Since its launch less than two years ago, mysterious start-up Nothing – created by former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei – has only released one product, a pair of affordable earbuds. It’s finally followed that up with its second product ever, the Nothing Phone (1), and it’s finally launched.
We finally know the Phone (1)’s full specs, not to mention its price – which might well be cheaper than you were expecting. It won’t launch in the US at all sadly, but fans in the UK, Europe, and Asia can get their hands on a pretty unique phone that will no doubt earn (some of) its hype.
Here’s everything you need to know about Nothing’s first phone, or read our review of the Phone (1) to find out what we think of the phone.
When was the Nothing Phone (1) release date?
The company first confirmed that it was working on a smartphone at its 23 March event, before slowly dripfeeding fans news ahead of an official launch event on 12 July. That’s not when the phone officially went on sale though, which wasn’t until 21 July.
Where is the Nothing Phone (1) available?
One more thing to note is global availability. Nothing has confirmed carrier partners across the UK, Europe, and Asia, but the phone isn’t getting a launch in the US or Canada.
Nothing has confirmed to PCMag that it will only be running a “closed beta program” with “a limited number of our private community investors in the U.S.”. It sounds like even those lucky few will struggle to use the phone widely, with “unpredictable” service on T-Mobile, no voice-over-4G on AT&T, and no service on Verizon at all.
“While we’d love to bring phone (1) to the entire community around the world, we’re focusing on home markets, including the UK and Europe, where we have strong partnerships with leading local carriers. It takes a lot to launch a smartphone as you know, from ensuring the handset is supported by the country’s cellular technologies to carrier partnerships and local regulation, and as we’re still a young brand we need to be strategic about it.”
Still, there is hope in the future. The company confirmed that it has “big plans to launch a U.S. supported smartphone in the future,” but no commitment to when that might be.
How much does the Nothing Phone (1) cost?
The Phone (1) is available in three versions, though one is launching a little later than the others:
8GB + 128GB: £399/€469/₹32,999
8GB + 256GB: £449/€499/₹35,999
12GB + 256GB: £499/€549/₹38,999 (launching in late summer)
It’s a familiar strategy from Nothing, really. The company’s Ear (1) headphones boasted competitive pricing at $99/£99/€99, while retaining premium features like ANC (active noise cancellation), placing them at the upper end of what would be considered ‘budget’ within their respective product category.
What are the Nothing Phone (1) specs and features?
Despite the affordable price point, the Phone (1) has some impressive enough specs to offer – though certainly isn’t a true flagship.
The most tantalising element of the phone is its design, first revealed on 15 June.
The design language is immediately familiar to anyone who’s seen the Ear (1) headphones, with a mix of opaque and transparent plastic that hints at the phone’s internals without explicitly revealing too much of them. It’s available in either white or black.
Most strikingly, the phone packs a set of LED light strips on the back. Called the Glyph Interface, these are able to flash in white (though only white) in various patterns, and they have a few neat tricks:
Flashing for notifications
Glowing around the charging coil when reverse wireless charging
Slowly filling the bottom bar when using wired charging, as a battery indicator
All illuminating at once as a fill light when using the camera
Flashing in distinct patterns in time to a number of pre-set ringtones and notification alerts
As for materials, the phone’s frame is made out of recycled aluminium, while much of its plastic is also post-consumer recycled. The front and back of the phone are finished in Gorilla Glass 5 for protection, and the handset also boasts an IP53 rating for dust and water-resistance.
While the design is unusual, the specs of the phone are a little more familiar – though not unimpressive.
The phone uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ chipset, dashing hopes that it would use the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or the more recent Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. It’s paired with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage.
Carl Pei told Input that the “custom-tuned” version of the chip was made specifically for Nothing, and that Qualcomm added in support for wireless charging and reverse charging just for this phone.
We already knew the phone would feature wireless charging – which you can see in the big circular coil present in the middle of the design – and it’s now confirmed to be Qi-compatible at up to 15W speeds, with support for 5W reverse wireless charging too. The trade-off is that wired charging is only 33W – decent but far from the fastest around – and Nothing also ships the phone without a charger in the box. The battery itself is a fairly typical 4500mAh capacity.
As for display, the Phone (1) packs a 6.55in screen – a fairly average Android size – using 120Hz OLED tech. It supports HDR10+, a 240Hz touch sampling rate, and an under-display fingerprint sensor – again, all fairly typical for a modern mid-ranger, albeit at the upper end of what you might expect.
Cameras are a little different. The 16Mp, f/2.5 selfie camera is standard enough, but the pair of 50Mp rear lenses are less so. Most phones at this price pack a single decent camera and then pack the rear with dubious extra lenses, but Nothing has instead focussed on including two cameras that should be able to hold their own.
The main camera is still likely the more impressive, with an f/1.9 aperture and the popular Sony IMX766 sensor in tow, which brings with it optical image stabilisation. By contrast the f/2.2 ultrawide uses Samsung’s JN1 image sensor and lacks OIS, meaning it’s unlikely to quite match the main camera, but will probably still be one of – if not the – best ultrawide cameras in a phone at this price.
The final key element of the phone is its software. At the March announcement event Pei also introduced Nothing OS: the Android-based user experience that will debut on the company’s first smartphone.
In Pei’s own words, Nothing OS “captures the best features of pure Android, distilling the operating system to just the essentials, where every byte has a purpose.”
It’s a familiar approach, following similar principles to the OxygenOS user experience found on phones made by Pei’s former company OnePlus.
As seen in the screenshots above, there’s a distinct aesthetic to Nothing OS, carrying through the retro-futurism already seen across the brand’s wider assets.
The OS’s ringtones and notification sounds are apparently influenced by “Morse code, oscillators and digital watches,” while the user experience is comparatively light on UI animations, in pursuit of offering a cleaner and simpler navigation experience.
Pei also promised 40% fewer pre-loaded apps, focusing on Google’s own experiences as the first port of call for most services, as well as built-in integration with not only the Nothing Ear (1) buds but also Tesla cars and NFTs.
To round out the software side of things, Pei promised three years of Android OS updates and four years of security updates – so the phone arrives running Android 12 and will upgrade to Android 13, 14, and 15.
If you want a taste of what Nothing OS will look and feel like, you can get the Nothing Launcher on your phone right now, with a beta version of the company’s app launcher available on select phones running Android 11 or newer. It’s not the full OS, but will give you a hint of the experience.
Tech Advisor's Deputy Editor, Dom covers everything that runs on electricity, from phones and laptops to wearables, audio, gaming, smart home, and streaming - plus he's a regular fixture on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.