After months of generating hype, Nothing announced the Phone 1, its first smartphone, and second ever product. The idea is to deviate from what the other smartphone manufacturers are making, and develop a smartphone that does exactly what people want it to do (and nothing they don’t).
Nothing’s Tuesday presentation was certainly unconventional: After some audio glitches at the start, we were introduced to Carl Pei, founder of Nothing (and co-founder of OnePlus). The entire presentation took place in three locations (two indoor and one outdoor), all with an informal approach. That turned out to be very intentional, as Pei later revealed the keynote was filmed entirely on Phone 1. To anyone keeping up with the rumors and previews, however, the presentation didn’t reveal much in the way of new information.
The Glyph is perhaps Phone 1’s most interesting feature
The phone is visually unique, with the highlight, of course, being the back: Nothing calls its the “Glyph,” a tracing of the internal components using strings of lights. These lights activate in a variety of situations: There’s a light pattern for each ringtone built into Nothing OS; the light ring around the wireless charging pad lights up when wireless charging or reverse wireless charging; and a “progress” bar lights up when wired charging. The Glyph even lights up to act as a sort of backlight when taking videos. I appreciate the small red LED on the back that blinks when you record video, a feature I miss from camcorders back in the day.
Phone 1 has two cameras
Nothing boasts about the Phone 1’s cameras, but relied entirely on the video quality of the keynote as evidence. The company did put out a press release on July 8 discussing the cameras, including a string of photos taken by members of the Nothing team. While the photos look solid, we won’t know how they truly stack up to the competition until reviewers test the phone out.
Phone 1 sports two cameras on the back (one ultra wide, one main), one or two less than most flagships out today. Both cameras are 50 MP: The ultra wide (a Samsung JN1 sensor) has an 114˚ field of view, while the the main (a Sony IMX766 sensor) supports something called “extreme night mode.” There’s also 4K video support at 30 fps, with night mode video at 108op 30 fps. The front camera is 16 MP capable of 1080p video, which is surprising, as 4K video is the norm for a flagship selfie camera these days.
The Phone 1’s display was a major focus
The other minor visual difference between Phone 1 and other smartphones is in the bezels: Edge-to-edge displays are the norm these days, but Nothing wanted its phone to have the same thin bezels on all four sides of the display. As Pei explained, most Android manufacturers have to leave the “chin” of the phone a bit larger than the other sides to accommodate the cables underneath the OLED display. However, Nothing is using a “flexible” OLED display here, which the company claims costs double what a traditional screen would, in order to achieve this subtle look.
That display is a 6.55-inch OLED with 10-bit HDR10+ support. It comes with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 at 402 ppi, with 500 nits of typical brightness and 1,200 nits peak. It has a 120 Hz refresh rate for the smooth scrolling we’ve come to expect on smartphones, but it’s adaptive down to 60 Hz to save on battery life. It comes with three different memory and storage options: 8 GB of RAM with 128 GB of storage; 8 GB of RAM with 256 GB of storage; and 12 GB of RAM with 256 GB of storage.
We don’t know how well Phone 1 will perform
Performance is one area that will be interesting: The Phone 1 purposely doesn’t use a cutting-edge processor. Instead, it runs a Snapdragon 778G+, which Nothing claims balances performance with battery life. Speaking of which, Phone 1 has a 4500 mAh battery, capable of 33W wired charging in 70 minutes and 15W wireless charging in 120 minutes. As for how long the battery lasts, Nothing didn’t say.
A small note, but the device is IP53-rated for dust and water resistance, which is quite poor. Based on this rating, it can’t be submerged in water, nor will it hold up to spills.
Nothing will also provide three years of software support and four years of security support for the Phone 1.
Nothing isn’t bringing Phone 1 to the U.S.
The bummer for those of us in the U.S.—myself included—is Phone 1 isn’t coming to our region. It’s available in a wide variety of other locations around the globe. However, like other phones not sold in the U.S., it will work if you can get your hands on it. We’ll see if any viable retailers open up that will ship to the U.S.
Here’s the UK pricing for the Phone 1:
- £399 (roughly $477): 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage
- £449 (roughly $537): 8 GB RAM / 256 GB storage
- £499 (roughly $597): 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage
Again, not much of this information is really new. It cut out the usual pomp and circumstance most manufacturers put into their presentations, but, at the same time, didn’t really show us much at all. With the Phone 1, it’s more important than ever to see how the device performs in the eyes of reviewers before knowing whether or not its worth the hype.
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