CMF's attempt to make a cheap smartphone that's also fun to use

The sub-brand of Carl Pei’s Nothing aims to disrupt the lower tier of the smartphone market with a new customizable device for Gen Z tinkerers.

If there’s one design platitude that’s increasingly become true over the years, it must be this: “Cheap smartphones are all the same.” The smartphone’s commoditization has turned a once lazy comment into an undeniable reality.
CMF, the new sub-brand of Carl Pei’s design-oriented brand Nothing, is now trying its best to change that and prove that there’s still life in the sub-300€ smartphone segment with the newly announced CMF Phone 1. 

The new smartphone is a cheap Android device that tries its best to redefine the user experience of a phone in this category. 
It does that not by means of great specs - they are, in fact, quite on par with the acceptable mediocrity that comes with the price point - but rather by designing a set of interchangeable accessories that make the phone highly customizable in a delightfully tinker-y way. 

Photo courtesy CMF by Nothing

The CMF phone’s rear cover is screwed onto the main frame with screws that users can easily remove with a provided tool to swap the back with another color (orange, black, and light green are currently available). 
A dial-looking button on the bottom right corner can also be unscrewed to reveal a round-shaped receptacle. The screw port can then be used to attach various accessories that are sold separately, namely a kickstand, a card holder, or a lanyard.

The CMF Phone 1 is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 7300 5G. It has an okay-bright 6.7” display, a single 50MP Camera that shoots decent enough pictures, and a 5000mAh battery with 33W fast charging.

Specs are somewhat irrelevant, though, as the goal with the CMF Phone 1 is not to win on its hardware capability but rather win over consumers with smart customization, a colorful, unusual design, and the empowering feeling of being in control of our own smartphone design by tinkering with it. 
It’s a smart and original proposition that comes from a company, Nothing, that understands how leveraging design, even at a lower price point, might be the only key to keep on selling smartphones profitably in a post-smartphone world.

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