Nothing's eye watering CMF Releases...And A Beer?!
Nothing is no stranger to shaking up the tech world with a dash of nostalgia. Emerging as a brand reminiscent of 1990s nostalgia, it has amassed a passionate fan base with its audacious tech design. Signature elements like transparent casings, reminiscent of the Game Boy Clear, not only allow users to see the inner workings of their devices but also showcase dynamic rear lighting.
This unique blend of past and present is the ethos of Nothing, having previously released products such as the Nothing Ear (Stick), Nothing Ear (2), and the innovative Nothing Phone series. Their latest introduction? The CMF line, which masterfully marries old-school charm with cutting-edge technology.
CMF: A new Force in Tech Design?
At the intersection of design and functionality, CMF by Nothing is setting the standard. Stemming from the core values of Nothing, CMF is on a mission: to design devices that are both functional and aesthetically stunning. This dedication is encapsulated in their CMF mantra – every design detail, be it color, material, or finish, is meticulously considered.
And they've undoubtedly made an impression with their latest releases: the CMF Buds Pro, CMF Watch Pro, and the CMF Power 65W GaN Charger. These products are a harmonious blend of vivid colors, innovative features, and timeless aesthetics. Not to forget, the CMF Watch Pro, which boasts an industry-leading 1.96” AMOLED screen.
CMF Buds Pro: A Dive into Excellence
When Nothing unveiled the CMF Buds Pro, it certainly turned heads. Priced at just £49 / $49, these earbuds offer tremendous value in the budget segment. With a bright orange variant, and also available in gray and dark gray, the design is both vibrant and reminiscent of JBL's past orange offerings
The packaging itself is commendable. The slim box is efficient in terms of storage and transport, emphasizing an eco-friendly approach. The case's design reminds some of a compact powder box, adding a touch of nostalgia and quirk. Constructed mainly of plastic with a sturdy metal hinge, the case feels robust. However, a noticeable flex can be felt when trying to force it. The case houses an LED indicator, a Type-C port for charging, and a neatly hidden pairing button.
As for the buds, their fit is excellent. Each bud weighs a mere 4.8 grams, ensuring comfort during extended listening sessions. They come with an IP54 rating, ensuring they are splash and dust resistant. The CMF Buds Pro supports Google Fast pair, Microsoft Swift pair, and operates on the Bluetooth 5.3 protocol.
One drawback is the absence of tap-to-pause functionality. Instead, it relies on in-ear detection to play/pause music. Another highlight is the sound quality. While the buds lean towards a bass-centric sound signature, there's a noticeable boominess in the sub-bass regions. In comparison, the mids and treble are well-tuned and detailed. Despite not being the best sounding buds in the budget range, they might cater to bass enthusiasts.
The battery life impresses, offering 6.5 hours with ANC on and up to 11 hours with it off. The accompanying case provides three additional charges. Microphone quality is decent, and latency issues are virtually non-existent unless one seeks an absolute 0 ms latency, for which wired earphones would be necessary.
In the grand scheme of things, CMF by Nothing is shaping up to be a significant player, especially in the budget tech product category. The CMF Buds Pro is a testament to their commitment to quality and affordability.
Watch Pro: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
The design of the Watch Pro might come off as slightly conventional, especially for those familiar with Nothing's historical affinity for transparent designs. However, it's worth noting that CMF seems to be carving a distinctive identity, setting itself apart from Nothing's established style. While this deliberate deviation met with a hint of disappointment from some, due to the watch's solid, non-transparent appearance, the aesthetic is undeniably fresh.
Characterized by a square shape and a metal casing, the design feels sturdy, albeit with a touch of bulkiness. A transparent design, especially at this price point, would have been revolutionary, but CMF's choice emphasizes their intent to chart a unique path.
One of the first things users will notice is the consistency in the watch's bezels and the assortment of sensors at its back. Another feather in its cap is the IP68 rating, allowing users to indulge in aquatic adventures without any trepidation. The accompanying silicon strap is comfortable and features the CMF by Nothing logo. Changing straps is a breeze, thanks to a quick-release pin. However, it's worth noting the watch's dial might seem a bit oversized for some, but this also means it houses a generously sized 1.96” AMOLED display. With a sharp resolution, 58Hz refresh rate, and a brightness level exceeding 600 nits, it excels in clarity and responsiveness, even under direct sunlight.
One area where many budget smartwatches falter is in their software experience. Fortunately, the Watch Pro bucks this trend. Its user interface (UI) is uncluttered and runs with buttery smoothness, which is paramount for a watch. The watch faces, predominantly minimalistic in design, have hues of grey, red, and black, fitting the Nothing design language. While the UI doesn't necessarily bring groundbreaking features, its minimalistic design and lag-free performance are commendable for its price range.
Calls can be made directly from the watch, and the calling experience is surprisingly good, both in terms of speaker loudness and microphone clarity. The watch comes with a myriad of features including but not limited to fitness tracking, music control, and even activating Google Assistant. Its fitness tracking capabilities were tested against the likes of Apple Watch, and the Watch Pro held its own with fairly accurate results.
The accompanying CMF Watch app, compatible with both Android and iOS, complements the watch perfectly. It's clean, provides in-depth details of workouts and health statistics, and facilitates several watch settings, including updating the watch software. Battery life is another highlight. With a 340mAh battery, the watch promises up to 13 days of life on moderate usage. However, real-world heavy usage might see it last around 5 days.
To sum it up, while the Nothing Watch Pro doesn’t redefine the budget smartwatch category, it does carve a niche for itself, primarily through its smooth UI and overall performance. For Nothing's maiden venture into budget products, it’s a noteworthy and satisfactory start. Would it be the go-to choice for a budget smartwatch at its £69 / $69 price point? Only time will tell.
GAN Charger: Efficient and Stylish Charging
The latest addition to the CMF line-up by Nothing is their 65W GAN Charger, modestly priced at £39 / $39 . At first glance, the packaging stands out, displaying an attractive design.
Once opened, the product continues to impress with meticulous details: a stylish paper protection cover, which some might find too attractive to remove, followed by a plastic protection coating safeguarding the charger itself.
Designed for efficiency, the charger offers two USB-C ports along with a Type-A port, giving users flexibility in terms of device compatibility. While it’s capable of delivering up to 65 watts of power, users should note that this is the cumulative max across all devices plugged in simultaneously. This feature makes it particularly apt for users who often find themselves juggling between multiple devices that need charging.
Size-wise, the charger is surprisingly compact for its power rating, offering users a sleek and portable charging solution. Indeed, while the market isn’t short on 65W chargers, this one stands out due to its efficient layout and affordability. Moreover, the charger is consistent with the overall theme of the CMF line-up: light and efficient. This philosophy is evident across their products, from the earbuds to the watch.
And Now, For The Surprise!
Just when you thought Nothing had shown all their cards, in comes the twist – Beer! Yes, you read that right. While the initial teaser on April 1st last year had most of us thinking it’s just a quirky April Fools' joke, Nothing’s Beer (5.1%) turned out to be as real as their other products. Brewed to perfection by the Freetime Beer Company, this unfiltered rice lager with a hint of pear is nothing short of a refreshing delight. Currently being trialled in their Soho, London store, this beer is a testament to Nothing’s out-of-the-box thinking! It is available exclusively to the UK for now, though Nothing says it is working on making it available in more countries.
As we reflect upon Nothing’s latest offerings, it's evident that this is a brand perpetually committed to blurring the lines between tradition and innovation. They don't just produce technology; they craft experiences, interweaving nostalgia with futuristic design elements. Whether it's the transparency of their devices, the state-of-the-art specifications, or even their surprise foray into brewing, Nothing remains true to its essence: audacity and originality.
But beyond the products, it's the brand's spirit that resonates the most. In an era dominated by predictable tech releases, Nothing brings the much-needed zest and the unexpected. And now, we pose the question to you: would you love to try these masterpieces out first hand on Heyup Tryouts? Share your thoughts and enthusiasm in the Heyup Community and we just might offer some CMF products for you to try completely free!
And as you wind down, perhaps with a cold Nothing Beer in hand, raise a glass to a brand that's redefining norms. Here's to unbridled creativity and to the unexpected.