Nothing Phone 1 hands on: There’s a lot to like, including the price

That Nothing phone 1 Started this week with a lot of hype, but what exactly is it? Should You Buy One? And competes it Apple’s iPhone? I tried out the new phone and liked a lot, from its flashing LED “glyph” to its affordable price. My full thoughts on the phone are now in ours Nothing phone 1 rating, but here I will put together a comprehensive explanation of what Nothing and this phone actually are. Although the lack of availability in the US at launch is disappointing, this phone is an interesting mid-range model for those of you looking for a unique Apple, Samsung or Apple alternative Google phones.

So here’s what you need to know about this first phone from tech startup Nothing, including its price, when you can buy it and, crucially, whether it’s actually any good. You can also check out how the Nothing Phone 1 compared to the Pixel 6 and iPhone 13.


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What you should know about the Nothing Phone 1


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what is nothing

Nothing is a technology brand founded in 2020 by entrepreneur Carl Pei. He was one of the founders of OnePlus, a company that offers phones and other devices and is known for its manufacturing Solid products with good specifications at prices that typically undercut its competitors Apple and Samsung.

It was precisely this philosophy that transformed OnePlus from a tiny niche company into a top tech brand with products that offer serious competition to the best on the market.

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The Nothing Phone 1 (left) and the OnePlus 10 Pro.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Pei left OnePlus to start his new company, Nothing. While I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the name, Pei’s philosophy of doing things a little differently from the competition should make it an interesting brand to keep an eye on.

What is exciting about the Nothing Phone?

But who cares who is behind the company when the product itself has nothing special to offer? Thankfully, the Nothing Phone 1 has some nice features to look forward to.

Its design is where it really stands out. The back has a see-through cover that reveals the inside and gives you the feeling of looking into the heart of the phone. You can see where different parts connect, you can see exposed screw heads and the only branding is the subtle Nothing logo and the little red dot that represents the brand’s signature.

But it’s getting better. Some of the parts that can be seen under the cover are actually LEDs that light up in what’s called a “glyph” when you get incoming notifications. This is arguably a novelty, but it’s definitely a pretty fun quirk of this phone.

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The glowing “glyph” highlights the phone.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

On the back you’ll also find a dual camera setup with a standard and ultra-wide view. The phone is wrapped in a metal band that looks and feels good, while the 6.55-inch OLED display is vibrant and sharp. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ processor should be more than capable of handling everyday demands while giving you access to that super-fast 5G network.

It’s an Android phone at heart, running the latest Android 12 over which Nothing has beaten a neat and clean user interface that doesn’t prompt any nonsense that might slow things down. Then there are features like on-screen fingerprint scanning, IP58 water resistance, a 120Hz screen refresh rate and fast charging – all of which help make this phone feel surprisingly feature-rich for its price.

How much does the Nothing Phone 1 cost?

One of the most exciting things about this phone is its affordable price. It costs £399 in the UK. This puts it firmly in the lower middle field, which, to be honest, surprised me when I first heard it. The specs seem really solid. And with such a focus on design, I expected the price to be maybe a hundred euros more. So you get a decent phone at a good price. At least on paper.

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The clear back looks cool and there’s only very subtle Nothing branding showing.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

US pricing is unconfirmed, which I’ll come back to, but that £399 price converts straight into $475 (or AU$700), which is roughly the same price as the iPhone SE 2022 ($429) or the one to come US only Google Pixel 6A ($449).

When can I buy the Nothing Phone 1?

The phone was first launched in the UK and Europe on Tuesday. There is currently no firm plan as to when there might be a proper launch in the US. However, it’s likely to happen, perhaps once Nothing finds a carrier to work with to make its 5G bands compatible.

We’ll bring you US availability updates as they arrive.

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The phone runs Android 12.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Is the phone the first Nothing product?

The Phone 1 is probably the most iconic and exciting product Nothing has launched but its First Product was a line of earphones launched last year called The nothing ear 1 buds. You can safely tell they are from the same team. The products share a certain aesthetic, with the same transparent elements showing the inner workings.

Like the phone, the buds were launched at a cheaper price point, but still offered pretty decent performance overall, which made them well worth considering if you didn’t feel like splurging on Apple’s earbuds. If you have the Nothing Buds and love the quirky look, you will almost certainly appreciate the phone.

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It has a dual camera setup with a standard and an ultra wide view.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Should I buy the Nothing Phone 1?

There’s always going to be a lot of fanfare and PR spider and marketing nonsense surrounding a new company. And certainly some of Nothing’s rhetoric about “more soul,” “bold simplicity,” and a “new way of communicating” is arguably a little pretentious. But all that nonsense from the company aside, the actual product itself seems pretty good.

It has solid specs and a stripped down user interface. While its design may not be to everyone’s taste, it certainly stands out from the crowd. I personally think it’s pretty cool.

But it’s that affordable price point that makes the phone so appealing in my opinion. The Phone 1 isn’t trying to compete with the iPhone 13 Pro or the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Instead, it aims to provide a decent overall experience at a price that’s a lot more accessible to those of us tightening our wallets.

We’re testing the phone right now for the full review, putting the processor, camera and other features through its paces to see how well it compares to the competition and if it’s really worth your money.

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