No Phone (1) review: Smartphone with a great design, but … | life and knowledge

The smartphone market has become predictable. The latest model has a new chip, the camera has been improved and occasionally there is a little more memory than before. The brand Nothing, which has just been founded, will finally do something completely different with its first mobile phone, the Phone (1) – and seems to have struck a chord, at least on the Internet.

The BILD test shows how successful it was.

Everything different with the phone (1)?

The main innovation: the back of the cabinet is transparent. So you can see some components inside, including the camera modules, the wireless charging coil and the LED flash. There are also light strips that have been distributed across the back of the device.

These light elements can be used as a bell and notification element. For example, you can assign your own light pattern to individual contacts, so you can see at a glance whether private or professional contacts are calling. The light strips are also used for some functions: If the phone (1) is connected, two light elements show that the battery is charging.

Nothing refers to the LED light strips on the back of the phone (1) as a glyph. The individual elements can be controlled independently of each other

Photo: Martin Eisenlauer

But not only the back of the phone (1) is striking. At the front, the design with the clear aluminum frame is reminiscent of an iPhone 4. The 6.55-inch OLED screen (1080 x 2400 pixels at up to 120 Hertz) is noticeably different from the screens of other smartphones.

An example of how the LED lighting makes functions visible: If, for example, headphones are charged wirelessly, the ring shows that this so-called reverse charging has just been activated

An example of how the LED lighting makes functions visible: If headphones are charged wirelessly, for example, the ring shows that the so-called reverse charging has just been activated

Photo: Martin Eisenlauer

The phone (1) does not offer much new

Apart from these visual changes and some nice extras, the Nothing Phone (1) doesn’t offer anything out of the ordinary. The computing power comes from the mid-range processor Qualcomm 778G+, a fingerprint sensor is built into the display, the memory is 128 or 256 gigabytes depending on the model and the battery can be charged with up to 33 watts of charging power via cable or up to 15 watts wirelessly with energy. With its battery capacity of 4500 mAh, the phone (1) gets through the day with intensive use without recharging.

The phone's aluminum and glass body (1) is pleasantly light at 194 grams

The phone’s aluminum and glass body (1) is pleasantly light at 194 grams

Photo: Martin Eisenlauer

Android 12 is installed on the phone (1). Nothing promises operating system updates up to Android 15. Security fixes will be delivered for four years.

The camera system consists of a wide angle with 48 megapixels and an ultra wide angle with 50 megapixels. The phone (1) takes decent photos, but they don’t come close to the photos that current top models such as the Pixel 6 Pro or the Galaxy S22 Ultra deliver.

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The dual camera module only protrudes about a millimeter from the case, making it comfortably flat for a current smartphone

The dual camera module only protrudes about a millimeter from the case, making it comfortably flat for a current smartphone

Photo: Martin Eisenlauer

It costs the smartphone

Finally, we come to the question of price: the phone (1) costs 469 euros with 128 gigabytes, the 256 gigabyte version is available for 499 euros. There is also a version that has 256 gigabytes of memory and twelve instead of the usual eight gigabytes of RAM and costs 549 euros.

Conclusion: Different, unfortunately not better

Technically, the phone (1) is an average mid-range mobile phone that is not even very cheap. But the unusual design makes it the most exciting smartphone of the year so far. Because it doesn’t matter if you think the back of the glass and the light effects are beautiful or silly – the phone (1) stands out. That alone is something you can’t say about 90 percent of other smartphones these days.

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