The tech enthusiast in me could not be happier when Carl Pei announced in early 2021 that Nothing would be entering the smartphone segment. In July 2021, Nothing launched the Nothing Phone (1) with its unique transparent design philosophy and GLYPH interface. As you can guess, I pre-ordered the Nothing Phone (1) for myself but had to return it due to a problem with my device. However, this allowed me to test the Nothing Phone (1) for almost a week.


I ended up choosing the Google Pixel 6a, but soon after I bought it, I started regretting my purchase. This made me think about buying the Nothing Phone (1) again, which I finally did after a few months. You may be wondering why I regret buying the Pixel 6a, even though I am openly in favor of compact phones.

Allow me to explain in this post.

Nothing Phone (1) Offers Top-Notch Software Experience

Nothing decided to use the near-stock Android UI with some nifty additions and called it Nothing OS. Instead of creating in-house applications and developing its own Android interface, Nothing focused on fixing the vulnerabilities of stock Android. Let me give you a few examples:

nothingos made me realise how much overrated pixel ui is - google pixel 6a vs nothing phone 1 landscape notification panel ui
Google Pixel 6a on top and Nothing Phone (1) at bottom

The notification panel on Android 13 is still unusable in landscape mode. You can barely see four quick settings tiles and two notifications on the screen, wasting a lot of valuable screen real estate. Nothing has tried to fix this in Nothing OS.

The Notification panel on the Nothing Phone (1) is split in two in landscape mode, with the left half taken up by quick settings and the right half by notifications. This is certainly a better implementation as it uses the space more efficiently.

notification panel of nothingos in landscape mode
Google Pixel 6a on the left and Nothing Phone (1) on the right

Google introduced the Material You UI and Themed icons a few years ago. However, the themed icons on Pixel devices are only applicable on the home screen. Nothing has extended the support for themed icons to the App Drawer as well. At the moment, the App Drawer is still far from looking perfect, as many app developers have not yet implemented support for Material You UI and Themed Icons. However, as more and more developers integrate these features, the App Drawer in Nothing OS will look more consistent.

Aside from these additional enhancements, the fluidity that Nothing Phone (1) offers is impressive. I would even go so far as to say that it actually offers The Speed You Need (a tagline OnePlus used for one of its flagships in 2018). If you want a smooth and fast Android experience that is not heavily alienated, Nothing OS will not disappoint.

Google Pixel UI is Bug-ridden, and Google is yet to Crack the Formula To Make Pixel Devices Appeal to the Masses

​Google Pixel series smartphones are known for offering the cleanest Android experience, and Google has recently started keeping some features exclusive to Pixel series devices. However, there is no denying that Pixel smartphones do not offer the best user experience.

One of the most annoying bugs of the Pixel 6a that I often come across is that it does not show the recent apps when you swipe up from the bottom. In order to view recent apps, I had to lock and unlock my smartphone. Aside from that, occasional throttling, performance, and RAM management issues are part of the daily routine for Pixel 6a users. And, oh, how can I forget the fingerprint scanner issue on my phone?

Google is still struggling to deliver an improved product, even after several iterations of the Pixel series. With the Pixel 6 and 7 series, it seemed like the brand had mastered the smartphone design game, but it still needs to crack the formula so that the devices appeal to the masses and not just #TeamPixel enthusiasts.

Nothing Made The Right Hardware Choices

nothing phone 1 glyph interface

Nothing opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ processor for its very first smartphone. Remember Carl Pei’s meme “Change my mind”? This led to disappointment among some tech enthusiasts as people were expecting a flagship processor for the Nothing Phone (1). However, the mid-range processor helped the company keep costs down, and thus the smartphone appeals to a wider audience.

Another area where Nothing really shines compared to the competition is build quality. Smartphone OEMs have ignored build quality in the Rs 25,000-40,000 segment, which was mostly filled with cheap flagship killers. Still, Nothing has taken an unconventional approach and delivered a truly premium mid-range smartphone instead of a cheap flagship killer.

Wireless charging and wireless power sharing are just the cherries on top. You will not appreciate the convenience of wireless charging your TWS with your phone until you take your TWS out of its case and find that the battery is dead. These are the features we have not seen in this segment lately. Nothing seems to have made the right decisions and delivered a promising product on the first try, and most importantly, it seems to be working for the company.

Have you tried the Nothing Phone (1) yet? How was your experience with NothingOS? Let us know in the comments section below.

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