So far I’ve thankfully avoided the Nothing Phone (1) hype – nothing officially announced elicits joy, and I’m very wary of products where the main selling point is charisma of the influential personality behind it (see also: everything Musk has ever touched).

But a recent leak ignited a little spark in me for this upcoming Android phone. Apparently, the phone will launch at an average price – €500 to be exact (which converts to around $540, £430, AU$750).

This is less than I expected for the launch of the Nothing Phone as the pomp and ceremony that has already taken place for the phone led me to believe this would be a premium handset to rival the Samsung Galaxy S22 or the iPhone 14. And while I still haven’t really gotten on the hype train, I’m at least queuing to buy a ticket.

The midrange is perfect

The mid-range Android phone market is one of the fastest growing and most competitive areas in the smartphone world, with companies scrambling to deliver devices that combine mid-range prices with high specs.

The Nothing Phone software (1) has already been launched for testing.

(Image credit: TechRadar/Nothing)

It was in the mid-range phone market that OnePlus gained its popularity – the same OnePlus whose co-founder is now in charge of Nothing – and it is also how brands like Xiaomi and Oppo have passed from “nascent Chinese telephone companies” to “global players”.

Due to the competition in the market for mid-range phones, both from the multitude of mobiles and the pressures of the equally charming budget and high-end sectors, these devices must be excellent. Companies have to be incredibly competitive, offering the highest specs at the lowest prices, to play in the league.

And that’s exactly what the most memorable mid-range phones do: the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 and Oppo Reno 10x Zoom had fantastic cameras for their price, while the Moto G200 and Poco F4 GT offer high-end performance on a low budget.

It doesn’t hurt that the mid-range market is more appealing to tech aficionados. People who don’t know their Snapdragons of their dimensions are more likely to walk into a store and buy the first expensive Galaxy S or iPhone they see, or maybe the budget Moto G or Nokia handset that catches their attention.

However, people who like to pick specs and features are probably more drawn to the particular nuances of different mid-range phones.

This is the Nothing Phone (1) market after all: the device is sold on the legacy of Carl Pei, the founder of Nothing, with features that appeal to tech fans. The design of the device reveals this more than anything else: the back is transparent, so you can see the internals of the handset.

The slow market

The Nothing Ear headphones (1) had a transparent design.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Despite the competitiveness of the mid-range phone market, I haven’t really been enthralled with such a phone for a while now – in part due to divergent mobile trends of features I like (where have phones at curved edges? Why are there rarely mid-range camera phones?), but partly for another reason.

Many manufacturers who rose to popularity from mid-range phones, like OnePlus and Xiaomi, have now largely abandoned the market in favor of the more cost-effective premium phone game. There’s simply less effort being put into the mid-range market, despite the big potential gains involved.

That’s why the leaked price of the Nothing Phone (1) interested me: it shows that Nothing is ready to step in and make a mid-priced phone, instead of jumping straight into the high-end market.

I’m far more likely to be impressed with a phone that juggles great specs with an affordable price, than a phone that costs an arm and a leg and barely offers a better experience.

Every one of my favorite phones I’ve tested while working for TechRadar has been mid-range, and I’m excited for the possibility that the Nothing Phone (1) could join that list.

Wait – did I just use ‘excited’ and ‘Nothing Phone (1)’ in the same sentence? Oops – best to keep this under control until the official price is actually announced.