Nothing Phone 1 review: Get past the hype, and the Phone 1 shines

Nothing Phone 1

MSRP $473.00

“The Nothing Phone 1 is quirky, unusual, and crowd pleasing — all in way. From the LED lights to the easy software, there’s so much to love.”


  • Quirky and strange design
  • Slick, easy to make use of software
  • Glyph Interface is eye-catching
  • Principal camera takes good photos
  • Wireless charging


  • Short battery life
  • Software needs work
  • Can get warm under load

Attempting to separate the Nothing Phone 1 from the hype around it’s a difficult task. The involvement of Carl Pei, the OnePlus co-founder with a big following within the tech community, has meant a variety of people have been very enthusiastic about this phone. But because it was teased relentlessly for months ahead of launch, many will already feel jaded and even have some negative preconceived ideas about it, and no amount of vibrant, flashing lights will change that.

Pushing all this aside, what’s the Nothing Phone 1 actually like? It’s good, but not due to LED light show on the back.


The Nothing Phone 1 looks nothing like every other phone available in the meanwhile. Sure, glass on the back and front sandwiches a metal chassis, however the rear of the phone is transparent. For this reason, it shows the inner components and is lit up by Nothing’s fancy Glyph LED lights. Ignore the naysayers — it’s fun, special, and downright cool. The phone is available in black or white color schemes, is 8.3mm thick, and weighs 193 grams. It’s sensible to make use of with one hand, it’s not too bulky or thick, and slips into most pockets and bags and not using a fuss.

The Nothing Phone 1 held in hand showing the Glyph Interface.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The flat-sided metal body looks very slick, however it’s not that comfortable to carry for prolonged periods, very similar to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 it’s so clearly imitating. There may be a touch of a chamfered edge, however it’s not enough to make the phone as comfortable to carry because the Xiaomi 12 Lite, which shares an analogous design. The phone’s 193-gram weight is excellent, though, making it pocketable and never fatiguing to carry. I used to be sent a transparent case for the Nothing Phone 1, which I’ve found reduces the way in which the phone digs into your palm.

The transparent back of the Nothing Phone 1 looks ace. All of the phone’s guts are literally covered up, leaving the wireless charging coil because the only naked component on show. Which will disappoint some folks at first, but in point of fact, it’s thing. Components are frequently ugly, and aesthetics aren’t taken under consideration when laying out the inside a phone. Covering them up with different-shaped panels under the glass gives the Nothing Phone 1 a cool, sci-fi look.

Nothing has designed a phone that doesn’t appear like some other, and has a novel element that genuinely catches the attention when it’s activated. Considering that is the debut phone from a modestly sized startup, it feels incredibly substantial and well-made. There are some who query why the Phone 1’s looks have caused a furor and dismiss all of it as hype, but that is cynical and myopic.

The past yr has seen many good-looking smartphones emerge, yet Nothing still managed to give you something fun and strange. Reducing the Phone 1’s design to little greater than a group of flashing lights for people attracted by such things, or just dismissing it as an iPhone clone, misses the purpose. What we’re seeing is Nothing proceed to construct its brand identity, which began with the Nothing Ear 1 true wireless headphones. Whether you want or detest the look, it’s already immediately recognizable. It’s fascinating to see, and only a few brands start out with such a transparent design vision in place, let alone after just two products. It bodes well for the corporate’s future in design.


On the back of the Nothing Phone 1 is a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 principal camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), electronic image stabilization (EIS), and an f/1.88 aperture. There’s also a 50MP Samsung JN1 wide-angle camera with EIS and an f/2.2 aperture. That’s right, just two cameras. Not three, 4, or five. That must mean it’s terribly basic, right? How will it survive and not using a depth camera, a macro camera, or a monochrome sensor?

Glyph lights active around the Nothing Phone 1's camera module.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It survives just positive, and is, in reality, all the higher for shedding the unnecessary additional cameras. The Nothing Phone 1 can take lovely photos. It leans toward a natural color palette and further away from the saturation seen in lots of midrange cameras, that are designed to draw those that need to post immediately to social media. The Phone 1’s camera is more nuanced and barely more subtle in its approach. It still amps up the blue sky, but crucially leaves green mostly untouched, leading to more realistic scenes. It’s more iPhone than Galaxy, in other words.

I’ve enjoyed taking photos with the Nothing Phone 1 an ideal deal, being particularly pleased with the natural bokeh and a few lovely use of HDR. Nonetheless, it’s removed from perfect. Indoor shots often contain quite a variety of noise when light is problematic, the reflective glass back and lighting system may introduce lens flare greater than on other phones, and Night mode could be very glitchy — having didn’t work several times and repeatedly didn’t focus. The wide-angle camera is more muted, and its photos sometimes lack the vibrancy of the principal camera. It requires more tuning to bring consistency consistent with the principal camera. Recording 4K video — only available at 30 frames per second (fps) — isn’t as smooth as 1080p, and it appears to have a very blue tint.

For selfies, the Phone 1 uses a 16MP selfie camera within the hole-punch cutout within the screen. Photos capture skin tone and detail well, and the portrait mode isn’t too aggressive with its artificial blur, while edge recognition is excellent. You’ll be able to opt to make use of the Glyph lights as a fill light, moderately than the harsher flash, when using the rear camera to take photos of individuals.

There’s still work to be done on the Phone 1’s camera, but I’m using the device ahead of public release, and despite having one software update already, more are possible. I haven’t missed additional cameras on the back, and the photos don’t appear to suffer resulting from their absence either. Refining the software will hopefully help realize the camera’s obvious ability, as in the meanwhile, it only shows it off 75% of the time. That said, I’ve had confidence to make use of the Phone 1’s camera, and consider a lot of the photos I’ve taken with it to be shareable and crowd pleasing.

Glyph Interface

The Glyph Interface is the name given to the lights, haptics, and sound effects that make the Nothing Phone 1 unique. They activate mostly when the phone rings or a notification is available in, and consist of 10 different sets of special ringtones and notification alerts, all of which flash the lights in numerous patterns, vibrate the phone in other ways, and make different sounds when something happens. Otherwise, the LEDs come to life to point out charging status and when Google Assistant is listening, and could be used as a substitute for the flash within the camera app.

Nothing Phone 1 with Glyph lights active.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Nothing has got the mixture of lights, haptics, and sound excellent. They’re distinctive and unique, and the way in which the phone illuminates and vibrates means there’s no mistaking it for some other phone. They do give the Phone 1 a personality, albeit a quite mechanical one, oddly reminding me of Pixar’s famous desk lamp the corporate has used in the beginning of its movies. The Glyph lights are very vibrant, and even at 75% brightness, a few of the sharper notification alerts appear like a flash of lightning in a dark room. It’s thing you’ll be able to set a Do Not Disturb schedule.

I just like the concept of the Glyph Interface so much, however it’s during on a regular basis use that the concept comes unstuck. The phone needs to be facedown to see the Glyph Interface’s flashy light show, and that’s just not very convenient. That is how my time with it went: I put the phone facedown so I could see the cool lights, then when a notification arrived, I picked the phone as much as see what it was. After just a few times doing this, I left the phone face up so I could either see the always-on screen when the notification got here in, or tap it to immediately see what was latest. I just don’t understand how often I’d realistically keep the phone facedown, and which means missing out on one in every of the things that makes the Phone 1 special.

The @nothing #NothingPhone1 Glyph Interface – the lights and the sounds of this very cool latest phone.

— Andy Boxall (@AndyBoxall) July 12, 2022

The haptics are great (very noticeable and nicely engineered), and the sounds they accompany are an ideal mixture of cute (the “Oi!” and tennis sounds), nostalgic (either of the bulb sounds), and peculiar (the excitable Scribble and Squirrels). I don’t mind having the sounds lively at home, but would turn them off in public, and I’d probably just not turn the amount back up again. Everyone will take to them otherwise and maybe deliberately adjust their lifestyle to suit the phone, but personally, I believe the novelty will wear off and I’ll return to probably the most convenient and established way of a phone alerting me of calls and notifications — a haptic-generated buzz and the always-on screen.


Before I began using the Nothing Phone 1, the hype around NothingOS — the name given to Nothing’s software built around Android 12 — had made me expect something different, latest, and possibly even controversial. It’s probably not any of those things, but don’t take this as a negative. NothingOS is great — easy to learn, free from bloat/annoying interruptions, and splendidly fast and smooth.

The software doesn’t pester you to alter this setting, try that feature, or use a special app, mostly because there aren’t any superfluous apps or features. It’s a sensible move on Nothing’s part and brings the Phone 1’s experience closer to that of the Pixel 6 than the OnePlus Nord 2T, for instance. The design is clean and quite much like Android on the Pixel, aside from just a few little additions made by Nothing. For instance, there are 4 different Nothing clock widgets, and a pair of enormous multifunction connectivity panels under Quick Settings. In the event you were fearful Nothing was going to cover NothingOS in its pixel-themed font, then don’t be. It’s all moderately normal.

Using the Nothing Phone 1 is comfortable, effortless, and satisfying. You quickly fall right into a rhythm with the phone, something that takes time on phones with more complicated, attention-seeking software. It’s not without fault or quirks, but most of them are only small annoyances. For instance, there’s no on-screen button to activate the camera from the lock screen (it’s a double tap of the facility key), and the Google Search bar on the Home screen is fixed and may’t be moved or removed. Considering that is Nothing’s first phone, it has done a really impressive job with the software overall, which I haven’t desired to stop using.

Nothing must proceed this theme for future devices and never give in to pressure so as to add more features or apps, as straight away, it stands aside from the varied ColorOS clones, Samsung’s OneUI, and Xiaomi’s MIUI, and is a wonderful alternative to Android 12 on a Pixel phone. There’s slight concern it could already be falling into that trap, though. The Nothing Phone 1 has a feature in beta for Tesla owners to attach their automobile to their phone. There’s an NFT app, too, but this has not appeared on my phone yet.

While the overall operation of the Nothing Phone 1 is comfortable and enjoyable, there are still bugs throughout, but few affect general, on a regular basis operation. Also, I used to be expecting a little bit more coherence between the Nothing Ear 1 headphones and the Phone 1, however it’s not functioning thoroughly yet. The earbuds connect, but there’s no method to control the noise cancellation effects without the app, and the built-in connection panel just shows “connecting …” despite the ‘buds being connected. If the Phone 1 is attempting to be an iPhone, it has an extended method to go to beat the wonderful iPhone/AirPods interface.

You’ll be able to try NothingOS out on your personal phone straight away by using the NothingOS launcher app, and it’s very near the software on the phone when it comes to design.

Performance and screen

The Nothing Phone 1 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ processor, and my review model has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of cupboard space. The phone has no issue with general tasks, whether it’s maintaining with the GPS when using it for navigation in a automobile, using social media apps, or using the camera. The mixture of NothingOS, the chip, and the 120Hz screen means the Phone 1 at all times feels smooth and responsive.

The screen on the Nothing Phone 1.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s if you play games that the processor starts to struggle, and it generates quite a variety of heat when it does. Play Asphalt 9: Legends or Diablo Immortal for half-hour, and there’s a noticeable buildup of warmth on the back of the phone. It’s never burning, and the phone doesn’t get too hot to carry, but you certainly get the impression the phone is working hard. It’s distracting too, and when a phone gets hot in this manner, it might probably only negatively affect battery life. Using the Glyph lights as a fill light for longer than a minute or so on the camera also makes the back of the phone get warm. Heat was also a difficulty on the Xiaomi 12 Lite, which also uses a Snapdragon 778 processor, and it has also been evident on the Phone 1 when charging the battery.

There’s a slight caveat here, as I’ve been using the Phone 1 during a series of highly regarded days, which could have affected the way in which it cools, so I won’t judge it too harshly and can revisit this issue when the weather cools down. Nonetheless, it does seem the Nothing Phone 1 runs pretty warm under load.

The mixture of NothingOS, the chip, and the 120Hz screen means the Phone 1 at all times feels smooth and responsive.

On the front of the Nothing Phone 1 is a 6.55-inch OLED screen with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, 10-bit color, HDR10+ certification, a 240Hz touch-sampling rate, and a maximum 120Hz refresh rate. Out of the box, the phone defaults to 60Hz, but it’s best to change this immediately. Switching to 120Hz makes the noticeable blur when scrolling disappear, and it operates within the places you wish it: in apps like Twitter, in Google Discover, and when browsing in Chrome.

I really like the way in which the flexible OLED panel is so near the glass and the equal-sized bezels around it. It gives the Phone 1 a contemporary, uniform look. The viewing angles are also excellent, and for probably the most part, the screen is visible and usable in sunlight. Very similar to the camera, the screen’s tone, color balance, and overall performance has been tuned to match the iPhone. Putting it alongside the iPhone 13 Pro,  there’s almost nothing to separate them, as each has the identical natural look, with outstanding detail in shadows and vibrant, vibrant colours.

Nothing Phone 1 held in hand showing Nothing's wallpaper.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s different from the standard screen performance on an Android phone, particularly on phones that use Samsung panels, which normally up the contrast for a better degree of saturation on the expense of detail. Personally, I prefer the iPhone’s screen performance, so the Nothing Phone 1 suits me. Nonetheless, the speakers let the phone down as — even though it’s stereo sound — it’s harsh and tinny at anything apart from low volume.

There have been just a few problems with dropped calls and Bluetooth connection stability, especially when the 2 are lively together. I’ve been using the Nothing Ear 1 with the Phone 1, and several other times one in every of the earbuds randomly disconnected. Calls have dropped when connected to Bluetooth too. Finally, there’s the fingerprint sensor. It’s fast, however it doesn’t work well with the face unlock lively at the identical time. It seems to get confused about whether the phone has been unlocked, and the swipe-up motion isn’t tuned well, so you find yourself being presented with the PIN code screen very often.

I’m using the phone ahead of launch, so software updates may cure a lot of these problems.

Battery and charging

The Nothing Phone 1 doesn’t include a charger, but a USB cable is included within the box. This leaves you on the mercy of the chargers you already own. I used a USB Type-C charger that claims to fast charge to Qualcomm Quick Charge 3 standards, and the phone showed “Charging Rapidly” on the screen. In 10 minutes, the battery went from 2% to twenty%, After half-hour, it was at 55%, and was fully charged in a little bit over an hour.

The base of the Nothing Phone 1.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Wireless charging is obtainable, as you’ll be able to see through the transparent back panel, but at 15 watts, it’s definitely not going to be faster than the wired option. You can too reverse charge at 5W. As you’d expect, the Nothing Ear 1 true wireless earbuds are compatible, as are the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and the Apple AirPods Pro. If you place a tool down on the back of the phone to charge, the central Glyph light illuminates for just a few seconds to verify the facility is flowing.

Charging, in comparison with many other competing devices at this price, is underwhelming on the Nothing Phone 1, as is the battery life on the whole. Moderately heavy use — one hour of gaming or GPS, emails, social media, and photography — while connected to a 4G or 5G signal will see the battery struggle to last a single, long day. Play half-hour of games like Diablo Immortal with the default settings, and expect the battery to fall by about 8%.

Reverse charging the Nothing Ear 1 on the Nothing Phone 1.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Even with careful use, I haven’t gotten two full days out of the Nothing Phone 1’s battery. It’s positive provided you charge every night, but should you usually play a variety of games or push the phone in other ways, then don’t expect any greater than a full day, maximum.

Price and availability

The Nothing Phone 1 won’t be released within the U.S., which it says is resulting from it being a latest brand, which makes stepping into relationships with carriers within the U.S. unrealistic at this stage. Nonetheless, Nothing does need to release a phone within the U.S. in the long run. For now, the Nothing Phone 1 will probably be in the stores within the U.K., parts of Europe, India, Japan, and elsewhere.

Within the U.K., the Phone 1 starts at 399 British kilos ($473) for the 8GB/128GB version and 449 kilos ($533) for the 8GB/256GB model. Later this summer, there will probably be a 12GB/256GB version for 499 kilos ($592). Nothing will sell the phone through its own online store, the O2 network, and retail partners (including Selfridges).

Our take

Quirky, individual, and enjoyable to make use of, the Nothing Phone 1 succeeds in being different from some other smartphone, no less than on the skin. Inside, things are substantially more familiar, with the software sharing loads of stylistic and interface similarities with the Google Pixel series. It’s within your means, the specifications are good, the software is enjoyable to make use of, and it really does feel and appear different from some other Android phone on the market.

Nonetheless, it’s not perfect. There are many software bugs to squash, the camera needs tuning, and the battery life is brief. Nonetheless, it’s the primary phone from a reasonably latest brand, and I’ll take the few software-related issues at this stage, as Nothing could possibly be swift with software updates to repair them. If it does, the Phone 1 will probably be a substantial bargain. Nonetheless, if it doesn’t swiftly fix no less than a few of the problems, then my opinion could rapidly change.

For now, the Nothing Phone 1 is a beneficial buy, provided you understand that is the primary phone released by an (admittedly well-connected and well-funded) startup, and with that, you’ve got to expect there to be some teething issues. It’s still a really exciting start for the corporate, though, and Nothing is actually well on its method to meeting its goal of making tech that seamlessly blends into our lives.

Is there a greater alternative?

In the event you want something just like the Glyph Interface and its flashing lights, then no, the Nothing Phone 1 stands alone. In the event you need a phone that costs lower than $500, or about 400 kilos within the U.K., then there are several alternatives value . The Samsung Galaxy A53 is its biggest challenger, with its higher battery life, increased durability, longer software support, and decent software for concerning the same price.

The OnePlus Nord 2T or the Realme GT Neo 3T are each good selections should you want faster battery charging and longer standby, plus the camera on each is decent too. The Google Pixel 6a is one other strong challenger if the camera is your top feature. Look toward Apple, and for an analogous price, you may have the iPhone SE (2022) or the iPhone 11, which continues to be sold latest.

How long will it last?

The Nothing Phone 1 has an IP53 water-resistance rating, which implies it’s shielded from water spray and from a level of dust ingress. Using it within the rain is positive, but protection is just not as comprehensive as an IP68-rated phone just like the Samsung Galaxy S22. It’s manufactured from glass and is subsequently prone to break if it takes an enormous fall, and a case could also be advisable to guard that transparent rear panel. Nothing guarantees three years of Android updates and 4 years of bimonthly security updates.

All this makes the Nothing Phone 1 greater than capable of last for 2 years or more, provided your requirements across the camera and gaming don’t change, because the battery life and straightforward two-camera layout may turn out to be restrictive.

Must you buy it?

Yes. The Nothing Phone 1, despite some software problems and its short battery life, is the Android phone to purchase if you desire to stand out from the gang.

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