The Nothing Phone 1 is the very first smartphone from the brand owned by Carl Pei. Nothing is a brand that came into existence using minimalism to its advantage. We saw that with their very first product, the Nothing Ear 1. With the Nothing Phone 1, it is the same, and that is a great thing.
Talking about the Nothing Phone 1 specs, it comes with a gorgeous 6.55-inch Flexible OLED display. The display is backed by a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ certification. Under the hood, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC powers the device. This is a slight upgrade over the vanilla Snapdragon 778G. An upgrade, nonetheless.
In terms of optics, there is a dual-rear camera setup. The setup includes a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 primary sensor with OIS and very impressive features. There is a 4500mAh battery fueling the device, which is paired with up to 33W fast charging support.
The Nothing Phone 1’s Glyph Interface and overall design is what will attract you the most. Before getting the device, we wanted to let you in on a handful of details. So, ahead of our detailed Nothing Phone 1 review, here’s a quick rundown of some important aspects of the device.
The Nothing Phone 1 price in India starts at Rs. 32,999 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage variant. There are two other variants for the newly launched device. One variant offers 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage, while the other offers 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. These cost Rs. 35,999 and Rs. 38,999 in the country, respectively.
When it comes to colour options, you get the White and Black colour options to choose from. You can buy the phone online from Flipkart.
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The Nothing Phone 1 packs the following items inside the box:
- USB-C Cable
- Sim Tray Ejector
- Safety Information
- Warranty Card
Before we talk in detail about the device, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.55 inches OLED
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus
- RAM & ROM: 8GB RAM 128GB Storage, 8GB RAM 256GB Storage, 12GB RAM 256GB Storage
- Software: Android v12
- Rear camera: 50MP + 50MP
- Selfie camera: 16 MP
- Battery: 4500 mAh
- Weight: 193.5 grams
- Dimensions: 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm
The smartphone’s design is what makes it outshine all the other smartphones on the market right now. Of course, it does come down to a matter of personal preference. Some may prefer the semi-transparent design, whereas others may not. However, the fact that Nothing has actually done a lot of brainstorming into making this device is evident and worthy of every bit of praise.
In 2022, smartphone designs have started getting very boring and downright similar. That same gradient finish is getting old now. There have to be newer innovations, and Nothing Phone 1 is proof of the fact that there’s no end to it. However, the most incredible aspect of this smartphone’s design is not its semi-transparent back.
It is the Glyph Interface of the device that is making tech enthusiasts drool over it. Whether you are a fan of LED lighting or not, that is a completely different topic altogether. What matters here is that Nothing has left no stones unturned on the design front. They indeed did go all out on this and that is more than commendable.
The Glyph Interface is basically the staggering 900 LEDs and 400 components used to make the device. These hundreds of LEDs react when you receive a call or notification. What’s more, there is a beautiful lighting animation when the device is charging or reverse wireless charging other devices.
Now, if you have been an iPhone user and want to shift to Android, this is hands down the best device for you. We are not just saying that because of its stunning design. The boxy shape is similar to what you get to see on the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 series models. Some may prefer it, while others may just get their fingers dented with the shape.
Either way, it comes down to personal preferences. For an iPhone user, not a problem. All-in-all, the Nothing Phone 1 is one hell of an eye candy that is surely going to turn a whole lot of heads.
Let me tell you straight away, I really liked the cameras of Nothing Phone 1. The Nothing Phone 1 boasts a dual camera setup on the back. This includes a 50MP primary camera and a 50MP ultra wide lens. On the front, you get a 16MP camera for taking selfies.
The primary camera took great pictures that were packed with details and clarity in the daylight. The images were bright and I found them to be a little bit oversaturated. I had no problem with it; however, some may not like it.
The portrait shots also came out to be good. The subject was properly separated from the background. However, the bokeh effect didn’t look the best. On the other hand, the shutter speed was quick and OIS helped me to take stable pictures.
Now coming to the ultra wide lens, the images were pretty good. However, things didn’t look so good at the corners. The details were far from the primary camera and the images were also warmer.
The 16MP front camera impressed me with the image quality. The selfies came out to be fantastic in proper lighting. The images were full of details and the skin tone looked pretty natural. Portrait selfies were also likewise good with on-point edge detection and blur effect.
You can also use the Glyph lights on the back as soft lighting while taking pictures or recording videos. Another hidden feature is that you can turn on the recording light indicator in the camera app which blinks a red LED on the back of the phone and keeps you informed that the phone is recording.
The phone can record up to 4K videos at 30FPS or 1080p videos at 60FPS. Whereas the front camera can only record up to 1080p at 30FPS. The videos from the back camera were packed with details and punchy colours. Thanks to the OIS, the videos came out to be pretty stable.
The Nothing Phone 1 packs a decent sized 4500 mAh battery. I know that the battery should have been a bit more but trust me, it will easily last a day of heavy use. I got about 5-6 hours of screen on time which is pretty good.
My usage involved a few hours of watching series, scrolling through social media and gaming. Now, if you are a light user, the phone can deliver two days of battery life. Overall, the battery life does not disappoint.
Now coming to charging, the Nothing Phone 1 can fast charge at 33W; however, you do not get to see a charger in the box. The 33W fast charging can fully charge the phone from 0 to 100 per cent in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The phone also supports wireless charging but that’ll be rather slow at 15W.
Additionally, you can also get the reverse charging support which can be used to charge your TWS earbuds at 5W.
Let’s now talk about that crazy looking display. The Nothing Phone 1 comes with a 6.55-inch OLED display with FHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. The company claims the phone has a peak brightness of 1200 nits. I used the phone in direct sunlight and found the texts and overall UI easily readable.
The front side is surrounded by not so thin bezels from all sides. You will find a punch hole camera on the top left while an optical fingerprint reader is placed inside the display on the bottom side.
The FHD+ OLED panel offers a great viewing experience and amazing colours. The display is vibrant and sharp, and the viewing angles were likewise good. I had a great time watching movies and playing games.
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The 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate makes sure that the UI is smooth and responsive. Not just this, you also get the dynamic refresh rate feature which automatically changes the refresh rate depending on the app you are using.
Nothing Phone 1 has a feature to show basic info on the lock screen which is somewhat its own kind of always on display feature. You can turn this on by going into the lock screen menu in the display settings.
Gorilla Glass 5 shields the display to some extent from mild scratches and accidental drops.
Heading toward the performance, I expected more from Nothing. The Nothing Phone 1 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ chipset which is paired with up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.
When I said I expected more, don’t get me wrong. Nothing phone 1 breeze through everyday tasks. The phone can easily multitask and switch between multiple apps. I did not experience any kinds of lags and shutters while using the device.
I did some benchmarking and the Geekench score came out to be 821 for single-core performance and 2900 for multi-core performance.
It was time to try out some games. I played a couple of popular titles including BGMI, Call of Duty Mobile, and Apex Legends Mobile. All the games ran well in medium to high settings. BGMI maxed out to HDR graphics with Ultra frame rates.
COD Mobile could max out to Very High graphics and Max frame rates. Both the games ran super smooth with no lags whatsoever, thanks to the high refresh rate display.
The phone got a little warm to touch after 30 minutes of continuous gaming, especially on the upper side. However, it was not to an extent where it caused some discomfort.
The Nothing Phone 1 runs on Nothing OS 1.0.2 skin which is based on Android 12 which offers near stock android experience. The whole UI is rich with features that are never seen before on any other smartphone. There’s a lot that the new Glyph Interface can do.
One major change in the OS is the notification shade which is completely different from what we are used to seeing. Once you swipe down to expand the notification shade, the Mobile data and Bluetooth icons swell up like a balloon and there is no option to change these for some other option.
Now let’s talk about the Glyph Interface which comprises of more than 900 LEDs to make an amazing interface. You can customise the LED interface on the back to respond to notifications, calls and even charging. You also get the option to use Glyph Interface only when the device is flipped and facing downward.
You can choose among 10 different in-built ringtones or even add your own that syncs with the LED patterns. One thing to appreciate about the phone is that it does not come pre-installed with any kind of bloatware.
Nothing deserves some praise for offering three years of major OS updates along with four years of security patch updates, making the device that much more enticing in terms of affordability and longevity.
The Nothing Phone 1 boats stereo speakers, one located at the bottom whereas the earpiece acting as the other. The sound quality was pretty good and I found the speakers to be loud enough.
The phone supports 5G connectivity along with 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11, GPS and NFC as other connectivity options.
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Talking about biometrics, the phone comes with an optical in-display fingerprint reader which unlocks the phone very quickly with good accuracy. I never had to tap more than once to unlock the phone. You can also use the face unlock feature, which works equally good.
While I won’t suggest Nothing Phone 1 to power users, I can say one thing for sure. This is for those that buy smartphones mostly on the basis of aesthetics. It will be an absolute no-brainer for such folks. It checks all the boxes of a good phone and impresses me as the first smartphone from a new company.
In addition to the impressive display and cameras, this smartphone has a premium build quality and in-hand feel. However, the battery life is not very good, and those who are more hungry for performance may look somewhere else.
The Nothing Phone 1 is a great choice if you’re looking for a smartphone under Rs. 35,000 with a fresh innovative design and smooth user interface.