Will the Nothing Phone (3) Be the Flagship Killer We Desire? I Don’t Think So

In Short
  • Nothing Phone (3) could be launching later this year.
  • The Phone (3) won't be as cheap to be called a flagship killer, and not as spec-rich to be called a flagship.
  • We do wish that the Phone (3) includes a Telephoto lens, third-party app support for Glyph, and the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3.

It’s mind-boggling how we’re not even halfway through 2024, and there are already so many great smartphones to choose from. Redmi, POCO, and Motorola dominate mid-range, while the likes of OnePlus, Samsung, and Google lead the premium segment. This leaves a gap for the once-popular “flagship killer” category. Nothing Phone (3) is expected to arrive sometime in Q2, and well, based on their past moves, many may anticipate it to be a flagship killer like the old OnePlus. But here’s why I think there’s barely any chance that might happen.

Here’s a list of things we want to see in the Nothing Phone (3). At the same time, we’ll reflect on how feasible it could be for Nothing to include these hardware and software features. We’ll discuss how it would affect the overall price and position of the phone in the market.

Nothing Phone (3): A Full Flagship Experience or a Flagship Killer?

We’ve had a good upper mid-range experience with the Phone (1) and a “not so flagship killer and slightly expensive” Nothing Phone (2). We recently got a full mid-range killer of sorts with Nothing Phone (2a). This begs the question, where does Nothing go from here?

1. Performance

Nothing could go all out with the specifications on the Phone (3) or follow the same formula as the Phone (2) and launch it with, say, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. We’re just shooting arrows blindfolded here. Since the Phone (2a) arrived recently, I predict the Phone (3) launch will not be so soon, at least not in July. It’s possible that we may see this smartphone at least three to four months later, probably in October or November.

This should give them leeway to add the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, or even Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 on the Phone (3). Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 is expected to launch sometime in October, and by then, the 8 Gen 3 will be a year old. The former is possible, but the latter is doubtful since the unit cost of 8 Gen 2 will be much lower than 8 Gen 3.

Or, Nothing could follow Moto’s strategy it used with the Edge 50 Ultra and just go with the newly-announced Snapdragon 8s Gen 3. This SoC, as we found out in our benchmark testing, is similar to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 but with superior battery efficiency and thermal performance. However, I wonder if the unit costs of 8s Gen 3 are higher than that of 8 Gen 2, in which case, going with the latter would make sense.

Will the Nothing Phone (3) Be the Flagship Killer We Desire? I Don’t Think So

Nothing, for me, is the closest we will get to a hybrid Xiaomi-like hardware selection with Google’s clean, stock UI. Sure, Mi A1, A2, and A3 were nice, but we all know how bad Xiaomi’s software team made stock Android feel. Nothing banks on user experience. The Phone (2a) is a great example of the company’s take and ambitions about prioritizing user experience above anything while keeping performance in check.

Nothing is still a budding company with just three smartphones in its portfolio. And they would want to play it safe by launching what they know will work. The brand identity is still being built, and launching a fully-fledged flagship puts them at risk of not selling enough units.

2. Improved Cameras

The Nothing Phone (2) cameras were good, but it was nothing to write home about. Nothing’s philosophy from day one has been about making the pictures clicked look as natural as possible. While they have kind of succeeded in the same, they need to understand the very reason why Pixel camera processing is favored more.

In this day and age of social media, people tend to lean towards increased contrast and saturated looks more than natural tones. Pixel images are a bit cooler and retain the facial and body tones well. So, maybe Nothing can try changing it up.


Ultrawide cameras are generally great, but the one we tested on the Phone (2) wasn’t convincing. As we mentioned in our Phone (2) review, the ultrawide lens lacked details when capturing photos and the videos captured on it were soft-looking. To add to it, I want a telephoto lens with at least 3x optical zoom (up to 80mm focal length). No crazy 100x zoom is needed, a good 3x lens will do.

Unfortunately, adding a third lens could drive the unit costs up. So it’s up to Nothing to decide whether to substitute the existing ultrawide with a telephoto? This will increase the unit price and Nothing would have to balance it out. However, if there’s one hardware upgrade I want to see, it’s the addition of a telephoto lens.

3. Improvements to Glyph Interface

This hasn’t been brought up much, but there are times when I feel the Glyph lights on Nothing Phones are a bit blinding. The flashes are a bit too quick. For someone sensitive to sudden light flashes, the current Glyph setup resembles a teeny tiny flash grenade, especially at night. There are two ways Nothing could go about fixing this.


First, they could add an option to slow down the flashes whenever you receive a notification. There’s an option of adding a slower breathing effect that lasts a split second longer than the quick flash. Much like ringtones with different Glyph customization patterns, Notification flashes should also be customizable.

Second is unlikely, but adding a warmth adjustment setting would also help. This would mean Nothing would need to add LED strips that can change their warmth. Implementing this would be immensely helpful for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Also, the third-party integration for the Glyph interface has been slow. Even after a year of Phone (2)’s launch, there are barely three apps that can fully utilize the Glyph interface. This needs to change, as Glyphs are Nothing’s signature feature. And if Nothing isn’t able to provide additional customization options, it should allow other developers to access the interface, so people can get more use out of Glyphs.

4. Guarantee Four Years of Updates

Nothing OS 2.5 Colors Customizations

Nothing’s software game has been anything but commendable. With OEMs such as OnePlus and Xiaomi still offering three years of major software updates in the sub-Rs 40,000 (or $600) price segment, Nothing could beat them by offering four major updates in the same price segment.

Not to mention, the commitment would match Samsung’s devices, the only company whose mid-rangers are eligible for four major updates.

5. Bigger Battery and Faster Charging

Will the Nothing Phone (3) Be the Flagship Killer We Desire? I Don’t Think So

The Nothing Phone (2) is a phone that easily lasts up to 1.5 days, thanks to its 4,700 mAh battery. However, the industry standards have changed, and we are seeing phones with 5,000 mAh batteries that can last for two solid days. OnePlus 12R Genshin Impact Edition, which I bought recently, is a great example. So, Nothing should consider adding a bigger battery to make the Phone (3) a solid two-day device.

The 45W charging speeds on Nothing Phone (2) and (2a) are great, but it’s still not as fast as today’s smartphones with 68W or even 120W fast charging speeds. Don’t get me wrong, 45W is still fast but with the lack of a charging brick in the box, there’s a scope for compensation with faster charging speeds and Nothing should try to bump the speeds to at least 68W. Or keep it at 45W and include a charging brick in the box. Nothing, you listening? 😉

6. Improve the Audio Quality

There were many complaints from users on Reddit and Nothing Community about the Phone (2)’s speakers. Users said the device sounds hollow and lacks bass. Some users also complained about the speaker crackling at higher volumes and the overall audio experience being a letdown.

Will the Nothing Phone (3) Be the Flagship Killer We Desire? I Don’t Think So

Nothing needs to improve the audio experience on the Phone (3) and to do so, they could add a dedicated secondary speaker like on the Xiaomi 14. They should also calibrate the overall sound profile to make them sound much fuller and clearer with better lows.

Why I Think the Phone (3) Won’t Be a Flagship Killer?

As mentioned earlier, Nothing’s policy of not including bloatware and ads, combined with the R&D that goes into achieving a distinct look with Glyphs, and including a previous-gen flagship SoC, all demand a price increase. Therefore, unless Nothing cuts serious corners like it did with the Phone (2a) or decides to immensely lower its profit margins, it’s unlikely that Nothing Phone (3) will be a flagship killer, let alone a flagship.

One of the culprits behind the lower demand for the Phone (2), at least in India, was its elevated pricing, which then tumbled quickly. Did the Phone (2) justify its launch price? I guess, but many people, especially from the subcontinent, tend to focus on the price hike between each generation. And very few focus on the improvements it brings.

Hence, the best way Nothing could make the Phone (3) successful is by sticking to its brand philosophy and principles and doing what they do best while introducing some of the above improvements and keeping the price on par with or lower than the Phone (2). The improvements and a lower price tag (even if it’s a slight decrease) compared to the previous generation should make the Phone (3) sell well.

Will the Phone (3) be a flagship? Probably not. Will it be a flagship killer? Maybe. Can it be a unique smartphone with a good build, a clean software, and great features for the price? Absolutely.

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