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Home / Hot Stuff / Smartphones / Nothing Phone 1 is official: glyph lighting and see-through styling for £399

Nothing Phone 1 is official: glyph lighting and see-through styling for £399

New value champ doesn’t overdo it on specs, but goes big on bespoke features

Nothing Phone 1 in white and black colours on grey background

The Nothing Phone 1 has finally arrived. The UK start-up’s debut offering aims to inject a bit of fun back into the phone world with customisable glyph lighting and a transparent design. It’s set to land at a Google Pixel 6a-baiting £399 – and yes, you’ll be able to get one in black.

After weeks of teasing and a hype machine that saw bidders pay upwards of $3000 to be one of the first 100 to own one, Phone 1 has been officially revealed as a value champ, with sensible specs and styling that’s more than a little inspired by Apple’s latest iPhones.

The 100% recycled aluminium frame surrounds a 6.55in OLED display on the front, with a Full HD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and slim bezels on all four sides. There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor. But the real action is on the back, with a see-through glass panel showing off internal hardware elements like a wireless charging coil – and the unique glyph lighting.

Made of 900 individual white LEDs, the glyph system lights up to indicate incoming notifications, show your remaining battery, act as a fill light when taking close-up photos, and let you know when a device is charging wirelessly. There’s also a single red LED that illuminates when recording videos.

The lights flash in time with ten custom ringtones, including one that spells N-O-T-H-I-N-G in Morse code. Flip the phone over on a desk and it’ll mute automatically, relying solely on different glyph elements to let you know if a notification is from an important contact or if it can be left until later. Nothing will offer an official case to protect the phone without obscuring the glyph lighting.

Inside, power comes from a Snapdragon 778G+, a mid-tier CPU tweaked by Qualcomm exclusively for Nothing to support wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. The 4500mAh battery also supports 33W wired fast charging, but there’s no power brick in the box – just a USB-C cable. You’ll need to supply your own adaptor.

Phone 1 also foregoes a 3.5mm headphone port – but anyone with a pair of Nothing’s Ear 1 wireless earbuds are unlikely to care. Accessories are neatly integrated into Nothing OS, the firm’s minimal take on Android, appearing in the notification tray for easy access. At launch, it’ll even let Tesla owners unlock their car, with wider support to follow later.

There are custom fonts, sounds, wallpapers and widgets to help set Phone 1 apart from the rest of the Android world. The firm hasn’t cut any deals with third party apps, so you won’t be bombarded with pre-installed bloat. It has also worked with design and sound partner Teenage Engineering on its own voice recorder app, which can strip out background noise when recording interviews and has quick-drag skipping like an old reel-to-reel machine.

Phone 1 is launching on Android 12, with three years of software updates and four years of security updates promised.

On the photography front, Phone 1 has two 50MP rear cameras: a main snapper sourced from Sony with f/1.88 aperture and 1/1.56in sensor size, and an ultrawide with f/2.2 aperture courtesy of Samsung. Both have electronic image stabilisation, but the main camera doubles up with OIS as well. The front-facing selfie cam has a 16MP sensor. Nothing says it’s put serious effort into its image processing algorithms, and simplified its app UI for point-and-shoot use. It can also pause and resume when recording video without splitting your footage into multiple files, which could come in handy for social media posts.

There will be three variants at launch: an 8GB RAM, 128GB storage in black only for £399, an 8GB RAM, 256GB version in black or white for £449, and a top-tier 12GB RAM, 256GB version, again in black or white, for £499.

The Nothing Phone 1 is going on general sale from 21 July. In the UK it will be available on contract exclusively from O2, and SIM-free from Amazon, Selfridges and direct from Nothing’s website.