a unique phone

We had the opportunity to see and handle the Nothing phone (1), one of the most anticipated phones this summer. Printouts.

No phone (1) from the front // Source: Robin Wycke – Frandroid

Carl Pei, iconic co-founder of OnePlus, launched his new high-tech brand in January 2021: Nothing. It may not be anything, but a year and a half later, the first phone call from the company is awaited with great impatience by technophiles. The hype is high, but will the product live up to it? We saw the Nothing phone (1) – freshly formalized – for an hour, and here’s our opinion on the matter.

A unique design

From the first contact, what shocks me most is, of course, its design. If in its flat-edged shapes it resembles the latest iPhones, its transparent back cover gives it an undoubtedly unique visual aspect … and extremely successful. Especially in its white color, which allows more people to perceive all the details of this design.

And details that are many to discover. Between the little onesNothing‘On the edge, the different textures of the plates visible by transparency, or even the shape of an elephant at the bottom right, are all well thought out to create as much of a game track as a marvel. Of course, all this care will not be immediately perceived by everyone, the gaze is rather attracted to the LEDs, all in curves and in straight lines reminiscent of Nazca’s geoglyphs. Really, the result is visually very successful and we can only appreciate the risk.

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We can see an elephant on the back of the Nothing phone (1) // Source: Robin Wycke – Frandroid

On the side of the grip, we do not grumble either. With just over 190 grams in weight, the Nothing phone (1) is not too heavy and it fits well in the hand. Not everyone appreciates straight edges, but we can not deny that this ensures a really good stability for the phone, both between the fingers and placed vertically on a table. Horizontally, however, note that its photo module protrudes enough to make it wobble when you press its keyboard. A very common defect for fortunately very rare use.

From a very personal point of view, I must admit that I regretted that I did not find alarm slider this little one Contact present on OnePlus and Apple, so you can very quickly switch from vibration mode to silent or ringtone mode and vice versa. Maybe for a next iteration?

What we do find, however, is a magnificent screen on the front. It is a flexible OLED panel that has enabled Nothing to integrate a uniform contour, which is still too rare. On paper, it does not have much to envy the best: Full HD +, 120 Hz, 1200 cd / m², HDR10 +, Gorilla Glass 5 … Everything is there, and to the eye there is nothing to blame him. We will have to wait for our full test and a passage under our probe to confirm what it is really worth.

A basic interface

The Nothing phone (1) runs on Android 12 and a home interface, and it does not really innovate on its software features apart from its luminous glyph. Here we have to settle for the absolute minimum. The functions are few and not always well arranged, but the essentials are there. We are therefore far from the Oxygen OS (OnePlus interface), but it remains comfortable, especially as there are still some good ideas, such as highlighting devices connected to Bluetooth for example to easily manage them from the quick settings menu, or the use of the brand’s font.

Moreover, Nothing wanted to create a real ecosystem, with its own products of course, but also products from other popular brands. The Nothing phone (1) will therefore integrate Tesla’s APIs into beta when it is released, and those from AirPods Pro in the future to facilitate interactions with these products.

Above all, this minimalism wants to make room for a new way of using your smartphone. “We want to minimize interactions with the screen“, Admits a spokesman for the brand. With Flip to Glyph, you simply turn your phone to receive a lot of information through the LEDs. In particular, you can select different flashes for each contact or group of contacts, or even look in a singleDouble clickbattery level during charging. The idea is good to see in the long run if it goes beyond the simple gimmick.

Despite our first test on a beta version, the interface seemed very fluid despite its midrange configuration. Remember that on board we find a Snapdragon 778G and 8 to 12 GB of RAM (8 GB in the version we had on hand).

Ecological wishes

A young company, Nothing wants to show its credentials from the start and exhibits great ecological ambitions in an industry that pollutes a lot. Without going as far as Fairphone’s commitments, the small London company has announced that it will stop buying CO2 credits because they want to invest in what really matters. The packaging of the phone (1) is therefore refined, its frame is made of 100% recycled aluminum and 50% of the plastic components in the phone are also recycled. Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain recycled materials on a large scale, which complicates the company’s desire to go even further in its approach.

A price to be paid

As you know, an extraordinary design and ecological ambitions have a cost. From 469 euros, the Nothing phone (1) is more expensive than a phone with a similar technical data sheet. There are obviously a few unknowns in the balance, such as its autonomy or the quality of its images for example. Nothing has integrated two 50 Mpx sensors (wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle), and refuses to add unnecessary sensors just to inflate the number of lines in the technical sheet and the final price. We can only applaud the initiative.

At first glance, the Nothing phone (1) seems to be interested in the essentials and the design and add little news that will delight the most tech-savvy people who will not be afraid to pay a little more for it.

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