CMF Phone 1 Review: Modular Design, Affordable Price, But Some Compromises

The CMF Phone 1 offers a unique modular design and attractive price, but does it compromise on features? Read our in-depth review to find out.

CMF Phone 1 Reviews: Modular Design and Useful Accessories Shine, But Drawbacks Remain

The debut smartphone from CMF, a brand owned by Nothing, has been reviewed by the international press. Its striking design and customization options received positive feedback, but some drawbacks were also identified. Let's summarize the media's opinions:

CMF Phone 1 Reviews: Modular Design and Useful Accessories Shine, But Drawbacks Remain

Design and Display:

CMF, according to its founders, aims to create affordable devices with unique features. Stuff magazine highlighted the Phone 1's fresh design, rare for the mid-range segment. Its easily removable back panel, secured with screws, allows for both cover replacement and personalization. This design also simplifies access to the device's internals. However, the battery is fixed and should only be replaced by authorized service centers.

The phone boasts a basic IP52 water resistance rating, meaning it can withstand splashes but not full submersion. It comes in four colors: black, orange, blue, and green. The material options include textured plastic and eco-leather, depending on the chosen color. Additionally, there's a dedicated corner on the back for attaching proprietary accessories sold separately, such as a lanyard, stand, and debit card holder. The latter consists of a magnetic base and a detachable wallet. The package doesn't include a power adapter. A hybrid SIM slot supports microSD cards, and an optical fingerprint scanner is present.

Unfortunately, an NFC module is absent, and a 91Mobiles journalist noted the lack of stereo sound, although the single speaker remains sufficiently loud. The CMF Phone 1 boasts a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution (2400x1080, 395 ppi) and 120Hz refresh rate. It offers a 240Hz touch sampling rate and a 960Hz PWM dimming frequency. Peak brightness reaches 2000 nits in HDR mode, while manual adjustment allows for a maximum of 720 nits, and auto-brightness peaks at 1259 nits. Overall, it's a vibrant display covering the DCI-P3 color space. Minor drawbacks include a fixed refresh rate and 8-bit color depth.

Performance, Software, and Battery Life:

Powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 chipset, the phone comes with 8GB of RAM and 128/256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The chipset includes four Cortex-A78 cores (2.5 GHz), four Cortex-A55 cores (2.0 GHz), and a Mali-G615 GPU. In terms of performance, it lags only slightly behind the Nothing Phone (2a). The system ensures smooth performance in everyday tasks and is suitable for moderate gaming. Benchmark results are as follows:

  • AnTuTu 10: 646,635 points
  • Geekbench 6: 1028 (single-core), 2920 (multi-core)
  • 3DMark Wild Life Extreme (2160p): 851

A heat pipe and graphite sheets handle cooling effectively, resulting in minimal throttling and maintaining stability around 75% in CPU stress tests. The phone runs on Android 14 with the Nothing OS 2.6 skin. The interface retains Nothing's signature style while resembling AOSP in some aspects. It features AI capabilities like a wallpaper generator, proprietary widgets, and a monochrome theme. Two major software updates and security patches are promised for three years.

The 5000 mAh battery supports 33W wired charging and 5W reverse wireless charging. Thanks to the energy-efficient chip, the phone exhibits impressive battery life. In GSMArena's testing, which includes calls, browsing, gaming, and video playback, it lasted for 16 hours and 13 minutes, a leading figure in the mid-range segment. For comparison, the POCO X6 and Redmi Note 13, with similar battery capacities, lasted around 10 hours in the same test. However, charging isn't particularly fast, taking 1 hour and 21 minutes to reach 100%.


The camera system features a popular Sony IMX882 sensor (50MP, f/1.8) paired with a 2MP depth sensor for portrait shots. The front-facing camera has a resolution of 16MP. This setup appears modest compared to competitors, and optical image stabilization is absent. Software features include the True Lens Engine, which offers Ultra XDR mode (Google's HDR technology), AI Vivid mode (AI-based image enhancement), night mode preset, and more. RAW image capture is supported.

CMF Phone 1 Reviews: Modular Design and Useful Accessories Shine, But Drawbacks Remain

In daylight, the Phone 1 produces decent photos with natural color reproduction and good contrast. However, detail isn't the highest upon closer inspection. The 2x zoom isn't impressive, highlighting the need for a telephoto lens. Nighttime results are pleasing, with minimal noise and balanced exposure. It can also record decent videos at 4K resolution and 30 fps. Overall, the camera delivers respectable quality despite its minimalist functionality.

The CMF Phone 1 starts at $199.

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