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CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

With its new low-cost subsidiary, the manufacturer Nothing intends to offer new devices for the most restricted budgets. We were able to test their first CMF Phone 1, but the latter did not completely convince us.

Nothing may be a much more recent manufacturer than Samsung, Apple or Xiaomi, but that does not prevent the company from diversifying. The latter notably created the subsidiary "CMF by Nothing" in order to offer affordable tech products. With its first smartphone, the CMF Phone 1, the manufacturer intends to conquer a new market. : that of small budgets.

Like Nothing's products, the CMF Phone 1 is based above all on a unique and original design. We were able to try the first telephone from the "low-cost" subsidiary. from Nothing for several days to find out if it is an interesting phone for its low price of 239 euros. Discover our exclusive CMF Phone 1 test! for the Internet user.

Editor's note: This review was completed by fully realized &agrav; from a loaned copy; by the brand.

A design based on an original idea

Nothing is a company known for offering innovative designs with its tech products that clearly stand out from the rest. other manufacturers. It is therefore very easy to distinguish a Nothing smartphone from another. a Samsung or Xiaomi device for example.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

The CMF Phone 1 with a black shell. © Julian Madiot/Linternaute

For the first telephone of their "low-cost" subsidiary, the builders of Nothing started with a fairly original idea: and if you could, yourself, change the color of your phone ? This is how the game was born. the design of the CMF Phone 1. Its all-plastic back houses several small screws which hold the phone case in place as well as a toothed wheel on the the lower right side of the device. This little wheel sticks out as much as the photo sensor in order to keep the phone usable on a flat surface without it permanently leaning.

By removing the screws and the toothed wheel, it is then possible to completely remove the back of the CMF Phone 1. If this already makes it possible to remove the back of the CMF Phone 1. to do a little housekeeping inside the phone to remove some dust, this is an idea especially useful for accessing & ;agrave; certain components or change the back of the device with another shell! Enough to create the smartphone in the colors of your choice. For this test, we had blue, turquoise, black and orange shells. So we mixed some shells. several shells with the screws and wheels of other shells for a unique result. A very original idea therefore (but only that) would we have liked a transparent shell!).

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

The CMF Phone 1 once removed from its rear shell. © Julian Madiot/Linternaute

Unfortunately, in reality, removing and adding a shell is a real hassle. We have had to let's get started two to remove the base shell of the CMF Phone 1, and even so, it was not without difficulty. If the basic idea of ​​creating an interchangeable smartphone case is good, the execution unfortunately remains too complicated and makes me… ;fear a certain fragility; of the case as it is sometimes necessary to force it to succeed in the operation. Note also that a telephone that is so easy to use is easy to use. opening it only guarantees IP52 protection against dust and a few drops of rain, but little more.

The edges of the CMF Phone 1 house a power button' right and the volume buttons on the left. The latter are well placed and respond well under pressure so we won't have much to do with them. say again.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

Even the CMF Phone 1 accessories are original. © Julian Madiot/Linternaute

The front of the CMF Phone 1 houses a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel on which rests the selfie camera placed in the center. The borders are unfortunately asymmetrical (a bit thicker on the lower edge) but remain sufficiently discreet compared to the other. other competitors from Samsung or Xiaomi.

Overall, the handling of the CMF Phone 1 remains excellent. The device is neither too heavy nor too light and is lightweight. is compact enough to fit in a pocket, but also large enough to enjoy your content.

A very good screen, but not very responsive

The screen of the CMF Phone 1 is therefore a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel capable of displaying more than 2.5 million pixels depending on the brand. This allows content to be displayed with vibrant detail and color. Whether it's a movie on Netflix, a video on YouTube, a video game with many small effects or even a simple photo with rich details, The screen of the CMF Phone 1 is very good. In the phone settings, it is possible to select two color modes:

  • Active, which will overexpose colors.
  • Normal, which will display more realistic colors.

The choice is yours, but we will rather tend to do so. prefer the basic mode as the "active" forces a lot on the contrasts, which can make certain photos look unnatural.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

The CMF Phone 1's screen is good, but a little slow to use. react. © Julian Madiot/Linternaute

CMF claims that its Phone 1 has excellent brightness. maximum of 2000 nits. A fairly impressive figure, but which provides good readability. when the phone is in use. in direct sunlight for example. Unfortunately, the automatic brightness management does not work. is so slow that we quickly turned it off. for the benefit of manual adjustment.

Side fluidity, the CMF Phone 1 screen has a refresh rate that can go up to 100%. 120 Hz automatically. Although it's a shame not to be able to lock in this rate at all. 120 Hz, the presence of such fluidity should be welcomed. for a telephone é such a low budget. This is particularly felt in dynamic video games like Call of Duty Mobile where actions are fast and fluid. So you will have understood: the CMF Phone 1 screen is also colorful. and detailed that it is not fluid.

Performances that surprise!

Entry-level phones usually make some concessions to save on their costs ;ucirc;ts of production. For many of them, this cutoff is at the processor level, which prevents you from finding many phones designed for video games. o.

The CMF Phone 1 is equipped  a MediaTek Dimensity 7300 processor which is still very little used; in the tech world. We were therefore quite impatient to test the latter within the CMF Phone 1!

And we wereé rather impressed. Quite resource-intensive games like Genshin Impact or the recent Wuthering Waves are Launch by default with graphics set to “medium”. Both titles then run very smoothly with 30 FPS. We wanted to challenge the CMF Phone 1 by pushing the graphics as high as possible with the 60 FPS option enabled. Unfortunately, and As we imagined, it is almost impossible to maintain the fluidity of the game. &agrav; 60 FPS. Whether on Genshin Impact or Wuthering Waves , the CMF Phone 1 will oscillate between 30 and 45 FPS on average.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

Resource-intensive games like "Wuthering Waves" run correctly on the CMF Phone 1. © Julian Madiot/Linternaute

For daily operations such as browsing the web or social networks, the CMF Phone 1 proves very fluid in its transitions and its management of multiple applications.'We noted' no slowdown or particular problem with the phone during our tests. The CMF Phone 1 therefore performs like a phone ;the phone is fluid and efficient but not especially for gaming.

NothingOS, the ultimate geek interface

The CMF Phone 1 runs under a recent version of Android 14 with the in-house Nothing OS 2.6.0 overlay. This pixel interface is full of small graphic elements and good ideas of all kinds.

First, each app can be resized to take up one or four spaces on the home screen. It is also possible to create personalized folders in order to group together several applications and give them a small Emoji. Our copy of the CMF Phone 1 has this in particular. #39;all of our social networks in a single folder. of a smiling face Emoji while our messaging applications are located in a folder with the logo of small chat bubbles. ;s "geek" of NothingOS does not suit you, it is always possible to switch back to much more classic application displays.

Multiple widget options are also available, some of which were specially designed by Nothing. In particular, it is possible to monitor the battery of these Nothing headphones directly from the ;#39;'home screen or even consult the objective of our podè with the help of a little man who walks in a straight line. Note that several widgets can also be directly added to your application. lock screen of CMF Phone 1 as is the case on iPhone since iOS 16.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

NothingOS is full of great ideas and a very geeky aesthetic. © Julian Madiot/Linternaute

If using the CMF Phone 1 is a little daily pleasure, this also comes from its software part. NothingOS is full of good little ideas that we hope to see one day more generally on Android.

However, two small shadows remain on the board: the fingerprint sensor of the CMF Phone 1 has admitted to being damaged. particularly restrictive during our tests. If the latter is rather well placed, we had a lot of difficulty unlocking our device from ; several moments.

Finally, Nothing announced that its CMF Phone 1 will only have two years of updates; Android update and 3 years of updates safety day. It's very little. At time whereù the majority of the tech industry is making more and more efforts to guarantee smartphones usable for more than 5 years, the CMF Phone 1 would therefore be obsolete by only 2027.

Very correct photos in the right conditions

The CMF Phone 1 is equipped  a single 50 MP Sony photo sensor with a focal aperture of f/1.8. However, 50Mpx shots must be activated manually within the “camera” application. since the latter shoots by default in 12 Mpx.

The results obtained with the 50Mpx mode are quite good when the ambient light is there. The details are not particularly numerous or provided, but the shots remain generally of good quality. and fully exploitable to be shared or viewed. We may notice a slight lack of color in certain images as well as a lack of details on certain moving subjects.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

Unfortunately, it is impossible to zoom with the 50 Mpx mode.  You must therefore go back to 12 Mpx to benefit from a x2 zoom which,   agrave; failing to work miracles, still accomplishes the job by delivering correct shots and without too much loss of dé tails. The digital zoom up to x10 remains in place. him… Existing &agrav; default of being good.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

At night, the CMF Phone 1's single photo sensor has more difficulties. The phone will greatly exaggerate the colors and brightness to the point of making the scene quite unrealistic. In our examples, it almost looks like the sun is setting with a big blue sky when it was pitch black. However, the management of light points remains rather good and we do not observe any anomalies in the image as can sometimes be the case with “low cost” phones. The indoor photos are not much better and we really have the impression of being in broad daylight while losing a lot of small details.

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

CMF Phone 1 review: the small DIY phone

Excellent battery life, but charging takes its time

We were able to use the CMF Phone 1 for a little over a week as our primary smartphone in order to test its autonomy. Let's not keep the surprise any longer: this last one is excellent. The CMF Phone 1 is equipped  of a battery with a capacity of of 5000 mAh which can easily last a full day or even more depending on your use.

While handling the CMF Phone 1 for an entire day, we used  different applications like Phone, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, X (formally Twitter), Instagram, Spotify and Wuthering Waves. Unplugged &agrav; 9 a.m., the CMF Phone 1 still displayed more than 55% battery in the evening around 6:30 p.m. A score that even allowed us to use it the next day until the next day. late evening.

On the charging side, the CMF Phone 1 is compatible with fast charging up to 33W and has a 5W reverse charge (ideal for charging headphones for example). The phone does not have wireless charging. Here are our load readings with a compatible block (not supplied):

  • 10h50: 1%
  • 11h: 10%
  • 11h10: 22%
  • 11h20: 31%
  • 11h30: 44%
  • 11:40: 55%
  • 11:50: 66%

We observe an increase of about 10% of battery every 10 minutes. Not very impressive scores then. It takes a little over an hour and a half to fully charge the CMF Phone 1.

Clear communications including in 5G

We were able to use the CMF Phone 1 with different connected devices. Whether wireless headphones (AirPods Pro, Nothing Ear, Nothing Stick) or connected watches (CMF Watch Pro 2, Google Pixel Watch 2), we did not notice any problems. no real connection problem that is at risk. bring it over the phone. Even adding bulbs connected via Google Home didn't help. no particular problem or latency.

Thanks to this à Adding the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 processor, the CMF Phone 1 is compatible with 5G communication bands. We were able to make several calls which turned out to be crystal clear, both for us and for our interlocutors. #39;calls in 4G or 5G, we have not observed no concerns regarding communications.

Our conclusion to the CMF Phone 1 test

It's still amazing that Nothing manages to do so. propose original concepts, even when the brand is aimed at rather tight budgets! The CMF Phone 1 is based on a very good idea with its system of interchangeable shells and  mix them together. The other side of the coin is a low protection index. and which forces the CMF Phone 1 à stay away possible dust and liquids. It's also a shame that changing the hull is very complicated. &agrav; take charge.

Side photos, the CMF Phone 1 generally performs well during the day and/or when the light conditions are poor. ambient are brought together. At night, the results are more mixed with lights and colors that are far too exaggerated. A fairly systematic problem for this price segment.

Finally, if we have beené very pleasantly surprised by the autonomy of the CMF Phone 1, the latter is marred by the charging speed of the TV  phone that doesn't turn out to be really fast.

Voilà what we will therefore remember from the CMF Phone 1: very good ideas unfortunately marred by small defects which taint our enthusiasm. The "low cost" of Nothing, however, remains excellent value for money given its performance and daily handling.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116