The phone (1) is perhaps one of the most hyped Android smartphones of 2022. Unlike other popular handsets in the market, what draws people to Nothing’s first ever smartphone isn’t its specifications, but an element that is truly unique to the product: its design. And with so many devices in the market that haven’t been offering anything new and exciting in this regard for a while now, it’s not hard to see why the Nothing phone (1) is catching everyone’s attention.
Like the ear (1) earbuds, Nothing’s retains its design language that focuses on using transparent elements for its first smartphone product. Featured behind the device’s glass back is a very intricate-looking panel that gives off an industrial yet stylish vibe – a design approach that is rarely seen on recent phones, and is usually reserved for limited edition variations or niche releases such as those oriented for gaming.
And as I’ve pointed out before in an opinion piece that I published a while back, smartphone aesthetics such as these are something I’ve been looking forward to. Even more so when it is featured on a regular day-to-day device that isn’t tied to a premium price tag.
For the phone (1), the sense of attraction doesn’t end there. As we’ve all seen before, also featured on its rear panel are a set of white LED strips which Nothing refers to as Glyphs. These are interactive and customisable, allowing you to set specific lighting patterns when you receive calls or notifications via the phone’s settings. One neat touch is that the bottom light also functions as a charging indicator when the device is plugged in. Personally, I find that the Glyphs works incredibly well with the black version of Nothing’s smartphone.
Its rear panel and lighting gimmick aside, the phone (1) sports the familiar flat edge surrounding frame and a 6.55-inch OLED display with 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, a punch-hole camera cutout, and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It is surprisingly lightweight and its build is comfortable enough to be handled in one hand. On that note, its button placements are no different from most devices in the market, which is not a bad thing whatsoever. Specifically, its volume rockers are located on the left-hand side, while the lock/power button are on the right.
On the software side of things, there’s the Nothing OS. From the brief time I have with the phone, I can quickly summarise that the company’s first party Android interface fits perfectly with the device’s minimalist and artistic theme. Unique to it is its custom widgets, built-in wallpapers, notification tones and ringtones, the aforementioned Glyphs customisation, sound recorder app, and the use of Nothing’s signature dot-matrix typeface in certain parts of its UI. Everything else, including the phone’s camera interface, is pretty much the standard Android experience but sprinkled with some finishing touches that resonate with the brand’s identity.
As for imaging, the phone (1) utilises dual 50 MP cameras (one with OIS) for photography and video recording. While its rear sensor count is less than what’s usually offered from current smartphones, they are actually significant and could easily pull off numerous modes without the need of an additional module for time-of-flight, depth sensing and so on.
On that note, photography modes available on the device includes standard wide shots, ultra-wide, portrait with bokeh and up to 2x optical telephoto, whereas video modes include up to 4K resolution recordings at 30 fps, slo-mo, timelapse and more. I wasn’t able to evaluate its imaging capabilities due to the limited time I had with the phone (1), but it did give off a good first impression.
Similarly, I can’t say much regarding its overall performance and battery life either. However, rest assured that I’ll definitely put the device to the test once it is passed to us for an in-depth review – something that I hope that you’ll be looking forward to as well.
Just in case you missed it, the Nothing phone (1) will be available in Malaysia starting 1 August 2022. It is priced at RM 2,399 for the 8GB + 256GB configuration, and RM 2,699 for the 12GB + 256GB version. Those interested can place their orders via Nothing’s official online stores on Lazada and Shopee, as well as local electronic retailers such as SenQ , SenHeng , TMT , Direct D and Satu Gadget. In addition, customers can also opt to directly place their pre-order at the brand’s pop-up store that is currently situated at The Starhill, Bukit Bintang until 25 July.