hand corner.
The LEDs, which are over 9000 in total – flash to display notifications and the charging status. They can be sparkling in sync with ten preloaded Ringtones. The ‘GLYPH’ interface makes make the phone’s appearance distinctive. Does this help? It’s not really. More on this when we review the product. However, it does look fantastic.
There is nothing on OS. No clutter and no ads
None OS – – the official skin that runs on top of Android 12 – offers many customization options and is free of clutter, ads that aren’t needed, or spammy messages. It’s refreshing to have a smartphone within this budget that doesn’t overwhelm you with app installation suggestions or recommendations.
At first, Nothing OS had some problems with optimization – for instance, there was a sporadic glitch in animations and stuttering while using the interface. But, this issue appears to be more or less fixed with the three upgrades the phone received since it was launched. Navigating using the UI is quick and fluid now.
Bright, clear, and precise display
The OLED display with 1080p resolution is pretty bright and clear. The colors are exact and not over-saturated like other AMOLED displays. The show can support the 120 Hz refresh rate and the ability to sample at 240hz; as a result, the response to touch is fluid and rapid. The display also supports HDR10, HDR10+, and Widevine L1. I had a wonderful time watching various content, from live sporting events like Formula 1 on Hotstar to HDR-enabled content on Netflix.
Fluid and fast
On paper on paper, on paper, the Nothing Phone (1) seems to be a bit mediocre, with Snapdragon’s 5G’s mid-range Snapdragon 778G+ chipset underneath the hood, while competitors such as those with the iQOO 9SE 5G come with the premium Snapdragon 888, at the same price. But, it’s an excellent illustration of how specs are not the only factor that tells the whole picture.
Low-end processors have indeed come a long way, with they are now more than capable of handling everyday use. Snapdragon 778G+ has proven capable of handling the demands of regular usage. This, combined with the lightweight, minimal, and well-optimized OS, results in an uncomplicated user experience. It takes tasks like browsing the web apps, social media stream media, and heavy multitasking effortlessly. The phone can even run graphically-demanding games like Apex Legends at 60fps – albeit at lower graphic settings (Normal mode). The FPS drops periodically in these games, but less intense games such as Asphalt 9 run flawlessly.
Battery life is long and reliable, with wireless charging capabilities.
The Nothing Phone (1) has a good size battery of 4,500mAh. Although the battery’s life isn’t spectacular, it’s good. The phone lasted all day long in my tests with moderate to heavy use. The phone doesn’t; however, it is a two-day or 1.5-day marathon runner. You have to replenish it by the close of the day.
The cherry on top is wireless charging. The phone supports up to 15W of wireless charging, which isn’t often found in this price range. It also supports reverse wireless charging, which lets you charge wireless charging compatible devices such as earbuds or headphones by simply placing them on the phone’s stylish back.
Above average cameras
The Nothing Phone (1) bucks the trend of using useless depth and macro sensors to boost the number of cameras and has only two cameras in the back. The primary 50MP sensor is above average and takes terrific images during the day and in favorable light conditions. The colors are precise, while detail retrieval performance is impressive for the price. The performance in low-light conditions is also remarkable when you activate the night mode. The resultant images are pretty straightforward and sharp, with noise quite manageable. In the initial setup, the night mode takes an eternity to complete pictures. Thankfully, this was fixed with a significant update that the phone was recently given. The update also enhanced the colors of the ultra-wide angle camera that had been initially dull and dull.
The ultra-wide 50MP sensor can produce sharp and accurate images so long the lighting is in good condition. If the light decreases and the quality of the images decreases, so does quality. For video, the phone can do well thanks because of OIS, which allows for smooth, smooth, and jitter-free videos. The front-facing camera is good, but nothing to be excited about. Like the ultra-wide sensor, the image quality deteriorates significantly when the lighting is low.
What isn’t working?
GLYPH is not particularly useful at the moment
The phone’s most notable feature is also its weakest point. A 900 LED-based GLYPH interface is a bit dated and isn’t very effective in everyday usage. That’s not to say that the GLYPH interface isn’t good. This distinctive design is a breath of sunshine. However, the interface has to be customized for it to be effective. As of this review, GLYPH’s GLYPH interface is relatively small. These LEDs – which are over 9000 in total – blink to indicate notifications as well as the status of charging. They can also flash with ten preloaded ringtones. Additionally, you can utilize GLYPH lights to illuminate your surroundings. GLYPH lights light up your surroundings while working with the camera.
There are no specific lighting patterns specific to a particular user. You cannot assign specific ways to apps such as Whatsapp or Telegram. The included ringtones are too monotone and monophonic. For some, the bright lights could be perceived as somewhat sloppy. I forgot about the bright lighting following the first week of use and became more engrossed in the other, more practical features that the handset offers, such as the smooth OS and clean performance. The only GLYPH-related part I found helpful was the charging meter that highlights the exclamation mark at the bottom with the charging progress, which gives a useful visual indication of the remaining time to charge.
Nothing in OS requires polishing or spit.
Although Nothing OS is fast, fluid, and free of clutter, it can seem like an initial-generation product. It requires some refinement. The drop-down notification area, for example, is not intuitive. You have to tap twice to open the brightness controls and the button to adjust settings, and Wi-Fi control access requires three swipes. Another issue can be found within the menu for multitasking, where the button to clear all is located towards the right of the opened applications list.
The settings menu requires improvement – the different options, settings, and sub-menus are presented in plain, boring lists with no apparent visual indications.
- Because of the GLYPH interface and the 990 LEDs on the back, The Nothing Phone (1) is somewhat bulky. This is why holding or using only one hand isn’t comfortable.
- While the screen is fantastic but audio quality is average. They’re loud but can become tinny and shrill in high volume, as the bass and mids are weak.
- 33W wireless charging isn’t the fastest that you could get; however, it’s better than the majority of Samsung products at this price (25W). The total charge can take around 1.5 hours.
- Its IP53 rating is quite average. The phone is likely to withstand small splashes of water. However, that’s it. Similar-priced Samsung smartphones such as Galaxy A53, the Galaxy A53, and Galaxy S20FE provide IP67 and IP68 dust and water protection, respectively.
- Using the Nothing Phone (1), you’re ultimately risking your money on the newest and most anticipated brand. It will be interesting to see how it performs concerning software updates and after-sales services. There’s some discontent on the update front as an Android 13 update is not coming this year but is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.
In the simplest terms, Do you want to buy the Nothing Phone (1)?
The excitement surrounding this phone, Nothing Phone (1), is high-energy, and it’s easy to be lost in all the noise. If you’re buying the phone solely to use the GLYPH Interface, you could be disappointed, as it seems somewhat sloppy currently. Additionally, charging speeds are average. The phone is significant, and long-term updates, as well as after-service, are a concern. If you look past the flashes, you’ll discover an excellent phone underneath.
Simply put, the Nothing Phone (1) is an excellent choice for people looking to be different from the rest and aren’t afraid to buy a new product from a company. Beyond the appearance and the shine of the lights, the phone is a well-organized, solid smartphone with decent but not astonishing performance, a long-lasting battery, a camera that is above average, and a simple and clean Android skin.