Far from reproducing the same pattern as OnePlus in “flagship killer” mode, former members of the Oppo division, which is part of the Nothing team, rely on a smartphone that emphasizes design and unique features to the detriment of pure performance. A proof of the end of the race for power in phones?
From Apple to Samsung, from Oppo to Xiaomi, the proponents of smartphones are big industrial war machines. In this sea of sharks lands a small fish called Nothing. As a resident of the coral reefs, nothing is perhaps small but shiny: far from launching yet another smartphone, the company that plays the card with hype and design is launching a terminal called Phone (1), which has “the mouth”.
To succeed in excelling, and since all screens are the same, the Phone (1) plays the card of transparency. Under its glass shell – mandatory for wireless charging-compatible terminals – no engineers have worked on an industrial look. An apparent simplicity that is not one: ” making the decor appealing took a lot more work than for a normal terminal “, Explains Akis Evangelidis, Communications Director of Nothing. “ We had to find partners who were ready to polish the screws, paint or even fan the connecting cables. “, he explains.” And in a highly standardized industry, it’s not that easy! “, he laughs.
Because even before talking about technology, the Phone (1) is a design object. After assuming Tony Fadell (the father of the iPad) as an investor, the Nothing teams teamed up with design freaks from Teenage Engineering, crazy sound scientists who applied some of the recipes from their industrial design to this terminal. Especially through ergonomics.
let the light speak
Under the glass shell of this 6.65-inch and 193.5-gram terminal, Nothing has integrated an LED system. Inspired by neon lights, these light beams are not just a decorative element or a super flash system, but a communication system.
Specifically, a customizable and configurable lighting network, which the team calls the “Glyph interface”. A visual communication system that allows you to know the charging status of the terminal, to know who is calling you, to be notified of an important e-mail, etc. The entire terminal returned without having to look at the screen.
It is not necessary to specify that it will be necessary to wait for a test to verify whether it is a gadget or a really useful system that the engineers of Nothing have the heart to immortalize (I do not know about you, but I do ‘I would like to spend hours configuring it and “learning” a “language” if my next device does not have one …).
Datasheet: Nothing is OnePlus
Before OnePlus spread in rows of multiple references, OnePlus was once known for one thing: a single terminal with advanced components. It was for OnePlus that the press first used the term “high-end smartphone killer” (flagship killer), where the company has focused its strategy on advanced components (including SoCs and monitors) in affordable smartphones.
But nothing is not OnePlus. And instead of a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ or equivalent from MediaTek, nothing turned out to be a chip from the 7 Series. No, not even the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, which represents the flagship of the series, but a Snapdragon 778G +. A chip engraved in 6 nm and integrated a 5G modem, which is basically aimed at “gaming” smartphones (suffix G), which the Asian market is quite fond of. Depending on the versions, the phone (1) comes with 8/12 GB RAM and 128/256 GB storage space. A “plus middle class” partition that has nothing to shake the competition’s flagships in terms of raw power. But that nothing claims to be largely sufficient for 99% of the uses. This is especially so since the rest of the expected equipment – face recognition for unlocking, fingerprint reader, fast charging, wireless charging, etc. – is here. And even what we no longer expected, like the charger and the USB cable that is in the box.
Also on the photo side, the score is middle class. If the main camera module incorporates a good 50 Mpix sensor (Sony IMX766) to receive the light collected by the 24 mm f / 1.8 equivalent of the optical block, it is not part of the family of “giant” sensors (1 / 1.56 ”) and is not mechanically stabilized. Its only companion is an ultra-wide-angle optical module equivalent to a 14 mm f / 2.2 of suitable dimensions (Samsung JN1, 1 / 2.76 ”), but nothing more.
The photo is underway
The quality of the image depends as much on the hardware part as on the software. It is therefore left to see, in use, what is the technical mastery of Nothing for this first terminal. If, after reading the technical sheet, it appears that the company does not have the ambitions to attack Apple, Samsung and Oppo for its first model, Nothing refuses to skip the picture. And promised us that it will continue to work on the software part of its terminal – via more synergies with Google, which is one of the financiers of the adventure – but also on the division of future devices.
Afterwards, the modesty of the photographic technical sheet must be put into perspective: the device is shown at 469 € for the first price (8/128 GB), it would therefore be out of place to compare it with terminals that cost more than double in price calls. If it already takes good pictures, with precise colors, operational autofocus and good image processing in low light, it will already be taken (even at 400-500 euros, it is not acquired for all electronics).
If Nothing does not have the same commitment as Fairphone – which still created the industry’s first responsible electronic gold supply chain! – Nothing focuses part of its approach (and thus its communication!) On the “responsible” nature of the terminal. And as Apple claims a supply of 100% recycled aluminum, but also ” 50% of plastic components from bio- and recycled materials […] as well as packaging made from recycled fibers “according to the press release. So why supply the charger and USB cable? We will question them on this subject, although in any case the fair will soon be discussed on this subject.
On the software side – which greatly contributes to the durability of the terminals! – Nothing shows a good ambition: “tthree years of Android updates and four years of security fixes every two months. “If this promise does not reach the size of Apple, which is seven years of system and security updates, it is equivalent to what the tenors in the segment offer on their flagships more than twice as expensive. If nothing manages to do it better than them and grow to five – or even, let’s be crazy, match Apple – the brand can make an impression.
It has already started to make a good impression for a terminal with a really different look and some unique features – transparency, LED system on the back, original font, etc. – in a terminal that seeks the right balance between technical specifications, design and value for money. Without trying to be the cheapest in the world, Nothing still offers a device that stands out at around € 500. It changes us terminals of 1200 euros and more!
Nothing Phone (1) is available in black and white and will be marketed from July 21 on the Nothing.tech brand website and on Amazon.fr. While of course waiting for the first handler with distributors and mobile phone operators.
- 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage: 469 €
- 8 GB RAM / 256 GB storage: 499 €
- 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage space: 549 €