Carl Pei Confirms Nothing Phone (1) is an Also-Ran

On the off chance you believed that Nothing and its new smartphone had any chance at all, allow me to dash those hopes: founder Carl Pei confirmed this week that the Nothing Phone (1), which is the horrible name of the firm’s new handset, will ship with a mid-level chipset. So it’s not a “flagship killer,” let alone something even remotely interesting.

Pei told a random tech blog that the Nothing Phone (1) will ship with a mid-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ chipset instead of a flagship-class chipset that can help the phone compete against modern iPhones and Samsung flagships. This chipset does, however, support wireless charging and reverse wireless charging, two features that are missing in the normal 778G.

So why the lackluster chipset? Pei says it’s about “performance, power consumption, and cost,” mirroring earlier statements he had made about smartphone specifications not being important. Which is the type of thing you only say when you have a device with less than flagship specifications.

Nothing also revealed recently that it will launch the Phone (1) in Europe and the UK only, and that it has no plans to bring the device to the United States, further diminishing its appeal. About 100,000 people signed up to preorder the Phone (1) when the system went live last week.

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  • StagyarZilDoggo

    Premium Member
    29 June, 2022 - 10:06 am

    <p>OK, I’ll be the optimist. If this thing will cost around €350, it could be a competitor to phones like the Samsung A53 – which is the "volume" part of the market, at least here in Europe.</p>

  • BenJ

    29 June, 2022 - 10:08 am

    <p>Calling it an "also-ran" because it has the 778G+, Qualcomm’s second-best SoC, and not the 8 gen 1 is like saying that any PC using an Intel Core i7 is an "also-ran" because it could have been a Core i9… Entirely ignoring that the even the 778G+ is for the vast majority more than they’d need.</p><p><br></p><p>And its downright ridiculous in a world where these things are in short supply.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      29 June, 2022 - 11:10 am

      <p>For those expecting a competitor to the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S line, it is an also than. It is a mid market phone and there is nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t the high end phone that people were hoping for. </p><p><br></p><p>It will compete with the Samsung A series, Xiaomi, Huawei, Nokia, OnePlus Nord, etc. </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      29 June, 2022 - 11:24 am

      <p>It’s not at all like that. Core i3, i5 whatever chips perform well for most people. Anything less than an 8x-series Qualcomm chipset does not. Until and unless that changes, phones like this are not interesting. </p>

      • obarthelemy

        29 June, 2022 - 3:21 pm

        <p>Strongly disagree. </p><p>1- I haven’t had/heard real complaints about performance since the Cortex A7x cores. And when someone does complain, it’s mostly about I/O (storage/RAM speed when switching apps, storage/network speed hen loading content).</p><p>2- Plus this year’s SD 8 gen 1 is a dog because Samsung’s fab are having issues with the latest process. Not only is performance subpar, it’s an overheating POS that should be avoided.</p><p><br></p><p>Sensible buyers have stopped buying bleeding edge phones, especially this year. </p><p><br></p><p>I dislike this phone’s hype train. Those specs sound reasonable though: Xiaomi just took the unusual step to re-launch the Poco F3 (SD870) as the F4 with very minor updates, because that chipset is the best higher-end compromise. Samsung’s issues are hurting everyone, anything fabbed on TSMC just got an extra year of life.</p>

        • yaddamaster

          29 June, 2022 - 4:35 pm

          <p>A mid-range phone that can compete with Samsung’s A53 AND have wireless\reverse-wireless charging?</p><p>For roughly the same cost?</p><p><br></p><p>Sign me up. I don’t need a flagship phone. Just a decent camera (again, not flagship) and reasonably speedy. The A53 fits the bill – but I want wireless charging.</p>

          • obarthelemy

            29 June, 2022 - 4:40 pm

            <p>The harshest competition to the A53 is the A52s 5G ^^</p><p>From GSMArena: "why would anyone want to get the A53 5G instead of the still-available Galaxy A52s 5G? Samsung really is its worse enemy in this particular case. The A52s 5G is an incredibly similar offer to the A53 5G. You get the same overall features and hardware. Even the cameras are the same and arguably perform better with the Snapdragon 778G chipset. Battery life is also practically identical, despite the fact that the A53 5G has a bigger battery. The difference in chipsets evens that out. On top of that, the Snapdragon 778G offer more raw performance. Both CPU- and GPU-wise. Plus, the A52s 5G is now notably cheaper."</p>

      • kevin_costa

        30 June, 2022 - 6:53 am

        <p>Sorry Paul, but this is pure elitism. Snapdragon 4xx, 6xx and 7xx are like the Core i3 and i5s of the smartphone world, they are FINE for 95% of tasks and for most people. What you are (maybe) referring to is in the WOA devices, that anything less than a flagship has a chance to perform poorly.</p><p><br></p><p>I have a 2019 Xiaomi phone with an SD 730 (a "low-end chipset, with mediocre performance" according to you), with many apps installed (like a power user would have), and the performance is great! Nothing to complain. You have used the Pixel ‘A’ series and said it is fine. Stop chasing for one inferior performance needle in the haystack of fair price, decent features, and other mid-range class qualities. Not everyone wants (or can) to pay for a flagship.</p>

      • Davor Radman

        11 July, 2022 - 3:36 am

        <p>That is just not true at all.</p><p>My previous phone had 730, I had 200-300 apps installed and it ran just fine.</p><p>870 I have now is better sure, but not overwhelmingly so.</p><p>And 100% not important at all to normal people who don’t have hundreds of apps, or any particularly taxing ones. Chrome works fine e.g.</p>

        • Paul Thurrott

          Premium Member
          11 July, 2022 - 8:41 am

          It’s absolutely true. I use all kinds of phones, and the only ones that have any longevity are the high-end models.

    • winner

      29 June, 2022 - 3:00 pm

      <p>Exactly. It’s as if the CPU power is the only important feature of the entire system.</p><p>So if you buy an entry level MB or Audi or BMW and you don’t have a V8 engine, then those are "also-rans" as well, according to this logic.</p>

  • peterc

    Premium Member
    29 June, 2022 - 11:13 am

    <p>I dont know about the US, but here in the UK and Europe there’s a full blown cost of living crisis getting underway not helped by the war in Ukraine and exceedingly high energy and food costs. Price conscious consumers are now king…</p><p><br></p><p>The OnePlus Oos 12 shambles has meant people looking for new mobiles are looking at different brands (Oneplus 10 pro sales are woeful) and pretty much everyone I know or speak to is turning their back on "top of the range" mobile phones with expensive cameras/processors/glass etc. Even apple are looking to offer their own interest free credit to maintain customer sales. The days of easy volume sales of very expensive flagship mobile phones are over for quite some time… </p><p><br></p><p>Samsung, Xiaomi, Nothing, Motorola and Huawei are all launching/have launched mid range £370 – £450 handsets with Snapdragon 778g + chips, 120/140hz displays, fast charging, decent battery life etc and theyre all offering 2-3 android updates and 3 or more years of security patches etc. Theres loads more to come in this price bracket… I expect it to become the most competitive market segment.</p><p><br></p><p>I just checked out a Motorola Edge 30 for £379 new…. fab flat 144hz display, very slim and light a Snapdragon 778g+ and stock android…. quite frankly I cant see why i’d spend much more.. its a great priced handset. The Nothing 1 seems to be a very similar spec, well the same, but with a more design/fashion look and feel…</p><p><br></p><p>The pixel 6a could have had a field day if google had improved the display from 60hz… numpty decision making.</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      29 June, 2022 - 11:30 am

      <p>It’s the same way in the US with the price of living. What I expect to happen is different though. I just expect users to keep their existing phones longer.</p>

      • vladimir

        Premium Member
        29 June, 2022 - 5:31 pm

        <p>For sure, that is happen in Europe too. I have an iPhone 11pro and was planning to upgrade in the fall when the 14 will come out. Now I believe I’m going to wait at least one more year. It’s also environmentally friendly to swap stuff less often. However, I think we should move beyond the idea that only flagship smartphones are viable. Non-flagship are perfectly fine for many people and it’s good to have more options</p>

  • simont

    Premium Member
    29 June, 2022 - 11:43 am

    <p>I don’t think it is a also ran, more of a never ran.</p>

  • obarthelemy

    29 June, 2022 - 3:32 pm

    <p>I’ve been a Xiaomi customer and pusher for a few years, but this year Xiaomi dropped the ball hard: phones up to late spring launched on Android 11, with very lame performance, and the beginning of "classical de-featuritis": loss of SD and Jack in some cases, 20:1 skinny screens only, hard to find something with an HRR AMOLED and 5G at a reasonable price.</p><p><br></p><p>Because I have no choice but to get something with that silly screen form factor (I use my phone to read, game and some light Office, for all of which 20:9 is ridiculous), I’m very reluctant to compromise on anything else. My list of possible phones that tick most boxes is very sparse. SoC is not a factor in it, anything recent is Plenty Good. https://www.gsmarena.com/results.php3?nYearMin=2021&amp;nPriceMax=450&amp;chk35mm=selected&amp;s5Gs=28&amp;sOSes=2&amp;sOSversions=2930&amp;idCardslot=1&amp;sDisplayTechs=2</p&gt;

  • millicentpartridge2

    29 June, 2022 - 4:17 pm

    <p>Sadly for some years now Qualcomm’s high-end chipsets have been all about trying to close the gap with Apple’s A-series by drinking huge quantities of power.</p><p>That Nothing are willing to make a tradeoff between power consumption and performance makes this phone more interesting to me.</p>

  • Awhispersecho

    Premium Member
    29 June, 2022 - 5:58 pm

    <p>At least it won’t overheat. This CPU elitism with phones is crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I spend way too much money on flagships every year but the idea that a chip like this or even people who talk about the flagship snapdragons from 2 years ago suddenly being unusable is just absurd. This phone will perform fine. It isn’t the iPhone killer they marketed it as in the beginning but it will still perform plenty good enough for 90% of folks out there. </p>

  • rob_segal

    Premium Member
    29 June, 2022 - 7:22 pm

    <p>So far, there is nothing special about this phone. Just another mid-range smartphone in a sea of mid-range smartphones. </p>

    • dftf

      30 June, 2022 - 12:20 pm

      <p>I thought the special thing about the <em>Nothing</em> phones is that they are supposed to be easily end-user repairable?</p>

  • winner

    30 June, 2022 - 12:41 am

    <p>What does that logic make Windows on ARM? </p><p>Answer: an also-ran for over a decade.</p>

  • wunderbar

    Premium Member
    30 June, 2022 - 9:37 am

    <p>I could not disagree with this more. As others have stated saying a 778G isn’t acceptable is like saying a core i5 isn’t acceptable becuase core i7 and core i9 exist.</p><p><br></p><p>I’m using a midrange android phone right now while my primary device is in for a repair and in day to day average use, the experience is 90% of what my primary phone is but this phone costs half as much.</p><p><br></p><p>A very fair trade.</p>

    • dftf

      30 June, 2022 - 11:56 am

      <p>The fairer statement should probably be "an <em>Intel Core i5</em> isn’t acceptable because <em>AMD Ryzen 5</em> exists".</p><p><br></p><p>As someone who has recently been looking at a new laptop for a family-member, the three most-common laptop CPUs I encounter are the <em>Intel Core i5-1035G1 </em>(4-core, 8-thread, 6MB cache, 1-3.6Ghz); the <em>Intel Core i5-1135G7 </em>(4c, 8t, 8MB, 2.4-4.2Ghz) or the <em>AMD Ryzen 5 5500U</em> (6c, 12t 11MB, 2.1-4Ghz). It’s a no-brainer to recommend the <em>5500U</em>, given the extra cores, threads and higher cache (and I’d imagine better power-efficiency, also)!</p><p><br></p><p>(When looking at <em>Core i3</em> and <em>Ryzen 3</em>, however, the specs are more-comparable, with most featuring 2 cores, 4 threads and 5-6MB of cache; though one did have an <em>Intel Core i3-1125G4</em>, which has 4 cores, 8 threads and 8MB of cache.)</p>

      • wunderbar

        Premium Member
        30 June, 2022 - 1:28 pm

        <p>No the intel to intel comparison is the more accurate one because it’s comparing products from within the same company.</p><p><br></p><p>the Intel vs AMD comparison is more accurate if you’re talking about say, Qualcomm vs Mediatek.</p>

  • dftf

    30 June, 2022 - 12:18 pm

    <p>I might be missing something, but… isn’t the big-thing about the <em>Nothing</em> phone that virtually all of the parts are end-user replaceable or repairable, and not the spec? I cannot recall many press-releases or news-articles where they claim it’ll be "the phone to end all others" or similar.</p><p><br></p><p>But I agree with others here: there isn’t really that much-wrong with the spec, assuming it’ll be priced like other mid-rangers. 120Hz OLED display (<em>Pixel 6a</em> is 60Hz; <em>iPhone SE (2022)</em> also is 60Hz, and is also not OLED); 8GB RAM (<em>Pixel 6a </em>is 6GB; <em>iPhone SE (2022)</em> just 4GB); 128GB storage (<em>SE</em> starts from 64GB); and a 4500mAh battery (a tiny 2018mAh on the <em>SE</em>).</p><p><br></p><p>About the only things I could criticise about the <em>Nothing</em> phone (assuming <em>GSM Arena’s</em> specs are accurate) is that the USB Type C connector is apparently only USB 2.0 speeds, there is no headphone-port, and the video-recording only supports 30FPS for all-modes, not 60FPS.</p>

    • wunderbar

      Premium Member
      30 June, 2022 - 1:26 pm

      <p>No, the Nothing phone is not a phone with user replaceable parts. the phone you’re likely thinking about is the Fairphone, another european only phone.</p>

  • evictedkoala

    01 July, 2022 - 1:59 am

    <p>Lame short-sighted take likely meant to generate clicks and comments. Congrats, you succeeded. But stuff like this also cheapens the blog.</p>

  • George Charly

    04 July, 2022 - 2:37 am

    <p>I’m getting Nothing phone 1 for sure, it is so good looking plus the specs are also worth it. Most people are asking for a case, but using a case will completely spoil the phone’s design. A transparent case is good but after 2-3 months it’ll get yellowish so I will put on a Gadgetshieldz full-body film protector which I’m using on my Nothing ear 1 for scratch protection!</p>

  • Davor Radman

    11 July, 2022 - 2:20 am

    <p>I mean there IS a huge midrange market here.</p><p>We don’t all run around with iphones and Galaxy Ss.</p><p>Oneplus Nord, A53, Poco F3 have all been successful.</p><p><br></p><p>That said, they need to be price competitive, which might be hard when you don’t have the whole ecosystem to make up the difference.</p>

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