Can Nothing Phone 1’s ‘Pure Instinct’ Bring the Joy Back? Here’s What We Think

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Nothing Phone 1 is available to everyone next week, but we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on the phone leading up to the launch and have been testing it since. Before we go straight on to discuss what the phone actually offers and our initial experience with it, let’s take a look at its key specifications. The Nothing Phone 1 — made by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s new company — gets a 7-series Snapdragon SoC, a 4,500mAh battery, and a 6.55-inch OLED display. However, a distinct design is what gives the phone an edge over the competition. It has LED lights, called Glyph Lights, on the back panel and has a 50-megapixel dual rear camera setup. Are these useful though — or just a gimmick?

On this week’s episode of Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora speaks to Reviews Editor Roydon Cerejo about his experience with the Nothing Phone 1 and Senior Reviewer Aditya Shenoy about that, as well as the phone’s chances to mark its territory in the sub Rs. 40,000 smartphone market.

The smartphone space in India is so congested that sometimes it becomes too difficult for users to choose one that fits their budget with minimum compromise on the features they want. The Nothing Phone 1 will also have to fight its way to reach the top. One of the most important aspects of that fight in the cost-sensitive Indian market is the price. Cerejo noted the price of the Nothing smartphone is a bit on the higher side, as compared to the handsets that have similar specifications, but “it is not bad” given the whole package that is being offered.

The Nothing Phone 1 price in India has been set at Rs. 32,999 for the base 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant. It goes up to Rs. 38,999 for the top-of-the-line 12GB RAM + 256GB configuration. Add to that the price of a charger — that customers might have to purchase separately — for Rs. 2,499.

Shenoy shed light on the company’s strategy and said Nothing is following the same marketing game plan as the OnePlus in its initial days, given that the founder of the company is Carl Pei. “The formula of invite only purchases that Nothing is using is the same that made the OnePlus One [smartphone] really famous and desirable,” Shenoy said.

Nothing Phone 1 First Impressions: Lighting Up the Competition

Coming to the design, the USP of the Nothing Phone 1 is Glyph Lights that turn on when you get a notification or a call. Cerejo says that the light effects are really cool, but they are also distracting. You can assign different flashing patterns to contacts, but the phone’s Alway-On Display is a better option to see the notifications. As far as the display is concerned, Cerejo says he hasn’t come across any problems except purplish fringing which, as per Shenoy, Nothing may fix via a software update.

The Nothing Phone 1 has pretty clean software and runs Android 12-based Nothing OS, though it “feels a little rough at the edges” and needs updates to fix the loopholes.

When it comes to cameras, the Nothing Phone 1 gets a dual rear camera setup with two different versions of 50-megapixel sensor. In the early stages of testing, the camera performance has been satisfactory, however, there are some software-based issues that water down the whole experience. Since we have more testing to do, it would be unfair to comment on the performance at this point of time.

Now coming to what’s under the hood, the Nothing Phone 1 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC, which also powers the Motorola Edge 30. Shenoy reviewed the Motorola phone and gave some insights about the performance. He says you can expect a balanced performance if you are not a power user and can even stretch the battery life to up to two days owing to the chipset’s efficiency. “The chip does a little bit of everything but nothing particularly well,” Shenoy said.

That leaves the aforementioned 4,500mAh battery of the Nothing Phone 1. Cerejo says the battery performance is average and he is getting just short of a day’s battery. The phone supports 33W wired charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, and 5W reverse charging. You can charge your Nothing Ear 1 buds with your new Nothing Phone 1, if you’re into that sort of thing.

For more detail on each of those aspects, listen to our episode by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.

In case you are new to our site, you can find the Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital on your favourite platform — be it Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Gaana, JioSaavn, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

New Orbital episodes drop every Friday. Don’t forget to follow the Gadgets 360 podcast wherever you’re listening. Please also rate us and leave a review.

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