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Nothing Phone 1 review: Gimmicky glyphs

Nothing Phone 1 review: Gimmicky glyphs

Nothing Phone 1

Featuring a cool-looking Glyph interface and retro-ish tweaks to the UI, the Nothing Phone 1 is a great phone. Sure, it only has mid-range hardware, but it's more than capable for everything you'll throw at it. The Glyph lights are fun, but gimmicky –useful for lighting up your photo subjects, though.

Quick specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+
  • Face and finger unlock
  • 50MP rear dual cameras (wide and ultra wide), 16MP front
  • 8GB RAM+128GB storage, or 8GB RAM+256GB storage, or 12GB RAM+256GB RAM

Nothing's Phone 1 takes a standard phone design, and turns it around with a transparent glass back. Unlike Xiaomi's transparent phones with a somewhat fake rear, what you see on the Phone 1 is what you get. Nothing's design, though, adds metal covers to make it look much nicer, an approach that I prefer. There are also LED lights that form the Glyph interface, which does various things, from alerting you to calls to telling you how much the phone is charging for. You can also use it as a fill light when shooting photos with the rear cameras.

Nothing Phone 1
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Powered by Android 12, the Phone 1 runs Nothing OS, which keeps much of stock Android's look-and-feel. What's different are pixelated fonts for the menu and clock. The camera app's UI resembles iOS, and the recorder app has a very retro feel to it. The 6.55-inch OLED display is bright, vibrant, and sports adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. It also supports HDR10+, so you'll enjoy watching Netflix and Amazon Prime video. I wasn't able to set Wild Rift to 90fps or 120fps, but there's no issue with 60fps. Performance was great overall for the games I tested, and I had no issues with day-to-day usage. The dual speakers are clear, but softer than expected.

Nothing Phone 1
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

The dual-camera rear setup features a wide (24mm) and ultra-wide lenses. Both cameras come with 50MP sensors. Most of your images will be at 12MP, due to pixel binning tech, which combines four pixels together for a larger pixel. This gives you better low-light shots, too. I like that the Glyph lights give a more diffused lighting to subjects, and you get cool eye reflections too. You get a modest 2x zoom, and up to 20x digital zoom. Overall picture quality is good, with lots of detail. I'd be more than happy to use this as a backup camera phone.

Battery life was decent — you'll get a full day of use. Our video playback test gave us around 12hr 40min on the phone's 4,500mah battery. There's 15W wireless and 33W fast charging. The latter is supposed to replenish the battery by 50% in 30 minutes, but we got around 37% in 30 minutes. The Nothing Phone 1 doesn't come with a charger, so you'll need to get one, such as the Belkin Boost or the Mi 65W Fast Charger. Prices start from S$769 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model, and goes up to S$949 for the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. The Nothing Phone 1 is certainly a decent get (from Lazada or Shopee) just for the cool design, but the Pixel 6A will give this phone a run for its money.

See Also
Nothing Phone 2

Note: Review unit provided by Nothing.

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There's nothing bad about this phone, which is good.

Buy from Shopee
Get it from Lazada

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