The Nothing phone (1) was announced earlier this week. This is a phone, indeed a company, that prioritizes style. The goal is to break up the monotony of current smartphone design trends (the company’s tagline on Twitter is “We’re here to make tech fun again.”). A signature design element is the transparency – like the ear (1) TWS buds, the phone (1) uses clear glass to show off some of the internals. Nothing leveraged that with “Glyph interface”, which uses several strips of white LEDs on the back for some light effects and notifications.
The One even ran CyanogenMod back when OnePlus was a company that produced phones for enthusiasts. Over time, it changed into a more conventional smartphone manufacturer, but now Carl Pei, one of its co-founders, has launched a new business. Is this the start of anything new, or merely the continuation of something else?
Weekly poll: will you join community of Nothing phone (1) owners? Because if you strip away the glitzy exterior, this could easily have been a OnePlus Nord model. This is a mid-range phone and with a €470/£400/₹33,000 price tag, it’s not priced all that aggressively. This is for the 8/128GB model, the 8/256GB one is €500/£450/₹36,000 and the 12/256GB one is €550/£500/₹39,000.
The phone also comes with a custom launcher (which you can test drive on your current phone). There is also support for NFTs out of the box as well as for remote controlling certain features on your Tesla. Let’s just say that the Nothing phone (1) was built for a particular crowd. Does that limit its appeal? Or does the perceived exclusivity (part of which is the invite-only sales system) make the handset seem all the more appealing?
Let’s have a look at the competition that the Nothing phone (1) faces. We’ll start with the OnePlus 9. Its display is basically the same and you get the more powerful Snapdragon 888 chipset. The cameras are comparable (and boast Hasselblad modes), as is the battery. An 8/128GB phone can be found for around €550 with some shopping around.
For that you get a Snapdragon 778G+ (customized to support wireless charging), a 6.55” 120Hz HDR10+ OLED display with FHD+ resolution (not an LTPO panel) and a 50MP main camera (IMX766, 1/1.56” with OIS). There is also a 50MP ultrawide unit (114° JN1, 1/2.76”), stereo speakers and a 4,500mAh battery with 33W fast charging (0-50% in 30 min, 0-100% in 70 min), plus 15W wireless charging. There’s no telephoto camera, though, nor microSD slot and 3.5mm headphone jack. Nothing is promising three years of OS updates (the phone starts on Android 12) and four years of security patches. That is comparable to Samsung Galaxy A series and the Google Pixel 6 phones.
The OnePlus Nord 2 is normally €400, but can be found for a bit less. It has a smaller 6.43” 90Hz AMOLED display and is powered by the Dimensity 1300, which should edge out the Snapdragon. The ultrawide camera has only an 8MP sensor and there is no wireless charging.
The Poco F4 uses the old-but-gold Snapdragon 870 and it has a 6.67” 120Hz AMOLED display (HDR10+), a 6/128GB unit goes for €400. The Poco X4 GT runs the more exciting Dimensity 8100 chipset and it has a 6.6” 144Hz LCD (HDR10), plus a 3.5mm jack. Neither phone has particularly interesting cameras (64+8+2MP, with OIS on the F4). Battery wise, they have only wired charging (67W), the X4 GT battery is larger (5,080mAh vs. 4,500mAh).