comscore Nothing Phone (1) first impressions: Walking a tightrope in style

Nothing Phone (1) hands-on: Walking a tightrope in style

Nothing Phone (1) brings a lot of new things to a stale smartphone market. You will love it or hate it, but you just can't ignore it.

Nothing Phone 1 Launch

Nothing Phone 1 glows up when you get a call or a notification.

That’s exactly how I’d sum up the Nothing Phone (1). The Nothing Phone 1 is easily one of the most hyped smartphones launched in the last decade. The massive interest it has generated can also be a huge liability. The Phone 1 needs to live up to its promise of offering something new, something unique. But does it really offer something that other Android devices don’t? Let’s find out. Also Read - Nothing Phone (1) to go on sale again in India on August 5 exclusively via Flipkart: Check price, specifications and more

Also Read - Nothing Phone (1) Lite specifications leaked, may be priced under Rs 25,000: Report

Nothing Phone (1) Design

Usually, there’s not a lot to talk about in this segment. But in the case of Nothing Phone (1), it’s exactly what makes or breaks the device. Nothing Phone (1) does bring something different to the table. The smartphone industry has been almost too stale, especially with designs. Apart from rare exceptions here and there, they are all just hardware sandwiched between glass. If you were expecting Nothing to turn the tables completely, you might feel disappointed. The Nothing Phone (1) has the same glass-sandwich design. But, there’s more. The device comes with a transparent back which has been kept tidy by using monotone colour elements. Also Read - Nothing Phone (1) gets new update with better battery charging performance, UI changes

Our review unit was white and the transparent back did feel coherent. This is not an entirely new concept. There have been smartphone makers that have tried this before but what separates the Nothing Phone (1) is that it uses a completely transparent back. You can see the wireless charging coil some ribbons (wiring for smartphones), all the screws holding the back panel plates in place and of course, the lights.

If you hold the device with a blindfold on, there’s no way you’ll be able to tell it is a Nothing Phone (1). However, it does give a premium appeal due to the flat edges and metal frame. You won’t be mistaken to say that it is inspired by the current generation of iPhones.

Nothing Phone (1) Glyph Interface

While the Glyph interface also falls in the Design aspect of things, we believe it deserves an independent mention. The Glyph Interface is the feature through which you can use the lights on the back panel. With the default settings on, the Nothing Phone (1) only uses it when the phone rings or there’s a notification. There’s sound to go with the light interface which adds to the experience. You get a small selection of specially created ringtones for Nothing Phone 1. It definitely does offer a different experience in the sea of boring ringtones and notification sounds.
Nothing might add more ringtone and notification sounds to the arsenal in the coming months.

Nothing Phone (1) Display

Now that we’ve gotten the quirky stuff out of the way, let’s talk basics. Starting with the Display panel. Nothing Phone (1) gets an aptly-sized 6.55-inch panel with FullHD+ resolution. It gets 120Hz refresh rate, which can be restricted to 60Hz for additional battery life. In my experience, the display did well. You might have to tweak the colour temperature to your likeness to get the best out of it. The display is not class-leading or exceptional in any regard but the flat screen and decently-sized bezels do give a premium touch and feel. The touch response was also good for gaming.


Nothing Phone 1 Playing Apex Legends Mobile (Image: Danny Dcruze)

Nothing Phone (1) Performance

Nothing made a bold call by opting for a year-old SoC. In chipset years, one year can mean a lot. The Nothing Phone 1 has opted to go with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+. The ‘+’ makes it refreshed version with a few additional features like wireless charging and 5G. In my time with the device, Nothing Phone (1) performed well in terms of daily tasks. The phone felt snappy, thanks to the almost stock Android experience as well as the 120Hz display.

While playing graphically intense games like Apex Legends Mobile, the phone performed well with no noticeable frame drops. The temperature did spike but not to levels where it gets difficult to handle the phone. The phone gets a dedicated Game Mode that precisely matches sound to graphics. Also, there’ll be less distraction as the mode minimizes notifications.

Dual Camera setup on Nothing Phone 1 (Image: Danny Dcruze)

Nothing Phone (1) Camera

Nothing Phone (1) comes with a modest dual camera setup. Despite being behind in terms of the number of sensors, you won’t miss a telephoto or macro lens. The primary lens is a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor. The lens supports dual image stabilisation and 10-bit colour videos. It also gets a Night Mode and Scene Detection mode which uses AI to offer a better image.

In our limited experience with the camera, optics may not be one of the strong points of the Nothing Phone (1). It does click decent daytime pictures but do not expect flagship-level details. Additionally, the low-light performance is nothing to write home about. There’s noticeable noise in low-lit scenes. Turning on the night mode helps, but not to a great degree. Watch out for our complete review and camera comparisons for a better idea about the overall performance.

Nothing Phone 1 gets 33W fast charging. (Image: Danny Dcruze)

Nothing Phone (1) Battery and Charging

The Nothing Phone (1) is powered by a 4500mAh battery unit. It offers a maximum of 33W of wired charging, 15W wireless charging, and 5W of reverse charging speed. In our experience, the phone did well with battery management. Gaming does guzzle a few battery percentage points but the standby performance as well as during day-to-day tasks.

Nothing Phone 1 does not come with charger in the box. (Image: Danny Dcruze)

Nothing Phone (1) Hands-On Verdict

Nothing Phone (1) has created quite the buzz, which seems like a luxury only a few models and brands enjoy. It has a chance to use this to its advantage. The Nothing Phone (1) is the first strong statement made by the brand. The newness and quirkiness of Nothing Phone (1) is a breath of fresh air. We hoped a little more with the camera performance and the operating system, but there are a lot more layers we still need to unfold. Stay tuned for our detailed analysis.

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  • Published Date: July 12, 2022 9:59 PM IST
  • Updated Date: July 12, 2022 10:13 PM IST

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