The former OnePlus co-founder released a “fun and good-looking” thousand-yuan phone

There is a saying on the Internet: "Technology is based on changing the shell." This refers to smartphones like Nokia Lumia that can replace the back cover. At that time, mobile phones were basically integrated with the body. Because of the high degree of DIY, People talk about it.

Five or six years after Lumia disappeared from people's sight, the newly unveiled CMF Phone (1) this week has once again gained a lot of attention with its "Renaissance" feature of shell replacement.

However, this mobile phone, which focuses on "light modularity", can do more than just replace the shell.

A "fun" mobile phone

The Nothing brand founded by former OnePlus co-founder Pei Yu has gained many fans at home and abroad in recent years with its eye-catching design. Nothing's sub-brand CMF also has a unique style. The first-generation mobile phone CMF Phone (1) gained a lot of attention when it was launched.

▲ Nothing Phone

This phone is positioned at the mid-to-low end in terms of configuration: Dimensity 7300 processor, 120Hz AMOLED screen with 2400 x 1080 resolution, and 5000mAh battery. The rear has a 50-megapixel main camera + a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and the front has a 16-megapixel camera. The 8GB + 128GB version is priced at US$199 (equivalent to approximately RMB 1,444.8).

What is more disadvantageous is that as a cheap mobile phone, CMF Phone (1) does not have NFC function, and because of its modularity, it only supports IPX 2 waterproof level. According to officials, the phone can withstand being immersed in 25 centimeters of water for 3 seconds. The performance in speakers, vibration motors, etc. is also unsatisfactory.

Unlike almost all manufacturers that emphasize the integrated body and hide the gaps and screws, CMF Phone (1) generously places the screws on the back in a conspicuous position, which also brings The biggest highlight of this phone: modularity.

▲ Source: Mrwhosetheboss

The first is the removable and replaceable back panel. The official currently provides four color matching back panel accessories: black, orange, mint green, and blue. Users can use the small screwdriver provided with the accessory to remove the screws of the back panel. , and then replace it.

What's special is that there is a "knob" module in the lower right corner of the back of the CMF Phone (1) that is not common on other mobile phones.

This “knob” made its first appearance when CMF was pre-heating new mobile phone products, making everyone curious about the function of this knob. The result is that it is a module for accessing accessories.

CMF officially provides a mobile phone lanyard and a mobile phone holder accessories. Unlike replacing the back panel, to assemble these accessories on the mobile phone, you only need to unscrew the knob with your bare hands and then install the accessories.

This slightly raised knob is also cleverly located diagonally from the camera, thus avoiding the imbalance of the body caused by the camera bulge to a certain extent.

The last accessory CMF prepared for the new phone is a magnetic card holder similar to Apple's MagSafe. This card holder is divided into two parts: the magnetic plate and the magnetic card holder. The magnetic plate is fixed on the back panel of the CMF Phone (1) through screws. The phone has a magnetic ring similar to Apple's MagSafe, which can absorb the matching card holder.

▲Picture source: Mrwhosetheboss

It is worth mentioning that the CMF magnetic plate can be well adapted to Apple’s MagSafe accessories.

Many reviewers also used the knobs and SIM card trays on the back panels of different colors to create contrasting designs that are more personalized.

▲ Source: Android Police

When foreign media reviewed this phone, the most mentioned thing was the "fun" that this phone can bring to customization. A reviewer from The Verge said that as soon as he got the CMF Phone (1), he couldn’t wait to “take it apart”.

However, the prices of these fun official accessories may not be so "pretty". The back panels are US$35 (equivalent to RMB 254.1) each, and other accessories are US$25 (equivalent to RMB 181.5). The price of buying them all is almost close to the phone itself. .

The promising future of “fake modularity”

When it comes to modular phones, everyone’s first reaction may be very hard-core “real modular phones” like Moto Z, Fairphone and Project Ara, but the modules of CMF Phone (1) are not that “hard”. Even if the back panel can be removed, the battery of the phone is still a component that cannot be easily removed by users.

▲ Removing the battery is not as easy as removing the back panel. Source: The Verge

These customizable parts on CMF Phone (1) are more like "accessories" than the basic configuration of the phone, and will not affect the core experience of any phone, such as imaging, processor, memory, battery life, etc. Therefore, CMF Phone (1) is essentially an ordinary mobile phone, targeting a wide range of consumers.

For example, Fairphone is a quasi-modular phone that is still being updated. It allows users to replace parts, but it has made a lot of compromises in the configuration of the phone. The configuration of the latest Fairphone 5 even lags behind in many aspects. Compared to CMF Phone (1), the price is more than 3 times of CMF.

In terms of usage experience, many reviews have praised the performance of the CMF Phone (1). The famous YouTube technology anchor Marques Brownlee said that during a week of use, he almost completely forgot that this is an "extremely cheap" mobile phone.

CMF Phone (1) essentially does not want to "innovate" the smartphone market like a modular mobile phone. It just wants to create a more "interesting" mobile phone. Compared with more hard-core functional modules, CMF Phone (1) The module accessories are more about selling some creativity and ideas. Compared with modular mobile phones with higher thresholds, the DIY process of CMF Phone (1) is like assembling a toy, which is more suitable for all ages.

▲ CMF Phone (1) also has a toy feel in design. Source: Mrwhosetheboss

Moreover, the production of module accessories for CMF Phone (1) does not involve "agreement" and adaptation like modular mobile phones. The production difficulty may not be much higher than the production of ordinary mobile phone accessories, and it is more likely to attract some third-party accessories manufacturers to enter the market.

Even if third-party accessories manufacturers do not enter the game, Nothing still has strong support for its own products. For example, its Android skin NothingOS has launched dozens of stylized widgets so far, and CMF's Watch Pro 2 product even has more than a hundred watch face styles.

Therefore, we can fully expect what new accessories Nothing and CMF will continue to bring to CMF Phone (1). How about a transparent back panel to "pay tribute" to the parent company's Nothing Phone, or a rear-enhancement lens accessory fixed with screws?

Good design can stand out from the sameness

When I searched Google for phones under $200, I found that they all looked like this:

At this time, I couldn't help but think of what Ai Faner once said when introducing Teenage Engineering, a design company: "Good design can break through the sameness."

The CMF Phone (1), which happens to have a strong Teenage Engineering design style, has also invested a stone in this mobile phone market that has been criticized for being boring for a long time.

▲ Teenage Engineering OB-4 Orange

Although Nothing is a company whose products are difficult to compete with the extremely high-end domestic products in terms of price-performance ratio, it has managed to gain considerable attention both at home and abroad with its unique design style.

▲ Nothing Ear(a), available in China

CMF has also taken the same route, and this little ingenuity in modularization looks even more practical and interesting than the light strips played by parent company Nothing.

▲ Also released together with the mobile phone are the CMF Watch Pro 2 watch and CMF Buds Pro 2 headphones, with a unified design style

CMF Phone (1) is certainly not a perfect phone, and it even has many flaws that are hard to ignore: lack of NFC and good enough waterproofing, and only 2 years of major system updates, etc.

So it may not be able to function as a main machine, but it is definitely a very attractive backup machine and a "toy" that people can't help but buy and play with.

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