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While Nothing’s CMF Phone 1 won’t be competing with some of the most capable phones around, its modular design charm, attractive Android user interface and solid everyday performance all punch well above its £209 price point.


  • Attractive, fun design
  • Very accessible price point
  • Big, bright and vibrant display


  • Second camera is only for depth sensing
  • IP52 rating means little moisture protection
  • Slow charging

Key Features

  • Modular designThe Nothing CMF Phone 1 sports a modular design that makes it easy to replace the rear case, add accessories and more.
  • Nothing-designed UI with GenAI supportThe CMF Phone 1 sports the same dot-matrix-style Nothing UI as the full-fat Nothing phones, complete with integration with ChatGPT.
  • Competitive price tagConsidering all that the Nothing CMF Phone 1 has going on, it’s priced very competitvely at just £209.


True budget phones are usually incredibly dull. For the most part, they’re cookie-cutter copy-and-paste jobs with no soul, no character and no interesting features. 

It’s the type of phone most manufacturers use as a tick-box exercise, to deliver the bare minimum it can get away with, and move on. 

But that’s left a bit of a gap for something different: enter the CMF Phone 1 by Nothing, the first interesting £200 phone I’ve seen in a very long time. 


  • Modular, customisable design that’s relatively easy to use
  • Unique Accessory Point attachment
  • IP52 dust and water resistance

Okay, so technically it’s £209, but the point remains. Nothing is trying to make the boring, low-end phone market a little interesting, and it’s doing it by making the design engaging and fun. And actually attractive?

Nothing CMF Phone 1 and all accessories
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

One part of that is the removable back casing. So instead of your usual case where you just peel off and snap on a protective piece of plastic over the top of the rear surface, the removable case is actually the back of the phone. So you can change the look of the device itself, instead of covering it up. 

There are five screws dotted around the perimeter of the phone’s edges. Four of them are standard screws, with a groove in for a flathead screwdriver (which comes on a little tool in the box with any replacement case). 

The fifth is one that looks like a little scroll wheel in the bottom right corner. Unscrew all of these, take the SIM tray out and you can wrestle off the back panel and snap on a different colour one, before screwing it back in place. These additional cases are about £30 each, by the way. 

Nothing CMF Phone 1 with rear cover removed
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I won’t pretend it’s not a fiddly process. It is. The grooves for the flathead screwdriver are shallow and hard to get a good grip on. Plus, the screwdriver tool itself is tiny and equally hard to get a solid grip on. 

It also takes some force to get the case off – it’s not as simple as I thought it would be, anyway. The logic behind that is you’re not expected to do it all that often, so of course it’s not as easy as removing a regular case. Still, I think it’d benefit from a slight redesign if there’s a second generation. 

As fun as the idea is, there is a practical benefit to this approach too. Like back in the Nokia 3310 days, if your phone is dropped and the case cracks or gets damaged, you can just buy a new case and replace the back for relatively little money. 

If anything on the inside needs fixing, being able to take the back off without heat guns to melt any glue, or needing to pry the phone apart with tools, is a big plus. Although, actually getting any of those parts out and replacing them will take some technical expertise; it’s not a simple plug-and-play component system like recent entries from Nokia.

Removing the case of the Nothing CMF Phone 1
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The rear case isn’t the only customisation. The wheel screw, called the Accessory Point, at the bottom edge also makes it possible to attach a variety of other accessories. 

There’s a lanyard hook if you want it, or a kickstand for watching your videos or making video calls hands-free, and even a magnetic backplate that comes with a magnetic card wallet; a little like MagSafe on the iPhone, except without the wireless charging ability. These cost £19 each. 

The only issue I had with the Accessory Point is that it’s right on the bottom edge, and that makes it impossible to avoid it when holding the phone. I was always aware of that point being there, protruding into my pinky. 

Accessory Point close-up
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

For the first few days of using it, I kept wanting to turn the phone upside down, assuming I was gripping it the wrong way and that what I was feeling was a camera module. I did get used to it eventually, it’s just a little bit of a learning curve when you’re accustomed to completely flush, smooth phones. 

The downside of a non-sealed unit is that it’s not incredibly dust-proof or water-resistant. It’s only resistant to IP52 levels, which means it can only cope with very mild sprays of water, and only if it lands on the phone, vertically. Though it fares better against dust, it might as well not have any protection at all. Good luck in any sandstorm or sideways rain. 

Otherwise, for a phone this size, there’s a reassuring rigidity to the frame of the phone. It’s nice and slim too, but is a large phone, so some stretching is required if you want to use it one-handed. It looks and feels more premium than the price point would suggest it should be.

Nothing CMF Phone 1 and built-in kickstand
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)


  • 6.67-inch AMOLED screen
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 2000nits peak brightness

Continuing that feel of getting a lot for your money, there’s a 6.67-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display here with 120Hz refresh rates. It’s not an advanced LTPO panel with the ability to ramp up and down at 1hz increments for super-smooth and super-efficient animation speed changes, as seen in the battery life (which I’ll get into a bit later), instead switching between a fixed 60- and 120Hz. 

Watching a video on the Nothing CMF Phone 1
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

That refresh rate spec is actually the first area of the phone experience I felt didn’t quite match up to the promise. While it might technically be able to reach 120 refreshes per second, the actual animation on quick gestures like swiping the app drawer up, swiping to go home, and swiping the notification shade down, isn’t all that smooth. There’s some definite lag in those areas. 

But then, when you remember how little this phone costs, it’s not surprising that some frame-dropping and stutter creep in when you ask it to animate quickly and with fluidity. This isn’t a flagship phone after all. 

The other area it shows this is in its oleophobic abilities. I noticed oily smears on the glass and some subtle rainbow effects where my finger was swiping. It’s not a major issue, but just another little reminder that we’re looking at a £200 phone here, not a £1200 one. 

It is a decent display though, on the whole. It’s really bright, got good colours, it’s vibrant, and the dark parts of images are inky and deep. And apart from having a slightly thicker bezel on the bottom edge, there are some slim bezels around it to ensure your content gets pride of place on the front, expanding across almost all of that area. 

Screen bezels on the Nothing CMF Phone 1
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

With peaks up to 2000 nits, and typical brightness up to 700 nits, it’s easily visible in most conditions, only struggling a little with bright direct sunlight reflecting off the surface. 

Otherwise, I’d happily binge-watch my favourite YouTube channels and Netflix shows on this display. I was pretty surprised in fact, that I didn’t find my perfectionist snobby personality furrowing my brow at the lack of quality. It’s actually good. 

It has a built-in optical fingerprint sensor in the display too, which works about as well as any other optical sensor. There are failed reads probably one out of every seven or eight tries. Usually when my thumb isn’t quite in the optimal position for reading. 

Nothing CMF Phone 1's screen bezels
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)


  • 50MP main camera with a dedicated depth sensor
  • Basic digital zoom capabilities
  • Video capture up to 4K@30fps

The CMF Phone 1’s camera system does feel like something of a throwback to previous times. 

Cast your mind back to some of the first phones with dual camera systems – phones like the HTC One M8 in 2014. Instead of featuring an ultrawide, or even a zoom, this phone paired a secondary ‘depth’ sensor alongside the primary lens. 

Nothing CMF Phone 1 rear camera setup
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

We’ve seen these so-called depth sensors on other phones too. And usually they’d be added as the second or third camera on the more affordable devices, usually just so manufacturers could boast about having a multi-camera system. 

The idea behind this second sensor is that it can help detect depth between objects, and so enables an effective ‘Portrait’ mode where your subject is in focus, complete with a blurred background. The only problem is, as we’ve seen from so many modern phones,  it’s not really necessary to have a depth sensor to create this effect anymore. 

You can adjust the strength of the blur using a slider on the portrait mode screen, and the actual look of the blur can be really nice. It’s smooth, without any weird artefacts or swirls, but despite that extra lens, it still has a little trouble with edge detection.

I even found at times with objects that had defined, smooth edges, it would get confused. One specific example was a small Lego mini figure with a mask, it would get confused with the eyes behind the mask – sometimes blurring one out, but not the other – and not being able to tell if the light reflection on the top of the head was part of the head, or something in the background. 

Left ImageRight Image

This means despite sticking that depth sensor on the phone to make the background blur/bokeh and depth better, it’s still not all that much better than what phones like the Pixel range can do with just one front-facing selfie camera. 

Otherwise, it’s hard to criticise the camera system too much, purely because of, again, how little this phone costs. The one single camera that actually does something useful is a pretty strong performer. 

It’s a 50-megapixel camera that can take sharp, colour-rich shots in the daytime, with plenty of contrast and saturation for those attractive shots you want to share on social media. And it takes them quickly, with very little, if any, trouble with motion blur, even when light levels drop a little. 

I’ve shot photos with unsteady hands, and while walking, and the images come out in-focus and sharp. And because it’s got a high-resolution sensor, it’s got a pretty effective 2x digital zoom too, getting you that bit closer to the action without needing a dedicated zoom camera. 

I’m not saying it wouldn’t benefit from a zoom camera though, because those zoom results – when you look closely – don’t look as sharp and detailed as the regular 1x primary focal length. 

Similarly, it has some issues with HDR, and balancing out highlights and shadows in particular, especially when there’s a darker surface in the foreground with a bright background. To keep the sky looking detailed in all of its cloudy, dramatic glory in the below shot, the shadowed foreground objects become completely dark and crushed. 

At night time – and in low light – I’d say it’s safe to temper your expectations a little bit. Not that it can’t use night mode to good effect to shoot sharp, motion-blur-free images, it can. What it doesn’t do well is balancing light, white balance, exposure and contrast.

Images at night time often come out looking over-sharpened, very contrasty, and with a white balance that seems to be trying to turn the night scene into day, by making surfaces and objects that are warm to the eye look cool and blue. 

Video capture is decent enough too in day time. It’s still a bit saturated and contrasty, but it’s good enough for the purposes of sharing with friends and on social media. It’s worth noting, however, that the phone is limited to 30fps for 4K capture, and can only shoot 60fps at 1080p. 


  • Nothing-designed dot-matrix UI
  • ChatGPT integration
  • 2 OS upgrades, 3 years of security updates

Nothing’s phone software has a unique look. It’s clean and doesn’t have a lot of bloat or additional apps, but it does have an aesthetic that makes it immediately recognisable as a Nothing phone. 

Nothing OS on the Nothing CMF Phone 1
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It’s monochromatic, with bold, retro iconography and typefaces, and there are a bunch of useful widgets you can load to the Home Screen with that same look and feel. In fact, in order to create a consistent look, there are many, many preloaded widgets all designed to fit in with that distinctive style. 

Nothing has gone all-in with ChatGPT too, adding a dedicated widget that takes you straight to a Nothing-designed AI interface where you can chat, have conversations, ask questions and get ideas from the popular AI assistant. 

It’s distinctive, clean and fluid, but there’s a little bit of a weakness in that you don’t get mega-long software support from Nothing. You get two years of major updates and three years of security patches, which isn’t great if you’re planning on keeping this phone until it dies. 

Nothing OS widgets on the Nothing CMF Phone 1
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)


  • MediaTek Dimensity 7300
  • 8GB of RAM and either 128- or 256GB storage
  • Fine for casual use

There are a couple of areas where affordable phones can’t match the more expensive, top-tier devices, particularly when it comes to general performance and battery life. 

Because where the most modern Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered devices can crush even the most demanding games, and do so without troubling the battery too much, the CMF Phone 1 can’t do those with its MediaTek Dimensity 7300 processor and 8GB RAM. 

Playing a game on the Nothing CMF Phone 1
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It’s got plenty of storage: with either 128GB or 256GB, as well as the ability to expand with a MicroSD card up to 2TB if you want. 

It’s all about tempering expectations with these accessible devices though. It will still run just about any game you’d like to play, just not in their extreme or ultra graphics settings. For casual games, it’s more than good enough. 

I was able to churn through a solid 30 minutes of Mario Karts Tour in one sitting, and the phone didn’t get warm, didn’t get stuttery or slow, and – for the most part – the image didn’t really lose any quality. Throw it into Call of Duty or Genshin at their highest setting on the other hand, and yes, it will get slow and laggy. 

Battery life

  • Up to two days of battery life
  • WhatsApp can drain battery life quickly
  • Relatively slow wired charging

Nothing says this phone can last about two days on a full charge via its 5000mAh cell. And with light use, I think that’s possible. I’m usually quite a light user, and I did just about manage to get to the evening of a second day before needing to reach for the charging cable. 

Using the Nothing CMF Phone 1
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Standby time is excellent, so if you’re often busy with work for long stints, leaving the phone lying inactive on your desk, a full morning of doing nothing will only drain a couple of percent from the capacity. 

Start using it for WhatsApp or social media, however, that’s when you’ll notice the drain. WhatsApp in particular drains it quickly, so if you’re a busy chatter with lots of friends groups, and spend hours in the popular messenger app, you might struggle to get near Nothing’s “two-day” promise. 

Still, that 30-minute Mario Kart session I mentioned earlier only dropped 6% battery and an hour of Netflix drops 8-9%. That’s not bad at all. 

As for charging it up again after it empties, it’s not the fastest there is. 

Nothing CMF Phone 1 USB-C port
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

After thirty minutes plugged into a fast 33W PD charger, the phone only refilled about 35% of the battery. It’s fine, but means it’s not one of those phones you can plug in for 10-15 minutes and get enough charge to get through an afternoon. A full refill from 1% is going to take way over an hour. In fact, an hour plugged in delivered just 70%. After ninety minutes, 95%. 

It’s definitely one of those situations where I felt like I needed to charge it overnight, every night, because I wasn’t sure it’d get through the next day and I knew I couldn’t rely on speedy charging if it did get low.

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Should you buy it?

You want a unique budget phone experience

With a removable case, unique accessory attachments and Nothing’s stylised Nothing UI, you won’t find much like the CMF Phone 1 in the budget smartphone space.

You want the best bang for your buck

The CMF Phone 1 is undoubtedly interesting, but from a sheer spec perspective, you can get a lot more for your money from the likes of the Motorola Edge 40 Neo.

Final Thoughts

Speaking broad strokes, with the CMF Phone 1, I came away from my time testing it impressed. 

Most of the things I had issues with, or that I found imperfect, were things I’d expect to see – and would generally be okay with – in a phone that cost anywhere between £300-£400 in the UK. But this phone costs much less. It’s pretty hard to imagine how Nothing is even making money on this phone. 

With its large, vibrant display, reliable everyday performance, attention to detail and cohesion in the software aesthetic, and camera quality, it’s a phone I’d happily use as my daily phone without too many issues. 

That’s a huge testament to what Nothing has achieved with this very affordable device. And to make it a phone that’s actually cool, and looks great? It’s a winning formula.

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How we test

We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Used as a main phone for over a week

Thorough camera testing in a variety of conditions

Tested and benchmarked using respected industry tests and real-world data


Is the Nothing CMF Phone 1 water-resistant?

It is, but with only an IP52 rating, it’ll only survive the lightest splashes of water.

How long will the Nothing CMF Phone 1 be supported for?

The CMF Phone 1 will get two OS upgrades and three years of security patches.

Trusted Reviews test data

Geekbench 6 single core
Geekbench 6 multi core
Max brightness
1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)
30 minute gaming (light)
Time from 0-100% charge
Time from 0-50% charge
30-min recharge (included charger)
15-min recharge (included charger)
3D Mark – Wild Life
GFXBench – Aztec Ruins
GFXBench – Car Chase

Full specs

Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Refresh Rate
Stated Power

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