The Nothing smartphone – which has wowed fans with its head-turning design and clean OS experience – is finally coming to the US, though this isn’t quite the full launch many of us were hoping for.
Instead, the brand has announced that it's releasing the Nothing Phone 1 via a beta program designed to test out its Nothing OS 1.5 inteface, which is powered by Google’s Android 13. Those who sign up for the beta – which costs $299 – will get Nothing’s black model with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage.
Considering that the Nothing Phone 1 launched in Europe and the UK at £399 – equivalent to around $480 – the beta price offers you a pretty good discount for the unique smartphone.
In our review (in which we awarded the device four stars), we were taken with the phone’s glyph interface – a customizable lighting pattern that acts as a notification light on steroids – and found it to offer a solid amount of power in its budget-friendly package (though its battery life and camera aren’t much to write home about).
US, we have something special just for you.Experience Phone (1) with our Nothing Beta Membership. You'll receive a Phone (1) to test Nothing OS 1.5, powered by Android 13. And the opportunity to claim a Nothing Community Black Dot.Learn more here: https://t.co/yVwcLADrNH pic.twitter.com/YPsxqHS6p9January 10, 2023
On top of the flaws we found in our review, there are a few other things to watch for if you’re looking to pick up Nothing’s smartphone via this beta launch.
By far the biggest issue you might run into is that not all networks will be fully supported by the Nothing phone during the test; as highlighted in the beta’s FAQ section, only T-Mobile will be able to grant Nothing Phone users access to a 5G network (though it will be limited compared to other 5G handsets).
AT&T and Verizon offer much more limited services, with only a 4G connection at best – and it’s unclear if and when they’ll allow Nothing phone users to access a faster network.
Additionally, Nothing warns that its beta Nothing OS 1.5 software may cause some apps to not function properly – including Google Wallet, YouTube, and Netflix, according to its FAQ. So if you’re after a phone that functions normally out of the box, this may not be the gadget for you.
If those problems don’t concern you, though, then you’ll want to sign up for the beta before the June 30 2023, deadline. And don’t worry if you wait a while to sign up; you won’t have to return the phone come July 2023, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy your smartphone.
Looking for something that’s not in beta? Check out our picks for the best smartphones you can buy today.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.