Very few Android phones stay close to AOSP these days, and while Nothing Phone (1) won’t be coming to the US, it’s an interesting first entry for Carl Pei’s startup. Sold as clean and lightweight, just what’s different about Nothing OS? Here’s everything you need to know.
While there are similarities, Nothing OS does have some major tweaks to take advantage of the unique design and hardware on this new Android user. There are definitely some hints of early OxygenOS here that former OnePlus fans who have been looking at the GV-backed brand might have.
Video – None Complete OS . Walkthrough
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No operating system has a very light skin on Android 12, and you’ll likely be happy to hear that pre-installed or bloated apps are kept to a minimum.
- Nothing Launcher – Although not technically an “app”, it’s the stock launcher that comes pre-installed
- Recorder – This app was developed in collaboration with Teenage Engineering. It includes options to focus on audio, your live environment, and also lets you record audio in higher bit rate formats up to 256 kbps in AAC.
- Camera – Nothing has developed the Camera app. It’s basic and well organized with a hint of Google Camera and even the iOS Camera app. There’s a night mode, Google Lens integration, and expert mode, as well as 4K UHD 30fps selected video recording. However, it is limited to 1080p 30fps when HDR recording mode is active.
Some of the most notable changes within Nothing OS on the Google Pixel series are found in the Quick Settings drop-down section or Notification Shade.
- Six Tile Layouts – Unlike AOSP’s Android 12 builds, there’s no OS that fits six tiles instead of the standard four seen on Pixel phones running the latest mobile software. This includes two permanent switches for Internet and Bluetooth. These settings cannot be changed but you can reduce the number of quick settings toggles you can add to the panel.
- The Wi-Fi section adds a portable hotspot – when you expand the Wi-Fi or mobile data toggle, it opens the Internet pop-up panel. There’s a new portable hotspot toggle here to enable fast network and data sharing.
- Bluetooth Floating Menu – When you click the Bluetooth toggle switch, this opens a quick selection tool that allows you to reconnect accessories or add new devices. This differs from the Pixel, where the same toggle disables or enables Bluetooth connectivity.
As spotted in the pre-launch Nothing Launcher Beta, there are a number of tools designed based on the Dot Matrix aesthetic that Nothing has developed since the launch of the earbuds (1).
- Analog watch – simple Swiss style watch with current date display.
- Digital Clock – A two-line digital clock in the form of a Dot Matrix line.
- Weather – A large numeric weather icon with temperature and weather conditions appears in text form below.
- At a Glance – Almost identical to the Quick Glance widget found on Google Pixel devices, it shows current weather conditions and temperature with an icon and in text form with the current day and date also displayed. This can be removed from the home screen but remains fixed in the Nothing OS lock screen.
The Settings section of Nothing OS includes some minor tweaks to accommodate some of the added hardware features.
- Glyph front – a new section dedicated to custom lighting on the back of the smartphone panel.
- About Device Screen – The About Phone page contains a PNG file of Nothing Phone (1) in the distinctive color of your device. There are more details here including listed device specifications such as processor and RAM.
Article you and personalization
Not all Android variants support Google’s Material You and Dynamic Color changes right away even after updating to Android 12. No operating system supports both core components within Android 12 right out of the box.
- Personalization – No OS has a Wallpaper and Style section but instead of being the only one for customization, the Personalization section lets you choose an icon pack as well.
- Background and Style – This section is exactly the same as you’ll find on Pixel phones. The wallpaper-based theme system is applied automatically depending on the preset colors and tones of your phone’s background. You can also choose from four preset color options.
- App Grid – Unfortunately, Nothing Launcher’s app grid only offers 4×5 and 5×5 layout options.
Of course, the Nothing Phone (1) camera needs an app, so Nothing OS includes a fairly standard set of photography and videography options. The dual camera setup consists of a 50MP Sony IMX 766 main sensor and a 50MP Samsung JN1 ultrawide.
- photo mode
- Portrait mode – a basic mode that allows adding software-based background blur. It can be manually adjusted from f/0.95 to f/16.
- Macro – The JN1 ultra-fast camera is used for macro shots with close focus.
- Expert – includes controls for white balance, focus point, shutter speed, ISO, and EV. RAW image support for both wide and ultra-wide lenses is also included.
- Video modes
- HDR – High Dynamic Range video provides more color space for clips. Maximum 720/1080 pixels at 30 fps using the main sensor.
- Time Lapse – adjustable from 15x to 960x for short videos of long duration.
- Slow Motion – Max 120fps but can be set to 720/1080p.
- Glyph fill light – A new flash mode lets you adjust the Glyph lighting panel to provide soft fill light in video and photo modes. This simulates professional soft lights with diffusion rather than harsh flashes of light.
- Always On Display – Out of the box, the Always On Display feature is disabled. You’ll need to go to Settings > Display > Lock screen > Always show lock screen basic info to enable.
Nothing Phone (1)’s most eye-catching and biggest selling point (1) is the “Glyph” light bars beneath the clear glass panel on the back of the device. You can’t fully customize the lighting, but instead use preset patterns for individual apps or contacts.
- Antenna, lesson, plot, beetle, squirrels, shots, radiate, tennis, coded, scribble.
- Notification sounds
- Oi!, Bulb One, Bulb Two, Guiro, Volley, Squiggle, Isolator, Gamma, Beak, Nope.
- Charging Meter – When using a wired charging cable, the light bar above the USB-C charging port will fill in to show the current charging level.
- Google Assistant Feedback – The light bar above the USB-C charging port will flash with animation to indicate that Google Assistant is responding to feedback with the hot words “Hey Google” or “OK Google”.
- Flip to Glyph – A version of “Flip to Shhh” in Nothing OS that will set your device to Do Not Disturb, disable vibrations and sounds, and enable lights notifications only when placed on the surface.
- Bedtime Schedule – A method for scheduling Glyph lighting to be disabled during bedtime or preset hours.
What do you think about OS None?
It’s not often that we see new forms of Android arrive with brand new and rare carriers. Should no operating system continue to adopt AOSP-like design and aesthetics? Or would you like to see more tuning and tweaks to adapt the devices? Do you like what you see so far? Tell us in the comments section below.
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