Out of all the phones released last year, the Nothing Phone 1 was by far the one that excited me the most. About a month ago, I decided to use this phone again as my main everyday device to see how it has evolved over time. In doing so, I learned quite a few new things about this phone that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I thought it was worth sharing my insights in a video, so with that being said, here is my updated review of the Nothing Phone 1, six months later.
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Now, first things first, before I started using this phone again, I really wanted to sideload the Android 13 beta update. I have to say, it was an absolute ordeal of a process. I had to factory reset the phone, downgrade it to Nothing OS 1.1.3, then upgrade it back up to 1.1.7 before I was finally able to sideload the update. But I did finally get there. During the process of writing this article, the official Android 13 update was released, which I of course went ahead and installed as well. I have to say, the Android 13 experience has been really nice on this phone. As far as I’m concerned, this is by far the best and smoothest software version Nothing has released so far. Even the beta versions were incredible. For me, it seems evident that Android 13 and the Nothing Phone 1 have been a match made in heaven.
Now, while we’re on the topic of software, I thought it was worth specifically addressing some of the issues I mentioned in my initial review of this phone to see how, or even if, they’ve been addressed in the various updates that have rolled out since that first review.
Nothing Phone 1 Battery Life
Firstly, the biggest welcome change since I last reviewed this phone has been the improvements we’ve seen in regards to battery life. Back when I first reviewed it, the phone rarely made it to the end of each day without needing to be juiced back up at some point. But thanks to a bunch of optimizations that have taken place over the course of a number of software updates, particularly the latest Android 13 update, this phone is now easily a full day battery life phone. It has not died once before heading into bed in the entire month that I’ve been using it. So, whilst the battery was a C/C+ in my last review, now it’s easily a B/B+ experience.
Quick Setting Panel
Another issue that has thankfully been addressed is that the Wi-Fi and mobile data toggles in the Quick Settings panel have now become real actionable toggles, which is something I spoke about at length in my first review. So, that was something I was super happy to see added in a recent update.
Custom Home Screen
Unfortunately, the launcher hasn’t seen any new updates in terms of customization flexibility. But I’ve actually been using an app called App Bar to achieve this custom home screen setup that you’re seeing here. Pair that with the Icon Pack Studio application, which I’ve used to create this miniaturized version of the Crown Icon Pack for my app drawer icons, and what I’ve really learned since using this updated setup is that as long as manufacturers let us remove everything from the home screen and use third-party icon packs, that is just about all we need to create any home screen setups we might want to.
Now, if the software team at Nothing is watching, then if they could also add the option to hide apps from the app drawer in a future update, then that would be amazing. But aside from that, the software experience on this phone is honestly, for me, one of the best software experiences you can get on any Android device right now. It’s obviously not as customizable as Samsung’s ONE UI skin. It doesn’t even have that many extra features on top of iOS. But it is a silky smooth software experience that is seriously beautiful to look at, and I really, really like it.
Unfortunately, there is still no one-handed mode, which I thought for sure would come with the Android 13 update. So, hopefully, it’ll be added soon. But for me, if you’re someone who absolutely adores the Pixel software experience, then this phone is pretty much the closest thing you’ll get without actually owning a Pixel phone.
Just quickly, in terms of design, Nothing made a lot of correct decisions with this phone, like the flat display, the matte side rails, and opting for evenly sized bezels around the entire front of the phone.
But, there are a few changes I’d like them to consider for their next release. Firstly, they’ve got to move that selfie camera hole punch to the middle because whenever you’re on video calls or trying to take a selfie shot with your family, it is surprisingly disorienting having it positioned where it currently is. It results in eye lines being all over the place and requires lots of having to readjust your hand position to make sure you’re not actually covering the camera.
Secondly, if they’re able to come out with a matte finish on the back while still maintaining this transparent design language, then that would be amazing.
Finally, I’d love it if they could slim down the size of the bezels ever so slightly because, even though they are consistently sized, they’re also quite thick compared to the competition.
Nothing Phone 1 Display
The best decision Nothing made with this phone, though, was the display. Now, it’s not the brightest panel on the market, but it is seriously one of the most fluid, thanks to that 120 hertz and the crazy smooth software experience. It genuinely makes the phone feel so much more expensive than it actually is.
And as I mentioned in my first review, the performance of this phone is top-tier. Yes, it would be great to see a flagship-level phone released by Nothing with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside, which actually is rumored to be happening this year and which I’m super excited about.
But man, the 778g plus chipset inside this phone is really, really good. I would have no problems with a mid-range follow-up from Nothing continuing to use the upgraded equivalent of this chipset next time around because, for me, the price and performance value you get from it is really, really good.
And the fact that we have wireless charging with this phone, which is one of the customizations Nothing made to the 778g plus chipset, is again just one of those things that makes this phone feel much more premium than what it actually costs.
For example, OnePlus just released the OnePlus 11, which by most measures is a really solid value phone, but it doesn’t have wireless charging, which is just one of those things that makes it feel less valuable.
Changes Nothing to make
But with all of that being said, there are truly only three things I desperately want Nothing to improve with the next version of this phone and definitely with the rumored flagship Nothing phone coming later this year, which are, in no particular order: the haptics, the fingerprint sensor, and the cameras.
Firstly, the haptics – now they’re not that bad in this phone, but they’re definitely not as premium as the iPhones or Pixels or Samsung flagship devices, so I’d love to see Nothing go absolutely all-in in making the haptics in their next phone top tier.
Then the fingerprint sensor – coming from the Pixel 7 Pro before this, which had a much better sensor compared to the Pixel 6 Pro sensor, I’m seriously feeling the inadequacy of the sensor in the Nothing phone 1. Now it has gotten slightly better thanks to software updates, but for me, it’s way too low on the front of the phone, making it just that little bit too uncomfortable to reach, and it’s still just about the most unreliable in-display fingerprint sensor I’ve used in a phone since the OnePlus 6 series.
And Nothing, again, if you are watching, perhaps you could try copying Google’s face unlock implementation for your own face unlock, because not only does this little face unlock scanning icon look way too similar to a fingerprint sensor icon, but the fact that the fingerprint sensor itself completely disappears after my face is successfully registered, and that the face unlock stops scanning if I tap to open a notification or swipe to unlock my phone, it’s no good at all. If you fix those issues and improve the in-display sensor, then for me, that would be amazing.
And then the last thing that really needs addressing is the camera system. For one, I’ve really missed having a telephoto lens on this phone, and I totally get that it might be a bit too much to ask for one on a mid-range phone, but I truly hope that at the very least a 3x but hopefully even a 4x or 5x lens is added to this rumored flagship-level phone supposedly coming this year.
But then the image capture and processing situation needs a little bit of tweaking too. So since I started using this phone again, rather than using a GCam port like I did the last time I reviewed this phone, this time I almost exclusively used the stock Nothing camera app. And don’t get me wrong, this phone can capture a decent shot in the right conditions, but where it struggles is in taking pictures of people and in lower light scenarios.
If images also tend to have a slightly over sharpened look to them, which I don’t quite like the look of. And on top of that, there is quite a significant amount of shutter lag when actually capturing the shots using the camera app. So again, whilst you can often end up with some fantastic images from the cameras on this phone, I just don’t feel that comfortable with this as my only camera, whereas that’s obviously not the case when I’m using a Pixel or iPhone.
Nothing Phone (1) Specs
|$429 AT Amazon
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
500 nits brightness / 1,200 nits peak
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (60Hz lowest)
240Hz touch sampling
Gorilla Glass 5
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus
|8 or 12GB
|128 or 256GB
No microSD card support
33W PD3.0 wired charging
15W Qi wireless charging
5W reverse wireless charging
No charger in box
– 50MP Sony IMX766 wide-angle (ƒ/1.88, 1/1.56-inch sensor, 1μm pixel, 24mm focal, OIS, EIS)
– 50MP Samsung JN1 ultrawide (ƒ/2.2, 1/2.76-inch sensor, 114-degree FoV, EIS)FRONT:
– 16MP Sony IMX471 wide-angle (ƒ/2.45, 1/3.1-inch sensor)
|4K at 30fps
1080p at 30 or 60fps
Live HDR at 30fps
Slo-mo at 120fps (main lens only)
Night Mode at 720p/1080p (30fps)
OIS on main rear lens only
EIS on both rear lenses
No 3.5mm headphone jack
|In-display fingerprint reader
Gorilla Glass 5 front/back
|Gigabit LTE with 4×4 MIMO
Gigabit 5G dual Mode (NSA & SA) with 4×4 MIMO
5G NR*: Bands n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n40, n41, n77,
4G LTE: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 32, 34, 38,
39, 40, 41,66
3G UMTS (WCDMA): bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19
2G GSM : 850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 4/5/6 and 802.11 a/b/g/
NFC enabled with Google Pay support
GPS with A-GPS. Up to dual-band: GLONASS (1), BDS (2),
GALILEO (1), QZSS (1)
Three years of upgrades
Four years of patches
|Dimensions & weight
|159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3mm
|In the box
|Nothing Phone 1
Pre-applied screen protector
SIM tray ejector
So, that’s it. And dare I say, as much as I loved this phone the first time around, I reckon I’ve loved it even more this time around, thanks to the improvements Nothing has made in the software department. Again, I’m super excited for the rumored flagship-level phone that Nothing is supposedly releasing sometime this year, which I will definitely be getting my hands on. But for me, even though it’s been over six months since this phone was released, if you’re still thinking about getting one, then I reckon you should absolutely go for it. It’s a super fun phone that feels great to use, thanks to the design and software experience. So once again, I have to applaud Nothing for their efforts with this phone, and I cannot wait to see what they come up with going forward.