CMF Phone 1: The Bargain-Priced Smartphone That’s Way More Fun Than You’d Expect

The CMF Phone 1, a new smartphone from CMF by Nothing, is a surprising bargain. While you might not have heard of CMF, you’ve likely heard of Nothing, the company co-founded by Carl Pei of OnePlus fame. CMF by Nothing is Nothing’s sub-brand, specializing in budget-friendly mobile products. If you haven’t given CMF much attention, the CMF Phone 1 is a reason to change that. It’s the sub-brand’s first smartphone and a real bargain of the year.

Don’t let the affordable price fool you – the CMF Phone 1 packs some impressive specs. It features a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, Ultra HDR, and 2,000 nits peak brightness. Under the hood, you’ll find a MediaTek Dimensity 7300 processor built on a 4nm process, with eight cores and 5G connectivity. You have a choice of 6GB or 8GB of RAM, plus 128GB or 256GB of storage space, and you can even add a microSD card. For photography, the CMF Phone 1 boasts a 50-megapixel camera with electronic image stabilization (EIS), a portrait sensor, and a 16MP selfie camera. Other notable features include an in-display fingerprint sensor, an IP52 water and dust resistance rating, Android 14 with Nothing OS 2.6, and 33W charging for the 5,000mAh battery. Nothing promises two years of software updates and three years of security updates. All this for a starting price of 199 British pounds, or around $267! For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy A35 retails for 339 pounds, or $399.

But the CMF Phone 1 offers more than just impressive specs – it’s the customization that truly shines. The phone’s rear panel is a single piece of plastic, featuring exposed screw heads and a unique circular knob in the bottom corner. And these design elements are functional. CMF sells complete rear panel kits, allowing you to instantly transform your phone’s look with a new color. The kits include a tiny screwdriver to remove the screws, a new SIM tray, and new screws in a matching color. It takes just minutes to swap out the rear panel – I switched from the industrial sci-fi look to a brighter mint green version in no time. The knob acts as an anchor point for a lanyard, which can be worn around your neck or used as a kickstand. You can even screw a card-carrying case to the back. CMF isn’t price-gouging on accessories either – a new rear cover with all the extras costs about $37, while the lanyard, kickstand, and card case are all around $25. Even with two cases, the lanyard, and the kickstand, you’ll still spend less than the basic retail price of the Galaxy A35. Even if you don’t buy any extra cases, the CMF Phone 1 looks great in the basic black finish. However, be aware that it’s not very scratch-resistant.

So, how does it perform? I’ve been using the CMF Phone 1 as my primary phone for the past week, coming from the Motorola Edge 50 Pro. While the camera doesn’t offer optical zoom or wide-angle shots, the main camera takes perfectly acceptable photos. Calls sound excellent, and although the Wi-Fi and cellular signal might not be as strong as some other phones, it hasn’t let me down. My daily screen time has been around two hours, and the battery easily lasts for two full days. A 30-minute gaming session barely uses 5% of the battery, and a 30-minute YouTube video consumes about the same, making it very efficient. I haven’t noticed the phone getting overly hot, and while the user experience isn’t the smoothest, it’s certainly not bad. I enjoy Nothing OS and its minimalist look, which can be customized to your liking, adding to the CMF Phone 1’s impressive customization options. One major drawback, however, is the lack of an always-on display. You can set the time and notifications to show for a few minutes, but then the screen goes black until tapped. This is an annoying oversight. Aside from this, the average single speaker and aggressive auto-brightness are the only other real downsides.

The CMF Phone 1 is a breath of fresh air in the smartphone world. It combines great design, decent performance, and a wide range of customization options, all at an incredibly reasonable price. But most importantly, it’s simply a lot of fun! I can’t remember the last time a phone made me smile so much for being cheap, decent, and a bit crazy. It’s a rare combination that makes the CMF Phone 1 a standout option for bargain hunters, especially when compared to the Nothing Phone 2 and Nothing Phone 2a, both of which are great but more expensive.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top