That leaked and much hyped Nothing Phone (1) has finally launched, and as expected, it’s not officially available in the States. It’s a bit of a shame if you’re looking for another Android phone option in the nearly $600 (£400) price bracket, especially since the phone (1) has an impressive range of specs. Also, I’ll have to spend some hands-on time with it, and I hate to say that, but those rear-facing LED lights are pretty neat in person, as long as you’re not staring straight into them when they light up. We’ll have a more in-depth review soon, but in the meantime, how does the overall package look like now that we finally know more about it?
Let’s get to the specifications
Let’s get to the official details of what’s powering this phone, as everything we’ve reported so far is second-hand. The Nothing Phone (1) is an Android device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ chipset that Qualcomm introduced over a year ago. It has the same power and performance as the regular one Snapdragon 778G included on foreign phone models, but the “plus” indicates that it has been optimized. Gizmodo didn’t reveal anything in a briefing about Qualcomm customizing the chip to enable the phone (1) for wireless and reverse charging.
The Nothing Phone (1) screen is a flexible 6.55-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and a maximum peak brightness of 1200 nits for super sunny situations. The screen displays an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz, which aligns with mid-range devices like this Samsung Galaxy A53 5G and flagships like that Google Pixel 6 Pro. It also means the UI feels smooth to use, which should help balance out the phone’s mid-range internals.
The phone (1) is available with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage or 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. There is no expansion slot, although these have gone out of fashion in the Android world.
Other notable specs of the phone(1) include the built-in fingerprint sensor, dual stereo speakers, IP53 water resistance, and Face ID-like unlocking capabilities. There’s also a 4500mAh battery powering the whole thing, which I mentioned earlier, allowing for 15W Qi wireless charging and 5W reverse charging. Nothing warns that users should only power up with Quick Charge 4.0 compatible cables and devices.
The Nothing Phone (1) runs its own Android operating system Nothing launcher. The company promises 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security patches every two months.
And the cameras?
The Nothing Phone (1) has two cameras: a 50 MP main camera with f/1.88 aperture and OIS, coupled with an ultra-wide 50 MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and macro capabilities. There’s also a front-facing 16MP camera with an f/2.45 aperture and night shots. The phone (1) can record up to 4K video at 30 fps or 1080p video at 30/60 fps.
How about this Glyph skin?
Okay, let’s talk about the lights on the back. 900 LEDs are creatively positioned on the back of the Nothing Phone (1). They are customizable and can help alert you when a specific contact rings or your phone sends a message. You can also use it to check battery life and know when reverse charging is being used. It looks very cool in person with the lights flickering along with a notification sound. But when you opt for fast-paced lighting effects, it can feel a bit like a seizure or migraine. I’ll let you know how many of the light up notifications I can stand in a workday in my full review.
Where does the phone work?
If you live in the US and want to get your hands on this phone, you’ll need to find a way to import it. If you can pull it off, the Nothing Phone (1) will work with multiple US carriers, although it doesn’t have all the features. Nothing confirmed that the phone (1) would work on AT&T’s 4G network, although it doesn’t have access to 5G or VoLTE/VoWiFi. The phone (1) will also work on T-Mobile’s 4G/5G network, although coverage is “unpredictable”. There is no available compatibility for Verizon users, which is no surprise.
For its part, Nothing says that it aims to launch a US-backed model “in the future” and that “only a limited number of our private community investors in the US will be able to purchase Phone (Jan ) through a closed beta program.”
The phone (1) is available in white and black versions. There are three configurations to choose from and the phone starts at £399 and finishes at £499. Nothing’s price points are interesting for US audiences, given that the Android world is witnessing a gap of “intermediate” tier devices that could satiate the crowd that wants a sleek smartphone with some flagship capabilities.