Curious branding has been found inside the Phone 1
Like many new brands, Carl Pei’s Nothing got off to a shaky start. Although the Phone 1 is a literal beacon in a sea of drab smartphones, it’s had a few issues. The company has been swift to roll out fixes, but updates can’t change hardware. Zack Nelson (JerryRigEverything) and PBKreviews on YouTube have tested the Phone 1’s durability and repairability to determine how easily the device breaks and how convenient subsequent repairs would be — and found a curious Easter egg in the process.
Zack took every opportunity to highlight the iPhone-esque design and make puns with the company’s name, but the Phone 1 remained unfazed by both the banter and his tools. A scratch with a razor blade revealed an aluminum frame with power and volume buttons made of the same material. Like most modern Gorilla Glass, the screen scratched at a level 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.
The Phone 1 creaked in protest during Zack’s bend test, with most of the flexure seen near the antenna lines — but it didn’t snap like a cracker. To its credit, the phone was a lot more resistant when bent backwards. However, Zack noted that the optical fingerprint reader failed twice and IP53 water resistance isn’t the best despite rubber ingress protection seals on the SIM tray.
Seals are also visible around several internal connectors in PBKreviews’ teardown, though we wonder whether they help the water and dust resistance rating. The YouTuber’s biggest finding was the tedious process of replacing the screen, so if you bought a Nothing Phone 1, hope nothing ever happens to its display. Other noteworthy findings include graphite sheets to help with heat dissipation, copper film behind the cameras, and a rather substantial bottom-firing speaker.
Although PBKreviews likely missed it, someone at Nothing went through the effort of putting “Pokemon” branding on two adjacent ribbon cables underneath the battery. This is perhaps a literal inside joke, given Carl Pei’s fondness for Pokémon. Lending credence to our guess, Android Authority notes the phone’s internal codename “Abra” is also a reference to one of the franchise’s creatures.
On PBK’s 10-point scale, the Nothing Phone 1 scored a dismal three in terms of repairability, mostly due to the scant availability of parts right now, and their hard-to-reach placement inside the phone. The Phone 1 could learn a thing or two from the Fairphone lineup, but we wouldn’t mind seeing other OEMs mimic the Phone 1’s flashy Glyph interface to woo consumers.