Nothing Phone (1): features, price, test

A new smartphone brand in 2022? And why not! The Brits from nowhere try the adventure with their very first model soberly named Telephone (1). A mid-range device that relies mainly on its design.

The arrival of a new, ambitious player in the smartphone world remains an event, and we can say that the young brand Nothing made a great effort to create buzz around its first model. After months of communication based on practically nothing other than a few fairly standard technical elements and a mysterious visual identity, Carl Pei, one of the founders of OnePlus, which he left in 2020 and head of Nothing, has finally revealed the Nothing Phone (1 ) on at the beginning of summer. On the program, a mid-range smartphone to face the giants of the market already well established in this field, which is full of models from Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi or Honor. And to stand out, Nothing, which until now has only produced wireless headphones, focuses above all on design. Is his smartphone sufficiently equipped to compete?

What are the technical characteristics of the Nothing Phone (1)?

Although it becomes very difficult to distinguish one smartphone model from another, Intet offers a new approach to not going unnoticed. The brand doesn’t forget to take care of what’s under the hood.

Design. If there’s one element that sets the Nothing Phone (1) apart from other smartphones, it’s its design. In front, of course, nothing less traditional than a 6.55-inch AMOLED screen flanked by a punch located at the top left to allow the front camera to pass. On the flip side, however, it’s a completely different story. Available in black or white, the phone has a transparent case that lets you see part of the device’s interior. But above all, it is adorned with glyphs of white LEDs. These emphasize the contours of the photo sensors and the wireless charging coil and point to the USB-C connection port.

© Nothing

Decorative, they also have two functions. The first is to inform about the arrival of messages using various flashes. Each glyph can light independently of the others. Practical when the smartphone is laid flat on the screen. The other use of these glyphs, consisting of LEDs whose light intensity remains quite high, is to illuminate a scene to, for example, take a picture (although a standard flash supports the photo sensors). Apart from this original back, the Nothing Phone (1) adopts a design similar to those designed by Apple. The dials are flat and surrounded by aluminum, and the power and volume buttons are arranged in the same way as on the iPhone. Everything benefits from an IP53 certification, which protects the smartphone from splashes, but no more. So be careful not to fall into water or very dusty environments.

© Nothing

Screen. For its first smartphone model, Nothing chose a 6.55-inch OLED panel with a definition of 2400 x 1080 pixels at a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The screen is thus quite bright, but stays within the standards for the mid-market. The refresh at 120 Hz provides a fairly pleasant fluidity. Also note that the screen hides a fingerprint reader that is responsive enough to unlock the device.

Processor. With the phone (1), Nothing is inaugurating a Snapdragon 778G+ processor developed by Qualcomm specifically for the brand. It is thanks to him that the device uses wireless charging. In terms of performance, the chip has nothing to be ashamed of compared to the market leaders. Responsiveness is in place. We encountered no slowdowns during our use. Backed by 8GB of RAM, the Snapdragon 778G+ was able to maintain a reasonable temperature even in the summer heat.

Autonomy. At this point, nothing again meets market standards. The device has a 4500 mHa battery which allows it to last the whole day without going through the recharge box. Warning: excessive use of LED glyphs can reduce its autonomy. It’s also worth noting that Nothing doesn’t provide any loader out of the box. The brand offers an optional 45W USB charger charged at €35. But any other charger can do the trick, especially since the one offered by Nothing is more powerful than necessary, since the smartphone accepts a wired recharge of up to 33 W. The device can also be recharged wirelessly (15 W) and also allows the reverse charging to, for example, refuel your headphones.

© Nothing

System. Nothing Phone (1) runs on Android 12 enhanced with a simple NothingOS software overlay. It takes up the brand’s design with its easily identifiable typography.

There is of course a settings menu to manage the glyphs on the back of the smartphone to choose between the different flashing scenarios for notifications and calls. Small regret: it is not possible to compose the light sequences of the glyphs yourself. More than hoping that a software update allows to do what we want. Finally, nothing indicates that it provides 3 years of major Android updates (enough to go up to Android 15) and 4 years of security updates.

Photo. At a time when smartphone manufacturers compete in ingenuity to multiply the photo sensors on their devices, Nothing plays the card of sobriety. The telephone (1) thus embeds only two modules. The first is a 50 Megapixel (Mpx) sensor and the second a 50 Mpx ultra-wide angle/macro module. Overall, both sensors give very decent results. With optimal light, the device delivers quality images while respecting natural colors. There is also diving.

In ultra-wide mode, the result is less striking, with a slight loss of detail and slight edge distortion. Nevertheless, the device provides quite usable images.

Finally, the macro mode remains very valuable and allows you to produce original photos, even if the use is less frequent.

With images in low light, the Nothing Phone (1) is a little less comfortable. Even after the update to version 1.1.3 of the system two weeks after receiving the device and supposed to improve night images, the results are hard to convince. However, this small update has the benefit of reducing the exposure time required to capture the image (thus reducing the risk of blurry images). The device thus delivers correct images as long as you don’t want to look for details. Note that for portraits in low light, it is possible to put the Led glyphs placed on the back of the mobile to help take advantage of more light. This results in more detailed but also colder recordings.

For selfies, the brand opted for a 16MP sensor. It provides satisfactory performance, but does not match what Vivo, for example, offers. can offer.

What is Nothing Phone (1) worth?

We were able to use the Nothing Phone (1) for several weeks. And it seems obvious that this mobile does not leave anyone indifferent. Its design naturally piques curiosity. Number of people first crossed took the phone (1) for an iPhone covered with an original “geek” shell. The shape of the mobile, its edges, its sensors… everything is inspired by the iPhone. Glyphs also have their small effect on assists. Seemingly a gadget, but they quickly prove to be useful for not missing the notifications … provided you agree to lay the smartphone flat on the screen to take advantage of them. After this good design surprise, we found a rather classic mid-range smartphone. We appreciated the simplicity of Nothing OS, although we would have liked to have benefited from more customization options, especially in terms of handling glyphs. The behavior of the mobile phone did not disappoint us. Even in the heat, the device remained smooth and responsive without ever overheating. As for the photo part, Nothing Phone (1) offers absolutely correct services for the asking price. A device suitable for those looking for a bit of modernity and originality without sacrificing performance in a universe of smartphones that is always a bit tight.

What is the price of Nothing Phone (1)?

The mid-range smartphone comes in three versions. An initial 8-128 GB configuration is billed at 469 euros. An intermediate version, 8-256 GB has a price of 499 euros. Finally, the most solid version, 12-256 GB, is marketed at 549 euros. The prices place it above Samsung’s Galaxy A series, but in front of the Oppo Find X3 and, above all, directly in direct competition with the OnePlus Nord from the company co-founded by Carl Pei.

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