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Elly Awesome Nothing Phone (1) review: Display, features, camera, price

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There’s a new mobile phone brand on the market called Nothing. And it’s OK if you’ve heard nothing about it – because I’m about to tell you everything you need to know.

Nothing has just launched its first Android smartphone called the Nothing Phone (1). It began gaining a reputation as ‘a phone to look out for’ because of Nothing’s CEO Carl Pei, who was the co-founder of OnePlus (an android mobile company), which has been highly popular overseas.

Additionally, the phone is grabbing a lot of attention, good and bad, for its quirky back panel LEDs and similarities to the iPhone’s design.

But is the Nothing Phone (1) worth all the hype?

Display and features

The body of the phone, at a glance, really does resemble an iPhone. And I feel as though Nothing has probably done this on purpose to stir up the internet – and it’s been working. Whether you want to call this an iPhone copycat or not, the phone is running Android 12 and Nothing OS so you won’t get an iPhone-like experience at all.

The back of the phone also houses something I haven’t seen on a phone before – an intricate set of LEDs. Nothing calls this ‘The Glyph’ and the LEDs light up when you receive text messages, phone calls or other notifications.

Not only is this fun to show off to your friends but it can be incredibly handy to have visual notifications. The Glyph can even be used as continuous lighting when recording a video (from the back cameras).

On the front, the 6.55” OLED screen looks fantastic with rich colours and HDR 10+ video support. The refresh rate is generally 60Hz but is adaptive reaching up to 120Hz at times. Due to its Snapdragon 778G+ processor, the phone is really snappy all round and can even support power-intensive games such as PUBG or Call of Duty Mobile.

Camera quality

The cameras sound pretty good on paper. A 16-megapixel selfie camera and two 50-megapixel cameras on the back – one wide and one ultra-wide lens. However, they didn’t blow me out of the water.

The front camera produced fairly standard results for a mid-range android phone and it also seemed to give me a slightly different skin tone.

In video mode (shooting at 1080p at 30fps) the stabilisation was ‘good’ but in producing the stabilisation it gave the footage that ‘fake stabilisation’ effect which comes across a bit wobbly.

On the other hand, the back cameras performed quite well even in low lighting conditions and I loved some of the photos they produced, including ones taken in Portrait mode.

But in video mode (4K at 30fps or 1080p at 30/60fps) there were mixed results. All the cameras (front and back) sometimes overexposed footage – specifically blowing out the sky or struggling with uneven lighting when filming at night. But if you’ve only used phones sub-$700, you may feel you’re getting some pretty impressive results.

As a content creator, I wouldn’t be able to use this full-time but for the average person it certainly would do the job. However, if the camera is incredibly important to you, note that phones such as the Google Pixel 6A produce slightly better results for around the same price point.

Battery life

The 4500mAh battery did fairly well at keeping the phone running throughout the day until heading to bed at night. It didn’t blow me out of the water but for regular use it can definitely keep up. Additionally, the Nothing Phone (1) has support for 15W Qi (wireless) charging, which isn’t common on phones at this price point and is a nice bonus. Otherwise, you can recharge the phone using the included USB-C cable which can charge it fairly fast when used with a 33W charger. Gotta love fast charging support.

Should you buy it?

When it comes to a mid-range phone, it’s not the best on the market, but it certainly is the most unique. I’ve loved the back LEDs, even though some might call it a gimmick. And it’s nice to have a phone that stands out in the crowd.

It’s a great Android phone for the price but not the best in the mid-range smartphone market. So, if a unique design appeals to you and you love Android phones, I’d recommend the Nothing Phone to experience something different for a change.

The Nothing Phone (1) comes in black and white and starts at a reasonable $749 for 8GB of Ram and 128GB of internal storage, $799 for 8GB of Ram and 256GB of internal storage or $899 for 12GB of Ram and 256GB of internal storage.

Elly Awesome is an Aussie tech and lifestyle vlogger | @ellyawesometech | YouTube

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