Which phone should you prefer in the mid-range?

The Nothing Phone 1 is the first smartphone from Carl Pei’s new venture. It was hyped to the moon and back leading up to its actual launch. But now that the dust has settled, it’s time to compare it against some of the more established mid-range phones. Featuring a unique see-through design and attention-grabbing LED light strips, the Nothing Phone 1 is a breath of fresh air in the world of boring slab phones. But how does it fare against one of the best mid-range smartphones: Galaxy A53 5G?

Nothing Phone 1 vs Samsung Galaxy A53: Specifications

Specification Nothing Phone 1 Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Build
  • Glass back
  • Metallic frame
  • Plastic body
  • Gorilla Glass 5 front panel
  • IP67 water/dust resistance
Dimensions & Weight
  • 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3mm
  • 193.5g
  • 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1mm
  • 189 g
Display
  • 6.55-inch OLED
  • Gorilla Glass (did not specify which version)
  • 2400 x 1080
  • 120Hz
  • 500 nits max brightness
  • HDR10+
  • 6.5-inch Super AMOLED
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 1080 x 2400 pixels
  • 800nits max brightness
  • HDR10+
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB internal storage
  • microSD card slot (up to 1TB)
Battery & Charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • 33W wired fast charging support
  • 15W wireless fast charging support
  • Charger not included
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 25W Super Fast Charging
  • No wireless charging
  • Charger not included
Security In-display fingerprint scanner Optical in-display fingerprint sensor
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 50MP IMX766, f/1.9, 1/1.56-inch
  • Ultra-wide: 50MP JN1, f/2.2, 114-degree field-of-view
  • 64MP ƒ/1.8 main camera (with OIS)
  • 12MP ƒ/2.2 Ultra-wide
  • 5MP ƒ/2.4 Depth sensor
  • 5MP ƒ/2.4 Macro
Front Camera(s) 16MP, f/2.4
Port(s)
Audio
Connectivity
  • 5G
  • LTE
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • 5G
  • LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4G+5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC (market dependent)
Software
  • NothingOS based on Android 12
    • 3 years of Android OS updates
    • 4 years of security updates
  • One UI 4.1 (Android 12)
    • 4 years of Android OS updates
    • 5 years of security updates
Other Features Glyph lighting interface Dual SIM


Design & Display

The Nothing Phone 1’s biggest selling point is its unique design. Even if you don’t care too much about the transparent back and light strips, you have to admit that the company has put a lot of effort into pulling this design off. The general shape and in-hand feel of the Nothing Phone 1 is a lot like the Apple iPhone 12/13. The device has flat aluminum sides and rounded corners. It’s not the most comfortable phone to hold due to the flat edges but feels solid and premium in hand. On the front, there’s a hole-punch display surrounded by symmetrical bezels on all four sides. The fun part is on the back. The semi-transparent back panel offers a look into some of the internals of the phone, including the wireless charging coil and screws. The back also houses four light strips — two surrounding the camera module and two around the charging coil. These lights are used for the Glyph interface, which lets you set up specific light patterns for calls, notifications, and more. You can adjust the light brightness and also use it as a flash when taking photos in low light conditions. If you’re looking for a phone with a cool design but don’t want to spend $999 on the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the Nothing Phone 1 is your best bet.

The Galaxy A53 isn’t as interesting as the Nothing Phone 1 in the looks department. It shares the same design as its predecessor, featuring a plastic back with a soft-touch coating and flat sides. The phone features a centered hole-punch display and a rectangular camera module on the back and ditches the curvier aesthetics of its predecessor for a boxier and flatter look. But despite the plastic back and flat sides, the Galaxy A53 is comfortable to hold and feels premium in hand.

In terms of durability, the Galaxy A53 is better as it offers an IP68 rating compared to the IP53 rating of the Nothing Phone 1. The Galaxy A53 comes in Black, White, Blue, Peach, and Bora Purple colorways. Meanwhile, the Nothing Phone 1 only comes in White and Black colors.

Both phones are neck-to-neck in the display department, featuring large, vibrant OLED panels. The Galaxy A53 packs a 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and 800 nits brightness. The Nothing Phone 1 has a 6.55-inch FHD+ OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and 500 nits max brightness.


Cameras

Nothing Phone 1 in the hand.

When it comes to cameras, the Nothing Phone 1 takes a “less is more” approach. It has a dual camera system comprising a 50MP Sony IMX766 sensor with OIS and a 50MP Samsung JN1 ultra-wide lens. The Galaxy A53 is the complete opposite, packing a quad camera system that includes a 64MP primary shooter with OIS, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 5MP macro lens, and a 5MP depth lens.

The Nothing Phone 1 and Galaxy A53 are prime examples of how far mid-range phones have come in terms of camera performance. Main shooters on both phones produce excellent images with great dynamic range and plenty of details. The low-light performance is also excellent, though understandably not as good as top flagships. A thing to keep in mind is that the Galaxy A53 tends to oversaturate colors a bit for that extra pop, while the Nothing Phone 1 favors more neutral tones.

Nothing Phone 1: Camera samples

Galaxy A53: Camera samples

Both phones can shoot 4K videos at 30fps and offer good stabilization. However, as we observed in our review, the Nothing Phone 1 is prone to exhibit inaccurate colors, such as extremely warm skin tones.


Performance

The Nothing Phone 1 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G Plus chipset, which features one Cortex-A78 core clocked at 2.5GHz, three Cortex-A78 cores running at 2.4GHz, and four efficiency Cortex-A55 cores at 1.9GHz. Meanwhile, the Galaxy A53 uses the in-house Exynos 1280 chipset, with two Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.4GHz and six Cortex-A53 cores at 2.0GHz.

Not only does the Nothing Phone 1 pack have more power, but it also performs better than the Galaxy A53 in the real world. Nothing OS’ fluid system animations coupled with a smooth 120Hz display and powerful processor ensure the phone performs admirably in everyday tasks. The Nothing Phone 1 also uses UFS 3.1 storage chip, which is significantly faster than the UFS 2.2 storage in the Galaxy A53. Faster storage speeds directly translate to shorter loading times for apps and games, faster data transfer, and more snappy performance.

As for configurations, the Galaxy A53 comes with 4GB/6GB/8GB RAM and 128GB/256GB internal storage and supports microSD card expansion. The Nothing Phone 1, on the other hand, can be configured with 8GB/12GB RAM and 128GB/256GB storage.


Battery life, charging speed, and software

The Galaxy A53 has the Nothing Phone 1 in the battery department. It packs a larger 5,000mAh battery compared to the 4,500mAh cell on the Nothing Phone 1. The Galaxy A53 is your best bet if you want a phone that can easily last you more than a day. The Nothing Phone 1’s battery life is good but not great. On a typical workday, it will last you a full day, but on days when you are using it heavily, you will find yourself reaching for the charger. However, the Nothing Phone 1 has an edge when it comes to charging speed. It offers 33W fast wired charging speed while the Galaxy A53 tops out at 25W. In addition, the Nothing Phone 1 also offers wireless charging support, while the Galaxy A53 doesn’t.

On the software front, both phones ship with Android 12 out of the box. The Nothing Phone 1 runs Nothing OS, which is a near-stock version of Android with a few extras on top. Meanwhile, the Galaxy A53 runs a highly customized interface called One UI 4. As for software support, both phones have one of the best software policies for Android smartphones. The Galaxy A53 is promised to get four years of OS updates and five years of security updates from Samsung. Nothing isn’t too far behind either. It has vowed to offer three years of OS updates and four years of security updates.


Nothing Phone 1 vs Galaxy A53: Which one should you buy?

Picking a clear winner in the Nothing Phone 1 vs Galaxy A53 battle isn’t easy. The Nothing Phone 1 has better performance, wireless charging support, and a more interesting design, but it loses out to the Galaxy A53 in the battery life and software policy departments. Not to mention, it also costs more than the Galaxy A53 in regions like the UK where both the devices are sold.

    Nothing Phone 1

    The Nothing Phone 1 blends unique transparent design with powerful hardware.

The Nothing Phone 1 is hands down the coolest mid-range phone on the market right now, packing a unique semi-transparent design, LED light strips, and a beautiful OLED display. While its eye-catching design may not be to everyone’s taste, it offers a lot of power, capable cameras, and an interesting software experience with long software support. It’s perfect for people who want a phone that attracts eyeballs but can’t afford the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

However, those living in the US can’t get hold of the Nothing Phone 1 as it has not yet been officially launched. So for people in the US market, the answer is quite easy — get the Galaxy A53 5G.

    Samsung Galaxy A53

    The Galaxy A53 is one of the best mid-range phones, delivering high-quality smartphone experience at a great price.

The Galaxy A53 needs no introduction. It’s one of the best mid-range smartphones on the market right now. It was launched at $449 but has come down to just $349, making it even more attractive. It offers a vibrant AMOLED display, a versatile camera system, a highly customized software experience, and a software support policy that’s better than what Google offers for its Pixel lineup.

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