Nothing Phone (2a) Review

Price
Euro315
US Dollar$429
Pound Sterling£310

Nothing Phone (2a) Review

Nothing Phone (2a) Review

A Budget Phone with Personality

The budget phone market is often crowded with bland and boring devices that offer little to no excitement. However, the Nothing Phone (2a) is a refreshing exception that manages to stand out with its unique design and fun software. For a relatively low price of $349, the Phone (2a) delivers a lot of value with a big and bright display, long battery life, solid performance, and a dual camera. It is not without its flaws, though, as it lacks wireless charging and an IP rating. Still, if you are looking for a budget phone that has some character and charm, the Nothing Phone (2a) might be the one for you.

Design

The Phone (2a) follows the distinctive aesthetic of Nothing, a company founded by former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei. The phone features a translucent plastic back that lets you see some of the internal components and the Glyph lights. The back also has a eye shaped camera module in the center. The phone is available in black, white, and milk (off-white) colors, with the black version looking like a retro-futuristic gadget.

The phone's design is not only eye-catching, but also comfortable to hold. The plastic back is smooth and slightly curved, making it easy to grip. The phone is also surprisingly lightweight, weighing only 190 grams, which is less than some phones with smaller screens. The phone houses power button on the right side, volume rockers on the left side, and they are responsive and tactile. The USB-C port, SIM card tray, and the main speaker grill are located at the bottom, while the secondary speaker is located inside the earpiece.

The phone's design is not perfect, though. The plastic back is prone to scratches and smudges, and it does not feel as premium as glass or metal. The phone also does not have wireless charging, which we don't necessarily expect at this price point. The phone is water splash and dust resistant, which is quite rare in this price bracket. The phone does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but it has stereo speakers, which are loud and clear, but lack some bass and depth.

Technical Specifications:

Form FactorCandybar, Touchscreen
Dimensions161.7 x 76.3 x 8.6 mm (6.37 x 3.00 x 0.34 in)
Weight190 g (6.70 oz)
BuildGlass front (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame, plastic back

IP54 splash, water and dust resistant

3 LED lights on the back (notifications, camera fill light)
ColorsBlack, White, Milk, Blue
ModelsA142

Display

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2412 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz. The display is one of the highlights of the phone, as it offers a bright, colorful, and smooth viewing experience. The display supports HDR10+, which means it can show more details and contrast in dark and bright scenes. The display also has a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera, which is small and unobtrusive.

The display is great for watching videos, playing games, and browsing the web. The 120Hz refresh rate makes everything look fluid and responsive, and it can automatically adjust to the content on the screen to save battery. The display has good viewing angles, and it is easy to see outdoors, even in direct sunlight. The display also has a dark mode, which can reduce eye strain and battery consumption.

The display is not flawless, though. The resolution is not the highest, and some users might notice some pixelation or jagged edges on text and icons. The display also has a slight blue tint, which can affect the color accuracy and white balance. The phone supports always-on display feature but the display does not have a high touch sampling rate, which means it might not register some fast or precise gestures.

Technical Specifications:

TypeAMOLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR10+, 700 nits (typ), 1100 nits (HBM), 1300 nits (peak)

Always On Display
Size6.7 inches, 108.0 cm2 (~87.6% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution1080 x 2412 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~394 ppi density)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5

Camera

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a dual-camera setup on the back, consisting of two 50-megapixel cameras, one for wide-angle and one for ultra-wide-angle shots. The main camera can capture detailed and sharp photos in good lighting, with accurate colors and exposure. The ultra-wide camera can fit more in the frame, but it suffers from some distortion and noise. The camera also has a LED flash, a panorama mode, and a HDR mode.

The Nothing Phone (2a) also has a 32-megapixel selfie camera on the front, which can take decent selfies with good skin tones and dynamic range. The selfie camera also has a beauty mode, which can smooth out blemishes and enhance facial features. The selfie camera can also record 1080p videos at 60 frames per second, while the rear cameras can record up to 4K videos at 30 frames per second.

The Nothing Phone (2a)'s cameras are not bad, but they are not impressive either. They can handle most scenarios, but they struggle in low light, where they produce grainy and blurry images. They also lack some features that other budget phones have, such as optical image stabilization, night mode, and slow-motion video. The Phone (2a)'s cameras are good enough for casual users, but they are not the main selling point of the phone.

Technical Specifications:

Main CameraPrimary: 50 MP, f/1.9, (wide), 1/1.56", PDAF, OIS

Secondary: 50 MP, f/2.2, 114" (ultrawide), 1/2.76", 0.64┬Ám
Camera FeaturesLED flash, panorama, HDR
Video4K@30fps, 1080p@60/120fps, gyro-EIS
Selfie Camera32 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/2.74"

Features: HDR

Video: 1080p@60fps

Hardware

The Nothing Phone (2a) is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor, which is a mid-range chip that can handle most tasks and games without much lag or stutter. The phone comes with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. The phone does not have a microSD card slot, so you cannot expand the storage further. The phone also has dual speakers, which are loud and clear, but lack some bass and depth.

The Nothing Phone (2a) has decent hardware for its price, but it is not the most future-proof. The phone supports 5G on some carriers, but not on others, such as AT&T and Verizon, which means you might miss out on faster speeds and better coverage. The phone also has NFC, which means you can use it for contactless payments or other wireless transactions.

Technical Specifications:

Internal Memory128GB ROM, 8GB RAM

256GB ROM, 8GB RAM

256GB ROM, 12GB RAM
Card SlotNo
ChipsetMediatek Dimensity 7200 Pro (4 nm)
CPUOcta-core (2x2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 6x 2.0 Cortex-A510)
GPUMali-G610 MC4
SensorsFingerprint (under display, optical)

Accelerometer

Gyro

Proximity

Compass
SIMDual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
SpeakersYes, with stereo speakers
Audio JackNo

Software

The Nothing Phone (2a) runs on Nothing OS 2.5, which is a custom version of Android 14. Nothing OS 2.5 is one of the best aspects of the phone, as it offers a clean, simple, and fun user interface. Nothing OS 2.5 has a minimalist design, with a lot of white space and colorful icons. Nothing OS 2.5 also has some quirky features, such as a retro clock widget, a pixel art wallpaper, and a sound pack that mimics old video games.

Nothing OS 2.5 is also very smooth and responsive, thanks to the 120Hz display and the optimization of the software. Nothing OS 2.5 also has some useful features, such as a smart sidebar, a game mode, a screen recorder, and a one-handed mode. Nothing OS 2.5 also has a dark mode, which can change the theme of the system and some apps to black, saving battery and reducing eye strain.

Nothing OS 2.5 is also very close to stock Android, which means it does not have a lot of bloatware or unnecessary apps. Nothing OS 2.5 also gets regular updates and security patches, which keep the phone secure and up to date. Nothing OS 2.5 also supports Android 14's features, such as the Material You design, the privacy dashboard, and the notification history.

Nothing OS 2.5 is a great software experience, and it adds a lot of personality and charm to the phone. Nothing OS 2.5 is one of the reasons why the Nothing Phone (2a) is more than just a budget phone, and why it is worth considering.

Technical Specifications:

Operating System (OS)Android OS, v14
UINothing OS 2.5

Performance

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a good performance for its price, thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor and the ample RAM. The phone can handle most apps and games without any lag or stutter, and it can multitask and switch between apps smoothly. The phone can also run some demanding games, such as Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9, at medium to high settings, with a stable frame rate and good graphics.

The Nothing Phone (2a) also has a good thermal management, which means it does not overheat or throttle when under heavy load. The phone also has a good network performance, which means it can connect to Wi-Fi and cellular networks without any issues. The phone also has a good call quality and audio quality, which means it can make and receive calls and listen to music without any problems.

The Nothing Phone (2a) is not the fastest or the most powerful phone on the market, but it is more than capable of meeting the needs of most users. The phone does not have any major performance issues, and it can deliver a smooth and enjoyable user experience.

Technical Specifications:

PerformanceAnTuTu: 578493 (v9), 684574 (v10)

GeekBench: 2184 (v5), 2592 (v6)

3DMark Wild life: 4131 (offscreen 1440p)

Glyph lights and Glyph interface

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a unique feature that sets it apart from other phones: the Glyph lights and Glyph interface. There three LED strips on the back of the phone. The Glyph interface is the software that controls the Glyph lights and allows them to display different patterns and colors for various purposes.

The Glyph lights and Glyph interface can be used in several ways, such as:

  • Notifications: The Glyph lights can show different light sequences for different types of notifications, such as calls, messages, emails, social media, etc. You can also customize the light sequences and colors for each app or contact. You can also enable essential notifications, which will make the Glyph lights stay on until you check them.
  • Timer: The Glyph lights can act as a timer, showing the progress of the countdown with a light bar. You can also pause, resume, or cancel the timer by tapping the Glyph lights.
  • Torch: The Glyph lights can act as a flashlight, providing a bright and steady light. You can also adjust the brightness and color of the light by swiping the Glyph lights.
  • Progress: The Glyph lights can show the progress of certain apps or tasks, such as downloading, uploading, charging, etc. You can also tap the Glyph lights to see more details or cancel the operation.
  • Camera: The Glyph lights can act as a fill light, providing extra illumination for the rear camera. You can also adjust the brightness and color of the light by swiping the Glyph lights.
  • Games: The Glyph lights can enhance the gaming experience, showing different light effects and feedback for different games. You can also use the Glyph lights as a controller, tapping or swiping them to perform actions in the game.
  • Music: The Glyph lights can sync with the music, showing different light effects and colors that match the rhythm and mood of the song. You can also use the Glyph lights as a music player, tapping or swiping them to play, pause, skip, or adjust the volume of the music.

The Glyph lights and Glyph interface are a fun and innovative feature that add a lot of personality and value to the Nothing Phone (2a). The Glyph lights and Glyph interface are one of the reasons why the Nothing Phone (2a) is more than just a budget phone, and why it is worth considering.

Battery

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a great battery life, thanks to the large 5,000 mAh battery and the efficient software. The phone can last for more than a day of moderate use, or about 10 hours of screen-on time. The phone supports 45W fast charging, which can charge the battery from zero to 50% in about 20 minutes, or to full in about 60 minutes. The phone does not support wireless charging, which is a shame, but not a deal-breaker.

The Nothing Phone (2a) also has a battery saver mode, which can extend the battery life by reducing the brightness, the refresh rate, and the background activity of the phone. The phone also has a battery health feature, which can monitor the battery condition and optimize the charging behavior to prevent degradation.

The Nothing Phone (2a) has a superb battery life, which is one of the best features of the phone. The phone can easily last for a whole day or more, and it can charge quickly and conveniently. The phone also has some smart features that can protect and enhance the battery performance. The Nothing Phone (2a)'s battery is one of the reasons why the phone is a great value for money.

Technical Specifications:

Battery Type5000 mAh, non-removable
Charging45W wired, 50% in 23 min, 100% in 1 hour (advertised)

Final Verdict

The Nothing Phone (2a) is a budget phone that offers a lot of personality and value for its price. The phone has a unique and eye-catching design, a big and bright display, a long battery life, a solid performance, and a fun software. The phone also has a decent dual camera, and a 5G support on some carriers.

However, the phone also has some drawbacks, such as the lack of wireless charging. The phone also has a plastic back that is prone to scratches and smudges, a display that is not very sharp or accurate, and a camera that is not very impressive or versatile. The phone also does not support 5G on some US carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon.

The Nothing Phone (2a) is not a perfect phone, but it is a good phone for its price. The phone is more than just a budget phone, and it has some character and charm that make it stand out from the crowd. The phone is worth considering if you are looking for a budget phone that has some personality and value.

Pros

  • Unique and eye-catching design
  • Big and bright display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Long battery life with 45W fast charging
  • Solid performance with MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor
  • Fun software with Nothing OS 2.5
  • Decent dual camera with 50MP sensors
  • 5G support on some carriers

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • Plastic back that is prone to scratches and smudges
  • Display that is not very sharp or accurate
  • Camera that is not very impressive or versatile
  • No 5G support on some US carriers