NothingOS made me realize how overrated the Pixel UI is

NothingOS made me realize how overrated the Pixel UI is

The tech enthusiast in me couldn’t have been happier when Carl Pei announced in early 2021 that nothing would enter the smartphone segment. In July 2021, Nothing launched the Nothing Phone (1) with its unique transparent design philosophy and GLYPH interface. As you can guess, I pre-ordered the Nothing Phone (1) for myself, but had to return it due to a problem with my device. However, this allowed me to test the Nothing Phone (1) for almost a week.


I ended up going for the Google Pixel 6a, but soon after I bought it, I began to regret the purchase. This made me think about buying the Nothing Phone (1) again, which I finally did after a few months. You might be wondering why I regret buying the Pixel 6a, even though I’m openly in favor of compact phones.

Allow me to explain in this post.

Nothing Phone (1) offers premium software experience

Nothing decided to use the close Android interface with some clever additions and called it Nothing OS. Instead of creating internal applications and developing its own Android interface, Nothing focused on fixing the vulnerabilities of stock Android. Let me give you some examples:

nothing made me realize how overrated pixel ui is - google pixel 6a vs nothing phone 1 landscape notification panel ui
Google Pixel 6a at the top and Nothing Phone (1) at the bottom

The notification panel on Android 13 is still unusable in landscape mode. You can barely see four quick settings and two notifications on the screen, wasting a lot of valuable screen real estate. Nothing has attempted to fix this in Nothing OS.

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The notification panel on the Nothing Phone (1) is split in half in landscape mode, with the left half taken up by quick settings and the right half by notifications. This is certainly a better implementation as it uses the space more efficiently.

notification panel for nothing in landscape mode
Google Pixel 6a on the left and Nothing Phone (1) on the right

Google introduced the Material You UI and Themed icons a few years ago. However, the themed icons on Pixel devices only apply to the home screen. Nothing has extended support for themed icons to the app drawer as well. At the moment, the app drawer still looks far from perfect, as many app developers have yet to implement support for Material You UI and Themed Icons. But as more and more developers integrate these features, the app drawer in Nothing OS will look more consistent.

Apart from these additional improvements, the fluidity that the Nothing Phone (1) offers is impressive. I would even go so far as to say that it actually offers The speed you need (a slogan that OnePlus used for one of its flagships in 2018). If you want a smooth and fast Android experience that isn’t heavily alienated, Nothing OS won’t disappoint.

The Google Pixel UI is plagued with bugs and Google has yet to crack the formula to make Pixel devices appeal to the masses

​Google Pixel series smartphones are known for offering the purest Android experience, and Google has recently started keeping some features exclusive to Pixel series devices. However, there is no doubt that Pixel smartphones do not offer the best user experience.

One of the most annoying bugs of the Pixel 6a that I often come across is that it doesn’t show the recent apps when you swipe up from the bottom. To see recent apps, I had to lock and unlock my smartphone. Apart from that, occasional throttling, performance and RAM management issues are part of the daily routine for Pixel 6a users. And oh, how can I forget the issue with the fingerprint scanner on my phone?

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Google still struggles to deliver an improved product, even after several iterations of the Pixel series. With the Pixel 6 and 7 series, it seemed like the brand had mastered the smartphone design game, but it still needs to crack the formula so that the devices appeal to the masses and not just #TeamPixel enthusiasts.

Nothing made the right hardware choices

nothing phone 1 glyph interface

Nothing chose Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ processor for its very first smartphone. Remember Carl Pei’s meme “Change my mind”? This led to disappointment among some tech enthusiasts as people were expecting a flagship processor for the Nothing Phone (1). However, the mid-range processor helped the company keep costs down, thus making the smartphone appeal to a wider audience.

Another area where nothing really shines compared to the competition is build quality. Smartphone OEMs have ignored build quality in the Rs 25,000-40,000 segment, which was mostly filled with cheap flagship killers. Still, nothing has taken an unconventional approach and delivered a truly premium mid-range smartphone rather than a cheap flagship killer.

Wireless charging and wireless power sharing are just the cherry on top. You won’t appreciate the convenience of wireless charging of TWS with your phone until you take TWS out of its case and find that the battery is dead. These are the features we have not seen in this segment lately. Nothing seems to have made the right decisions and delivered a promising product on the first try, and most importantly, it seems to be working for the company.

Have you tried Nothing Phone (1) yet? How was your experience with NothingOS? Let us know in the comments section below.

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