Nothing dares to be different with launch of quirky Phone (1)
Following the now familiar wave of official and unofficial drip-fed teasers and tech leaks, former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has pulled back the curtain for Nothing's Phone (1) launch. The company's second product release comes with a quirky fresh look, bloat-free Android experience and some funky lights around back.
The Phone (1) sports a 6.55-inch, 2,400 x 1,080-pixel (402 ppi) flexible AMOLED display topped in scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5, with 10-bit color, support for HDR10+, 1,000,000:1 contrast, and 500 nits of brightness (peaking at 1,200 nits). Users can also look forward to responsive interaction thanks to an adaptive refresh rate between 60 Hz and 120 Hz, 240-Hz touch sampling and haptic feedback.
The handset runs the company's Nothing OS, which promises the "best features of pure Android, distilling the operating system to just the essentials, where every byte has a purpose."
This features bespoke fonts, colors, graphical elements and sounds, and has also been designed for tight integration with the company's earphones, but plans are afoot to add controls for third-party tech, with one of the first iterations being for Tesla EV owners. Users can expect at least 3 years of OS upgrades plus 4 years of security updates.
During the online launch presentation, Pei said that the company opted not to go with the latest and greatest mobile chipsets available, instead aiming for proven reliability with the selection of the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ mobile platform, including an octa-core processor, Adreno graphics and Hexagon AI chip. System support of up to 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage can be had, too.
Key connectivity specs include dual-SIM slots, 5G mobile connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and a USB-C port.
From the front, the Nothing Phone (1) looks pretty much like your average modern smartphone, if perhaps one that makes more of a serious nod towards sustainability – featuring recycled aluminum edges and mid-frame, around half of the plastic used inside the phone is recycled as well, and Nothing has even used recycled tin for the solder points. But things are a tad more interesting around back.
Rather than a boring ol' opaque plastic rear that hides the tech within, Nothing has gone for transparency with a Gorilla Glass 5 back featuring a shapely collection of funky lights called the Glyph interface.
Each light sits near a functional element of the phone, so the light bar next to the charging port will illuminate to show top-up status, the large light in the middle surrounds the wireless charging zone, there's one that points to the 16-MP selfiecam to the front, and the final Glyph surrounds the camera array.
The Glyph interface can also sync with the phones ringtones, with the idea that different light patterns can be set for different ringtones so folks can see who is calling by looking at the flashing lights. Potentially useful for meetings or noisy clubs.
In a marketplace full of flagship smartphones rocking triple or quad rear camera arrays, the Phone (1) stands apart by only offering two – a deliberate choice, according to Pei. The 50-MP F1.88 main is based around Sony's IMX766 1/1.56-inch image sensor, can record 4K UHD video at 30 frames per second and makes optical and electronic image stabilization available for stills and video. The 50-MP F2.2 ultra-wide uses a Samsung JN1 sensor, comes with electronic image stabilization only and can be used to shoot macros.
The IP53-rated smartphone is supplied with a 4,500-mAh battery for "more than a full day" per-charge performance, which can be topped up in 70 minutes via 33-W wired charging, or 2 hours over 15-W Qi wireless charging. Reverse-charging is also offered at 5 W. However, as is becoming more common with today's smartphone releases, Nothing hasn't included a charger in the box.
The Nothing (1) Phone will go on sale to the public in London first, at a kiosk running from Jul 16 to July 20 in Covent Garden. Pricing starts at £399 (about US$475). Global availability begins from July 21. The launch video below has more.
Product page: Nothing Phone (1)