So far, I’ve successfully avoided the Nothing Phone (1) hype – nothing that’s been officially announced has made me happy, and I’m wary of products whose main selling point is the charisma of the influential figure behind it (see also: everything Musk has ever touched).
However, a recent leak has piqued my interest in this upcoming Android debut phone. According to reports, the phone will be released at a mid-range price of €500 (approximately $540, £430, or AU$750).
That’s less than I expected the Nothing Phone to cost, given the fanfare and fanfare surrounding the device, which led me to believe it’d be a premium handset to rival the Samsung Galaxy S22 or iPhone 14. And, while I have yet to board the hype train, I am lining up to purchase a ticket.
Mid-range is ideal
The mid-range Android phone market is one of the most fast-paced and competitive segments of the smartphone industry, with companies competing to offer devices that combine low prices with high specs.
The mid-range phone market is where OnePlus rose to prominence – the same OnePlus whose co-founder is now in charge of Nothing – and where brands like Xiaomi and Oppo rose from ‘fledgling Chinese phone companies’ to ‘global players.’
Due to the competition in the mid-range phone market, both from a plethora of mobiles and the pressures of the equally enticing budget and premium sectors, these devices must be excellent. To play in the league, companies must be extremely competitive, offering the highest specifications at the lowest prices.
And the most memorable mid-range phones do just that: the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and Oppo Reno 10x Zoom had excellent cameras for their prices, while the Moto G200 and Poco F4 GT provide top-tier performance on a budget.
It also helps that the mid-range market is more appealing to tech enthusiasts. People who don’t know their Snapdragons from their Dimensities are more likely to walk into a store and buy the most expensive Galaxy S or iPhone they see, or perhaps the most affordable Moto G or Nokia handset that catches their eye.
People who enjoy poring over specs and features, on the other hand, are likely to be more interested in the specific nuances of various mid-range phones.
After all, that is the market for the Nothing Phone (1): the device is being sold on the legacy of Nothing’s founder, Carl Pei, with features that appeal to tech fans. The device’s design reveals this more than anything else: the back is see-through, allowing you to see the handset’s internals.
The market’s slowing
Despite the competitiveness of the mid-range phone market, I haven’t been captivated by one in a long time – partly because mobile trends have diverged from features I like (where have the curved-edge phones gone? Why aren’t there more mid-range camera phones? ), but also for another reason.
Many of the companies that rose to prominence with mid-range phones, such as OnePlus and Xiaomi, have now largely abandoned the market in favor of the more lucrative premium phone market. Despite the potential big wins, there is simply less effort being put into the mid-range market.
That’s why the leaked price of the Nothing Phone (1) piqued my interest: it shows that Nothing is willing to step up and make a mid-priced phone rather than diving headfirst into the premium market.
A phone that combines great specs with an affordable price is far more likely to impress me than one that costs an arm and a leg and barely provides a better experience.
Each of my favorite phones that I’ve tested for TechRadar has been in the mid-range, and I’m excited that the Nothing Phone (1) could join that list.
Did I just use the words ‘excited’ and ‘Nothing Phone (1)’ in the same sentence? Oh, well, better keep that in mind until the official price is announced.
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