Is it worth importing Nothing Phone 1?

It’s tempting to import Nothing Phone 1. The combination of eye-catching design, good performance and reasonable price can make it more attractive than other mid-range smartphones, and even some expensive flagships. But is it really worth the effort to bring Phone 1 to the US? not necessarily. There are a number of challenges that you have to overcome, even when the device gets into your hands.

Importing may cost more than you think

The phone is priced at £399 in the UK and €469 in the European Union, or about $478 as of this writing. However, you can’t just send one to a US shipping address. We haven’t found a major UK or EU retailer that will ship Nothing’s product to the US, and Phone 1 is unlikely to give the FCC certification needed for legal sales within the country.

Unless you know someone willing to act as an intermediary, you will need to get help from a package forwarding service that will ship Phone 1 to a US address. In the UK, your options include companies like Forward2Me, MyUS, and Reship. Many of them will handle individual shipments, but you may need to sign up for a membership (usually $10 per month). Individual ordering can be costly. Forward2Me, for example, currently estimates you’ll pay between $29 and $47 to ship a shared smartphone box.

You may not have to pay significant import duties, at least. While U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires a merchandise handling fee (ranging between $2 and $10 for unofficial entries like this), you can import personal use products duty- and tax-free when their value is less than $800. Shipping agents will handle the paperwork, and frequently provide the true shipping price. With that said, be sure to read the terms of these services and be prepared for the possibility of additional charges.

The phone may not work properly

Matt Smith / Engadget

The expenses may not be the real deal. If anything, you’ll need to worry about network compatibility. While Nothing Phone 1 does support some 5G and LTE frequencies for US carriers, it lacks the long-range bands for T-Mobile and Verizon. You won’t get strong coverage, and performance may decrease. in the exam , PCMagSascha Segan noted that Phone 1 only managed 100Mbps download over 5G in areas where other phones had reached 400Mbps.

This is assuming that you can turn the phone on in the first place. Without certification from the FCC or US carriers, there are no guarantees that you will call. Nothing warns that Phone 1 cannot make 5G or LTE calls on AT&T as an uncertified device, and Segan lost Verizon service after two hours of use. Don’t expect functionality to improve either. As explained by Carl Bay, founder of None PCMag, US certification wouldn’t have been worth it without a local carrier agreement; Any broken connection will likely remain broken.

After sales support is also an issue. Service within the original purchase area is not covered by anything under warranty, so you cannot ask for official assistance. We also don’t expect independent repair shops to fix Phone 1. You will likely have to buy a brand new phone if something happens, in other words.

What are the alternatives?

Google Pixel 6a in Sage color

The Google

Pei indicated that US community investors may obtain Phone 1 through a closed beta program. None also has “big plans” to release a US-friendly phone at some point. If you are not part of this beta and don’t want to wait for a sequel, you might be better off buying a replacement device. Fortunately, there are a few viable models in the under $500 range.

The Google Pixel 6a (launched July 28) might be the easiest option. It won’t have the Phone 1’s smooth 120Hz display, wireless charging, or dual 50MP rear cameras, but you’ll get a fast processor and the latest Google software features for a modest $449. If you want a high refresh screen, the 2021 Edge 144Hz is on sale for $400 as we write this. And yes, the iPhone 11 is still surprisingly capable if you don’t mind the three-year-old specs.

We’d advise against Samsung’s slow Galaxy A53 5G, but it’s an option if you’re determined to have a 120Hz screen or simply prefer the safety of the big brand ecosystem. You may also want to wait a while. Apple should have a better $500 device when it updates its iPhone lineup in September (maybe the iPhone 12), and the Galaxy S21 FE could see more price cuts.

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