The Nothing Phone (1) won’t be fully revealed for another couple of weeks, but because we’re just running back the early OnePlus playbook, the teases are only intensifying. Today, we get the biggest of them yet, with an MKBHD hands-on that shows off a lot of the features coming to the back of the phone and its fun LED lights.
In the video, Marques shows off several good angles of the phone, which does indeed have that squared-off look you really only get with an iPhone. Make the iPhone 12 jokes all you want, I just think there’s still something unique here, even if that’s mostly because of the see-through glass and the now-confirmed LED lights on the backside that Nothing will use to highlight several functions.
Nothing has embedded several LED lights under the glass of the back of the phone. There are lights curving around the cameras, the wireless charging coil, and as accents in the top right corner and as a line that sort of extends up from the charging port. These lights will be used for all sorts of stuff, so hopefully if you buy one you don’t plan on using a case and are comfortable flipping it over to be face down on a surface all of the time.
Called the “Glyph Interface,” Nothing has programmed the phone to be able to light up for notifications and incoming calls, as you might have guessed. When those two items do trigger the lights, the lights will match the pattern or beat from those sounds, which is kind of cool. The video shows this in action for several sounds, all of which I believe are custom sounds made for this phone.
The Glyph Interface settings page also mentions “Google Assistant Feedback,” a “Flip to Glyph” feature, and an optional bedtime schedule. I’m not sure what kind of feedback it’ll give you from Google Assistant, but maybe it’s the lights mimicking the Assistant’s voice as it talks back to you? The flipping option is sort of like a do not disturb mode that puts your phone in silent while still flashing lights for notifications and such. And the bedtime schedule is likely a no-light mode for when you are sleeping. You can turn it all off if you want too.
As for other features, Nothing will let you turn the lights on when using the camera to better light an object. They’ll also use that bottom line to act as a charging status indicator that fills from top to bottom to give you an idea of battery percentage. The light doesn’t remain on all of the time when charging, but a little shake will wake it up for quick status checks.
And I think that’s mostly it. I’ve got to say, I really like these types of features on phones because they are at least different. They offer something new in a clever presentation. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, putting a case on it could take away some fun. I’m sure Nothing is making a case that’ll still showcase the lights, but you get what I mean. The other thing is that I am absolutely never comfortable putting my phone face down on a desk or countertop or any other surface and so that kind of eliminates the chances I’d ever really take advantage of this.
Either way, still fun even if not all that practical.