I've tried Nothing's new budget wearables – and I'm impressed

CMF by Nothing; orange watch, earbuds and charger
(Image credit: CMF / Nothing)

What is CMF by Nothing, and why should you care? Put simply, this is the tech disruptor's new budget brand, launching with the Buds Pro, Watch Pro, and Power 65W GaN. Aiming to deliver the same considered design and excellent tech of the Nothing brand without costing a small fortune.

I use a Nothing Phone 2 every day and have come to love the retro-industrial design, graphic appeal and minimalism of this unique smartphone, read my Nothing Phone 2 review for more on why it's so unique. 

The same approach to the main Nothing brand is evident in the styling of the first products from CMF - the name is derived from the product design acronym Colour, Material, Finish - which are functional but eye-catching and feature some clever graphic design notes. The Buds Pro, Watch Pro come in a bright orange, with grey and silver accent colours (you can tone it down if you're not keen on orange).

Below I go into more detail about this new brand, and why its mix of high end design and low cost could make CMF a surprise disruptor. You can buy the CMF Watch Pro, Buds Pro and new 65W GaN Charger from the cmf.tech site, from 10th October or at the Nothing Store Soho from 30th September.

CMF Watch Pro

CMF by Nothing; an orange Watch Pro

(Image credit: CMF / Nothing)
CMF Watch Pro specs

Colour Dark Grey, Metallic Grey, Dark Grey (Ash Grey strap)
Materials Watch case: Metal, Strap: Silicon
Dimensions 46.9 x 39.87 x 12.89 mm (without wrist strap), 261.2 x 39.9 x 12.9 mm (with wrist strap)
Weight 30.4 g (without wrist strap), 47 g (with wrist strap)
Screen AMOLED, 1.96” (4.98 cm), 332ppi, 410 x 502 resoluton, 600+ nits
Wrist strap Removable wrist strap, silicon + metal, 22 cm wide
Battery 340mAh capacity, 13 days (theoretical working time)
Sensors Accelerometer sensor, Heart rate & Blood Oxygen Saturation sensor
Connectivity Bluetooth v5.3, CMF Watch app
Compatibility Supports iOS 13 and above, Android 8.0 and above, Satellite positioning systems

The Watch Pro is a gem; the model I've been testing comes with a vibrant orange strap made from soft and pliable silicon, it has a dark grey metal casing. If you want to tone it down a little there's an option for a black or dark grey strap.

The 1.96-inch AMOLED display is bright and clear, and a step up from OLED displays found in this price. It's 600+ nits of brightness and 410 x 502 resolution feels lively. I've found it easy to use, the 58fps refresh rate is welcome and generally lacks stutter. 

The Watch Pro manages to cram in everything you could really need from a smartwatch, including GPS, activity tracking and calls - its AI reduces background noise and increases speech quality. It supports 110 sports modes, monitors heart rate and oxygen blood levels and tracks your sleep. It isn't waterproof, so no swimming options, and naturally the more you ask of it the faster its battery runs low, so there are cutbacks here and there.

There are two surprising things about the Watch Pro; first it's only £69 making it one of the best-specced budget smartwatches on the market, and secondly how stylish this gadget is. The app enables you to download and update its display with Nothing-like graphic choices that sit above the run-of-the-mill clutter of other smartwatches. These designs are simple, bold and hard; they're retro-futuristic and clean, as if Syd Mead himself doodled a watch face and noted, 'one for later'.

CMF Buds Pro

CMF by Nothing; orange earbuds in an orange case

(Image credit: CMF / Nothing)

If you are considering a CMF Watch Pro then you perhaps want to go all in and pick up the new Buds Pro too. These echo brand design overall, coming in a striking and bold orange (like the Watch Pro there is a less confident dark grey and light grey option).

Behind the brash but clean design is tech you'll get a lot of living out of; there's excellent noise cancelling with a depth of up to 45dB and a wide frequency up to 5000 Hz, this is impressive for earbuds costing just £49.

CMF by Nothing promises 11 hours of use from its Buds Pro (unlike Watch Pro I've not personally tested these) and the fast charging case can, says the brand, eke out five hours of listening after just 10 minutes of charging.

Topping everything is a promise of booming bass, there's some technical gubbins about a "custom LCP+PU driver" and a "soft material of the PU" for purer bass. But the upshot is these budget earbuds promise deep and rich sound without damaging your bank account.

What is nice to see, from a budget brand, is some of the user-friendly features of higher-end earbuds haven't been cut, such as In-ear detection, water resistance and a low lag mode for clearer, consistent audio.

CMF Power 65W GaN Charger

CMF by Nothing; an orange GaN charger

(Image credit: CMF / Nothing)

Yes, it's orange (but also black) but I've been more impressed with the CMF Power 65W GaN Charger than I think I should be; after all, it's a charger. But with two USB-C ports and a USB-A port, and making use of the latest GaN technology for fast and efficient charging, this really is a little thing of wonder. Priced at £39, the GaN Charger is a bargain.

Luckily CMF gave me one to test, and I'm glad they did as on paper a charger shouldn't be this interesting, but it works so well. GaN chargers like this one use nitrogen and gallium materials rather than silicon, which delivers a higher electrical field strength, which for those of use who coasted physics, means we can power-up our tech more efficiently (it can charge my Nothing Phone 2 to 50% in under 25 minutes and stay cool).

If you're looking for comparable wearables, then take a look at our guide to the best Apple Watch alternatives, dominated by Fitbit and me-too Apple designs, few break a design sweat in the same way as CMF.

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & 3D

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.