Every equipment manufacturer dreams of its own ecosystem. So Nothing presented a smart watch, but not exactly its own, but from a subsidiary brand CMF. We got acquainted with the device and understood how cruel reality can break the fragile glass of high expectations.
Seventh son of the seventh son
The Nothing brand exploded thanks to a smartphone with an eye-catching design and unusual lighting. The company’s founder was Carl Pei, who doesn’t need much introduction, and titans such as the creator of the iPod and the co-founder of Twitch invested in the business. It is not surprising that the new brand is being talked about on every corner.
Carl Pei recently said that he does not like smart watches. Perhaps that is why the world has not yet seen a wrist-worn accessory with a transparent body. But it would be wrong to completely ignore such a large market niche. And then it was time for CMF.
Its products are aimed at the same audience as Nothing, but these are only branded gadgets that are indirectly related to Nothing itself. Many manufacturers practice a similar approach. In September, CMF introduced wireless headphones and smartwatches. It was the latter who visited us for testing.
Packaging with a surprise, but design — without
Packaging is a simple but effective way to attract attention to a product. And CMF by Nothing Watch Pro did not disappoint: the gadget is placed in a very thin box with an impressive design:
But the watch itself is not surprising — it is a classic rectangle with an aluminum case and a silicone strap. They appear large due to the thick body and 1.96” display. For example, the Apple Watch 7 (45mm) is smaller in all three dimensions. Therefore, the device looks better on a man’s wrist. The CMF by Nothing Watch Pro weighs moderately – about 47 grams.
We reviewed the dark gray version, but there are also models with bright orange and white straps on sale. The fastening is the most common: the 22 mm strap is held in place by metal pins, so replacing it will not be difficult. I liked the large number of holes — you can choose a fit for any hand, tighten it tighter or looser. And the strap is also very high quality and velvety to the touch — in many watches this accessory is much worse in terms of tactile sensations.
On the right side there is a round button with which you can turn the watch on or off, return from the settings menu to the main screen, and also lock the gadget. I liked that the key is flat — it doesn’t interfere at all even with a strong bend in the wrist. Nearby are the slots for the speaker. As befits a smart watch, they received housing protection according to the IP68 standard.
Large and beautiful screen, but without auto-brightness
CMF by Nothing Watch Pro is equipped with an AMOLED matrix with a resolution of 502x410 pixels, a maximum brightness of over 600 nits and a refresh rate of 58 Hz. The display has a good oleophobic coating; removing fingerprints and dirt is not difficult. There is also support for Always On Display. Although the side edges are flat, the edges of the screen itself are slightly rounded, and this combination looks good.
I liked that all the dials are designed in the Nothing style. There is a minimalist combination of three colors (black, white and red), as well as a signature “dotted” font. However, the large frames around the perimeter of the screen are disappointing, the existence of which you don’t even suspect when looking at beautiful promotional photos from the Internet. This no longer ties in with the Nothing philosophy — the brand’s smartphones boast thin and symmetrical frames. And then you immediately realize that this is an inexpensive accessory that is closer to fitness trackers than to flagship smartwatches.
The brightness is really good: indoors it is enough to keep it at 30–40% for comfortable viewing of information. And if you turn it up to maximum, the image will be clearly readable even during the day outdoors. However, there is no automatic brightness adjustment; you must adjust the screen manually each time. Moreover, the adjustment is stepwise, not smooth, which harms its accuracy.
You can connect your watch to your smartphone using the CMF Watch application. If you have Nothing Phone, you will still have to install the program — the standard NothingX utility is designed for headphones and will not see the watch in the list of devices for connection.
The application itself is designed in the spirit of the Nothing brand, for which we give it a like. The interface looks nice and is not overloaded with information — everything is laid out on cards and can be read without difficulty. Some smartwatch manufacturers have been unable to achieve a neat design for their software for years, but here it immediately turned out beautiful and convenient. The colors and Nothing font are also spot on.
However, not everything is as good as we would like. The application does not have European language. Hello everyone who uses an English interface on any device. Our condolences to the rest. We have to wait for the program update, but when will it come out and will European appear in it? The clock itself is also not friendly with the Cyrillic alphabet. However, we like CMF Watch because it is well designed and the logic behind the main menu items is intuitive.
GPS, calls and a basic set for a healthy lifestyle
The device supports five satellite navigation systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and Beidou. Location data can be obtained even if the smartphone remains at home — this option will be useful for athletes and simply lovers of morning jogging in the fresh air.
The range of health monitoring options is the same as most entry-level smartwatches and fitness trackers. There’s 24/7 heart rate monitoring, automatic SpO2 tracking, and sleep and stress monitoring. CMF by Nothing Watch Pro can count steps, distance traveled and calories burned.
There is also a set of basic utilities: a stopwatch, an alarm clock, a timer, and a search for a paired smartphone if you forgot it somewhere on the sofa in the living room. Another option is the ability to shoot remotely with a smartphone camera, when the watch screen acts as a shutter button, and also allows you to set a timer for 2 or 5 seconds. An excellent solution for those who want to shoot a video blog or take photos of a large company using a tripod.
The device supports voice calls via Bluetooth. The quality of the connection during test calls was not satisfactory; during a conversation, the interlocutors could hear each other well. This is convenient when your hands are busy (for example, while cooking in the kitchen), but bringing the phone to your ear is problematic. There is a delay in voice transmission during a conversation, but it is small and does not interfere with communication.
Expectations from the watch were high, which we don’t even hide; we were captivated by the beautiful renderings at the start of sales, the cool design of the software and dials, as well as the advantages of the Nothing Phone smartphone (2). However, the CMF by Nothing Watch Pro turned out to be a mediocre device with minor problems that blurred the final impression.
The lack of auto-brightness and the European language in the system has already been mentioned; most notifications from Telegram and other instant messengers look like mysterious squares (unless it’s a chat with a Chinese or English-speaking user — then everything is fine). When calling, the contact name is not visible. Even adding the subscriber’s number to the “Favorite Contacts” list in the watch itself does not help. There is also no automatic detection of workouts. The system supports only five watch faces, and the standard four cannot be deleted. You can only download one third-party design option, and when you want to update again, you will have to remove it. Pedometer data is displayed on the screen with a long delay. Finally, the scrolling in the menu is confusing. The refresh rate sometimes seems lower than the stated 58 Hz — interface microlags are noticeable when scrolling.
Autonomy is ok
The battery capacity of CMF by Nothing Watch Pro is 340 mAh. This is enough for long-term operation of the device if you do not use AoD. The manufacturer claims up to 13 days in mixed mode operation. We got less: within three days the battery charge dropped to 48%, but we actively tested the device, so in everyday life the gadget may lose percentages more slowly. CMF by Nothing Watch Pro can withstand a week without problems, but the rest depends on the usage scenario. You can recharge the device using magnetic charging, which is attached to the bottom of the case, as in other smart watches.
- AMOLED, 1.96”, 502x410 pixels, 332 ppi, 58 Hz
- DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHTS
- 46.9 x 39.9 x 12.9 mm
about 47 g (with strap)
about 30g (without strap)
- 340 mAh
- accelerometer, heart rate monitoring sensor, blood oxygen sensor
- IP68, support Bluetooth calling, Bluetooth 5.3, about 110 sports modes, 5 satellite positioning systems, 22mm replaceable strap
Let’s remember the first Nothing Phone: at the start of sales it had many problems, but the device turned out to be unique. He was forgiven for his flaws, and minor defects were corrected with the help of patches. The second generation of the smartphone is absolutely excellent. But with “accessories by Nothing” the situation is worse. CMF by Nothing Watch Pro doesn’t catch anything except the menu design. This is just a smart watch, without bright technical and design solutions. They are too ordinary for such a brand. Similar opportunities can be found in most manufacturers — why then buy exotic, which in fact is not exotic?
In addition, we tested the device from the first wave, having ordered it abroad. And it still looks unfinished. Perhaps with updates one day they will add the European language, correct software shortcomings and improve the interface. But now the device is not very impressive. Yes, there is good autonomy, a very neat design of menus and dials, there is GPS and calls via Bluetooth. But it’s not a fact that this will be enough to buy, even if you like devices from Nothing.