Android

Nothing Phone (1) vs. iPhone SE 3: What’s the Difference?

Nothing founder Carl Pei went head-to-head with Apple when he launched the first Nothing Phone, claiming it and other tech giants aren’t innovating anymore and that the Phone (1) is unique and unlike anything we’ve seen before. So, let’s put that claim to the test.

In this comparison, we’re putting the Nothing Phone (1) up against the iPhone SE 3. They’re priced almost the same; the former starts at £399 (roughly $475) and the latter starts at $429. We’ll be comparing both the devices based on their build, camera, memory, battery, performance, and display.

Dimensions and Build Quality

  • Nothing Phone (1): 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm; 193.5 grams; IP53 dust and water-resistant
  • iPhone SE 3: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm; 144 grams; IP67 dust and water-resistant

The iPhone SE 3 is a much smaller, thinner, and lighter device than the Nothing Phone (1). The former has the same design as the iPhone 8 which means it has curved edges, an aluminum frame, huge bezels, and weaker glass protection. But at least you get the superior IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.

In comparison, the Nothing Phone (1) looks closer to what you’d expect from a 2022 mid-ranger. Its flat edges resemble the current iPhones, and the stronger Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back is a welcome addition.

The fan-favorite Glyph interface LEDs on the back are cool-looking, but not necessary from a purely functional point of view. Neither of the two devices has an audio jack.

Processor

  • Nothing Phone (1): Snapdragon 778G+ 5G; 6nm fabrication; Adreno 642L GPU
  • iPhone SE 3: Apple A15 Bionic; 5nm fabrication; Apple 4-core GPU

When it comes to performance, the 5nm A15 Bionic chip on the iPhone SE 3 easily beats the 6nm Snapdragon 778+ chip on the Nothing Phone (1). For reference, the former scores more than 700K on AnTuTu (v9) while the latter scores around 530K on the same benchmark.

The A15 Bionic is the same chip found on the iPhone 13 series, but do note that different phones using the same chip can have different performance, so your iPhone SE 3 will not be quite as powerful as an iPhone 13 Pro Max. Still, it can easily outperform the Nothing Phone (1) and run any game you can find on the App Store.

The Nothing Phone (1) will not give you the same power, although it’s not a weak chip by any means. The Snapdragon 778G+ is known among Android enthusiasts for its stable performance, power efficiency, and almost no throttling.

Camera

  • Nothing Phone (1): 50MP f/1.9 primary with OIS, PDAF, and 4K video at 30fps; 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (114-degree FoV); Front: 16MP f/2.5 with 1080p video at 30fps.
  • iPhone SE 3: 12MP f/1.8 primary with OIS, PDAF, and 4K video at 60fps; Front: 7MP f/2.2 with 1080p video at 120fps

You might believe at first sight that the iPhone SE 3 has a weaker camera system. And while it’s true that it has lower resolution cameras on the front and back, keep in mind that its image processing is handled by the latest A15 Bionic chip.For you, this means even though your photos might not be as clear, the image processing will be close to that of the iPhone 13 series. So if you like shots from the iPhone 13, you’ll probably like shots from the iPhone SE 3 too.

That said, not having an ultrawide lens in 2022 is pretty disappointing—which the Nothing Phone (1) is happy to offer you. Videos are still going to be a bit more stable on the iPhone, though. Both phones have Optical Image Stabilization for crisp shots.

Display

  • Nothing Phone (1): 6.55 inches; OLED; 120Hz refresh rate; HDR10+ support; 1080 x 2400 resolution; 20:9 ratio aspect ratio; 402 PPI; 500 nits brightness (1200 nits peak); Gorilla Glass 5; 85.8% screen-to-body ratio
  • iPhone SE 3: 4.7 inches; Retina IPS LCD; 60Hz refresh rate; 750 x 1334 resolution; 16:9 aspect ratio; 326 PPI; 625 nits brightness; 65.4% screen-to-body ratio

The Nothing Phone (1) is the obvious winner if we’re comparing displays. It boasts a 6.55-inch adaptive 120Hz FHD OLED display with HDR10+ colors and a peak brightness of 1200 nits. It also has uniform bezels which we’ve never seen before on even the best mid-range Android phones.As mentioned earlier, the iPhone SE 3 has huge bezels and settles for its 4.7-inch 60Hz HD LCD screen with about 600 nits of brightness. Content consumption is going to be a lot more enjoyable on the Nothing Phone (1) and it’s also a better fit for outdoor use.

RAM and Storage

  • Nothing Phone (1): 8/12GB RAM; 128GB/256GB storage
  • iPhone SE 3: 4GB RAM; 64GB/128GB/256GB storage

You probably already know that iPhones are more efficient at RAM management and therefore don’t require it as much as Android phones do. While that’s true, the 4GB RAM you get on the iPhone SE 3 will still fall short of the 8GB RAM you get on the Nothing Phone (1).

Software excellence can only cover up hardware deficiency for so long. Multitasking will be easier on the Nothing Phone (1); the phone also has 128GB of storage on the base model, but the iPhone SE 3 starts with 64GB and costs $479 for the 128GB variant.

If you’re a gamer, you can take the Nothing Phone (1) up to 12GB RAM, but on the iPhone SE 3, you’re stuck with 4GB. This is weird because the A15 Bionic allows high-end gaming, but the lacking RAM makes it a bit difficult to do so. Meaning, it’s unbalanced.

Battery

  • Nothing Phone (1): 4500mAh battery; 33W fast wired charging, 15W wireless charging; 5W reverse wireless charging
  • iPhone SE 3: 2018mAh battery; 20W fast wired charging; 7.5W Qi wireless charging

Similar to the last point, iPhones consume less battery than Android phones, but the tiny 2018mAh battery you get on the iPhone SE 3 will deplete quickly despite its efficiency, especially if you’re gaming. You do thankfully get fast 20W wired and 7.5W wireless charging support.

In comparison, the 4500mAh cell on the Nothing Phone (1) will last noticeably longer, and it comes with faster 33W wired and 15W wireless charging support, plus 5W reverse wireless charging to power your Nothing ear (1) earbuds or smartwatch. You don’t get a charger in the box for either device.

Pick iPhone SE 3 for Power and Nothing Phone (1) for Value

For most people, the iPhone SE 3 isn’t an objectively good purchase given how unbalanced it is. However, if all you want is an affordable iPhone with the best performance and natural-looking photos and videos, and don’t mind a dated design, you can give it a go.

But if you’re after a solid mid-range all-rounder that offers good value, the Nothing Phone (1) is the clear winner. With it, you’re getting the Nothing OS software skin which is pretty similar to stock Android, meaning you don’t have to deal with any annoying bloatware apps that often make the Android experience worse than iOS.

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