Nothing Cellphone 1 overview: An Android with funky lights on the clear again | Smartphones

TeaThat Cellphone 1 is the primary smartphone from British expertise startup Nothing, led by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, which has set itself up with the intention of bringing a little bit curiosity and enthusiasm again to the fast-growing world of client electronics. ,

However the agency’s follow-up to the funky Ear 1 earbuds is not a flashy top-spec cellphone. Priced at £399 (A$749), it appears to compete straight with Samsung’s mid-range A-series and extra reasonably priced fashions like Google’s Pixel 6a. It does so whereas providing one thing distinctive: a collection of white LED strips scattered behind a clear glass to create patterns of sunshine that nothing says “glyph”.

5 completely different gentle bars flash and pulse in time for sound and vibration patterns for 10 completely different ringtones and notification sounds, and present the charging standing when the cellphone is plugged in. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Completely different gentle patterns present who is asking, which app is notifying you and even several types of notifications from the identical app with out trying on the display. For instance, you’ll be able to set a sample for work e mail or a sample for private e mail in Gmail, however, sadly, you’ll be able to’t differentiate between messages from completely different contacts, solely calls.

The glyphs and clear again add a little bit of curiosity to the in any other case largely understated design. The recycled aluminum sides and flat OLED display look remarkably just like an Apple cellphone, prompting multiple individual to ask if I am holding the iPhone 13. Nonetheless, construct high quality is nice, and the Full HD 6.55in display is superb cash: huge, vivid, crisp and super-sleek, due to the 120Hz refresh fee.


  • display: 6.55in 120Hz FHD+ OLED (402ppi)

  • Processor: Snapdragon 778G Plus

  • to hit: 8 or 12GB

  • storage: 128 or 256GB

  • Working System: Android 12 with nothing OS

  • Digital camera: 50MP primary and ultrawide, 16MP selfie

  • Connectivity: 5G, eSIM, WiFi 6E, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2 and GNSS

  • water resistance: IP53 (splash-resistant)

  • Dimensions: 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm

  • weight: 193.5g

A quick, mid-range chip

The Nothing Phone 1's USB-C port.
The cellphone helps wired charging of as much as 33W, reaching 100% in an hour, however would not include an influence adapter. 15W wi-fi charging and 5W reverse wi-fi charging can be obtainable. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The cellphone has a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus chip, which is completely succesful in day-to-day use, with the interface and apps feeling very quick.

Nonetheless, it falls in need of the top-class chips’ uncooked efficiency, which is most noticeable when processing photos and its sluggish switching between lenses within the digital camera after taking pictures. Solely these mid-range telephones which have top-spec chips, similar to Apple’s iPhone SE or Google’s Pixel 6a, will carry out higher for the value.

Battery life is nice, lasting about 38 hours between fees, together with two hours on 5G, placing it on par with most high gadgets. You’ll most likely must cost it as soon as a day.


The Nothing Phone 1 seen from above shows off the recycled aluminum bands around its edges.
The cellphone is made from recycled aluminum and plastic with a premium appear and feel much less widespread for a mid-range smartphone. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Nothing charges the battery for at the very least 800 full cost cycles whereas sustaining at the very least 80% of its authentic capability. Cellphone 1 is often repairable within the UK and the battery is replaceable by nothing.

The Cellphone 1 is constituted of 100% recycled aluminum, with over 50% of its plastic elements constituted of bio-based or recycled supplies. The corporate plans to publish an environmental affect report for the cellphone, which it says has a carbon footprint of 58.5Kg of CO.2 equal.

nothing os

The Quick Settings panel on the Nothing Phone 1.
There are additionally some customized options within the Fast Settings panel that nothing else is meant so as to add, similar to integration with Tesla’s vehicles, so you’ll be able to unlock doorways remotely. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Cellphone 1 comes with a stripped-back model of Android 12 referred to as Nothing OS. It gives all of the options you’d anticipate, however with out the plethora of duplicate apps, relying totally on apps offered by Google, which is an effective factor.

The interface is sprinkled with a contact of dot-matrix nostalgia in its widgets, typefaces, and logos, together with some customized wallpapers and a voice recorder app with a novel record-player-like interface. It is charming with out being too radical.

The corporate will roll out three years of main Android updates each two months and a complete of 4 years of safety fixes. That is first rate, however a 12 months lower than what competing gadgets from Google and Samsung provide, and nicely behind the six to seven years of help from Fairphone and Apple.

Nothing OS was clean and steady however I did encounter some minor bugs, a few of which have been mounted throughout the trial interval, so I’ve little question that these remaining issues shall be resolved. When restoring the cellphone from a cloud backup of my knowledge, the autorotation between portrait and panorama did not work, and neither was the glyph gentle displaying Google Assistant exercise. Organising the cellphone with out restoring my knowledge mounted the issues.

digital camera

The camera app on the Nothing Phone 1 showing the viewfinder.
The digital camera app is simple to make use of and similar to different Android smartphones, so many individuals shall be acquainted. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Cellphone 1 has a refreshingly easy lens lineup on the again, with simply two 50-megapixel cameras – one regular and one ultrawide – for advertising and marketing functions with extra-nonsense macro or monochrome cameras widespread on mid-range telephones.

Each cameras are good for the cash. The primary digital camera produces one of the best photos which usually have good coloration steadiness and element. Images could lack some sharpness and nice element when seen at full measurement, and it may be a bit tough to take sharp pictures in low gentle. The Ultrawide produces photos with cooler tones and softer element however nonetheless first rate. The digital camera can typically overshadow elements of a picture, similar to crimson flowers dropping all definition and virtually glowing.

The cellphone has no telephoto digital camera, however the digital zoom produced usable photos at 2x, filled with artifacts after about 5x magnification. Glyphs could be lit at night time to create a fill gentle as an alternative of utilizing a flash, which is novel however produces a bluish tint to pictures. The selfie digital camera is equally good, producing detailed photos in good gentle.

Video recording was strong for the cash however solely as much as 4K at 30 frames per second, not 60 as more and more widespread.

Total, the Cellphone 1 is able to producing actually good photos, and beats out many mid-range rivals, however will not trouble one of the best.

An image showing the fingerprint scanner illuminated at the bottom of the Nothing Phone 1's screen.
The optical fingerprint scanner beneath the display is quick and correct. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian


The Nothing Cellphone 1 prices £399 (A$749) with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, £449 (A$799) with 8GB and 256GB, or £499 (A$849) with 12GB and 256GB, and is available in black or white. Out there in color. relying on the mannequin.

For comparability, the Google Pixel 6a prices £399, the Samsung Galaxy A53 prices £399, the Fairphone 4 prices £499, and the Apple iPhone SE prices £419.


The Cellphone 1 is a remarkably well-executed first try at a smartphone out of nothing.

Its design is distinctive on the rear and less complicated than anyplace else. You may not just like the iPhone-like look, however the recycled aluminum sides can actually really feel extra premium than the aggressive mid-range price ticket.

The glyph lights on the again are actually novel and attention-grabbing however remembering which sample is which is difficult, and I usually keep away from holding the cellphone down to forestall scratches. It is good to see one thing completely different and enjoyable although.

Regardless of an odd bug as a consequence of be mounted, the Android software program is pleasantly bloat-free, which helps the cellphone really feel quick in use. Battery life can be fairly good. The four-year promised software program replace is nice, however not one of the best, and counting on nothing being profitable in assembly its dedication is not assured for any new entrants.

It has lots of stiff competitors from rivals like Google’s glorious Pixel 6a, however in comparison with lots of boring mid-range telephones, the £399 Nothing Cellphone 1 stands out.

Execs: Novel again design, Glyph lights are a bit completely different, good display, good efficiency, strong battery life, recycled aluminum, bloat-free Android 12, aggressive worth.

Shortcoming: No optical zoom, solely 4 years of safety updates, solely splash-resistant, nothing unknown quantities.

A photo showing the camera and other design elements on the transparent back of the Nothing Phone 1.
The design of the again displaying the wi-fi charging coil, screws and different particulars is the standout characteristic of the Cellphone 1. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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