Nothing Phone 2(a) Review:  Eye-catching Design and More!

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Verdict

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Nothing says the Phone 2a is an upgrade from the original Phone 1, but it’s not a total slam dunk. Sure, it’s got a beefed-up processor, a slightly brighter screen, and a bigger battery. But it’s still got a plastic body, slower storage speeds, and no wireless charging.

So, should you buy the Nothing Phone 2a? At INR 23,999, the Nothing Phone 2a offers a smooth, bloatware-free experience, which is rare these days. And yeah, the design might divide opinions. Still, you have to give it to Nothing for being bold and trying something different.
Plus, it’s got a solid primary camera, decent battery life, and smooth performance. That combo could really catch the eye of a lot of folks in India. So if these things matter for you they may consider the Nothing Phone 2a. Is it the best value-for-money phone in the bracket? No, you can look at phones like Realme 12+ 5G and iQOO Z9 if you are looking for the best bang for your buck, but mind you, you will have to deal with bloatware and spam notifications.

Pros

  • Inspiring design
  • Decent 50MP sensor
  • Long battery life
  • AMOLED display

Cons

  • Slow charging speed
  • No charger inside the box
  • Camera lags
  • Smudge prone

Nothing Phone 2a review – Eye-catching Design and More!

It’s Nothing Phone 2a review time. Nothing’s first-ever budget phone offers a transparent style with a glyph interface similar to the original Phone 1 and the Phone 2. It’s got that transparent look that’s hard to miss, and Nothing is selling it for a decent price, starting at Rs 23,999.

OnePlus’ former co-founder Carl Pei’s new startup, Nothing, debuted with a significant promise to shake up the boring old smartphone game with some cool and unique designs. People were like, “Really? Can these guys come with a unique design and Nothing like we have seen from giants like Apple and Samsung?” Well, they have delivered three times now.

With the Phone 2a, Nothing has stepped into the crowded space. It’s a segment where you can find all kinds of phones – gaming ones, budget cameras, selfie phones, you name it. So, the big question is, how does the Nothing Phone 2a compare to the competition? Is it worth buying? Let’s dive in and find out, shall we?

Nothing Phone 2a Price & Availability

Nothing Phone 2a comes in three configurations-

It can be purchased via the Flipkart, TataCliq, and Amazon websites. Currently, it is available in two shades- Black and White.

Nothing Phone 2A ReviewDesign & Build

Nothing Phone 2a review - Design

Nothing likes to keep things transparent, so they’ve done it again with the Phone 2a, but this time, the back panel is made of polycarbonate instead of glass. It looks sleek and premium, coming in two colors—black and White. The screen is still protected by Gorilla Glass 5, and the phone can handle a bit of dust and water splashes, thanks to its IP54 rating.

The sides are flat, and the transition between the back panel and the frame is smooth, making it pleasant to hold. The frame itself has a matte finish that feels solid, although it tends to warm up quickly. The glossy back can get pretty smudgy and attract lint and pet hair. But overall, the design is cool and practical.

Now, the volume buttons might jiggle a bit, but they still have a satisfying click. The bezels around the screen give it a premium look—it looks more premium than its price.

Nothing Phone 2a review

As you flip the phone, the camera module catches your attention. Some people might find it a bit weird-looking, but Nothing calls it “the open eyes” of the phone, with the processor acting as “the brain” right next to it. And, of course, circular Glyph lights have been trimmed compared to Nothing Phone 2.

Nothing Phone 2a review

Nothing should be given an extra point for the horizontal camera module as it means the phone won’t wobble when you lay it flat on a table. But then again, the Glyph interface is all about getting notifications from light patterns when you put your phone face-down.

Speaking of the Glyph, the Phone 2a has three LED stripes instead of the 11 individual pieces on the Phone 2. They still blink and glow for different notifications. You can even make your ringtones and patterns with the Glyph Composer. Although, it can be tricky to get the timing right, and there’s a slight delay when you start recording.

Oh, and that red accent on the back? Just for looks – it’s not a recording light or anything. Seems like Nothing just wanted to add a bit of style there.

Nothing Phone 2A ReviewDisplay

The Nothing Phone 2a display is similar to the one on the Phone 2, at least when it comes to the basics. It’s 6.7 inches big with a 20:9 aspect ratio, and the resolution is 1080 x 2412 pixels, which makes for a sharp display with about 394 pixels per inch.

The Phone 2a screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, which ensures smooth scrolling and navigation. The screen can get bright, too, up to 1,300 nits, which is excellent for using it outdoors in bright sunlight. When you’re reading articles or binge-watching the latest web series, you’ll notice that the display on the Nothing Phone 2a offers some really lovely colors and wide viewing angles. Plus, it supports 10-bit colors and HDR10+, so when you’re watching stuff on Netflix or YouTube, the colors pop, and the picture quality is top-notch.

Plus, there are two color modes to choose from – ‘standard’ for folks who like the default look and ‘alive’ for those who want colors that pop. And don’t worry about scratches – it’s got Gorilla Glass 5 to keep it safe.

Nothing Phone 2A ReviewPerformance

Nothing Phone 2a review

The Phone 2a ships with Android 14-based NothingOS 2.5 software. It’s undergone some significant changes over the past couple of years, and it’s one of the cleanest Android skins out there. However, there are certain instances where you feel flickering issues when launching apps from the lock screen. There’s also slight lag and jitters in the UI when you launch and close the app in quick succession repeatedly.

The user interface is clean and primarily snappy, with lightning-fast animations and all the features you need. Plus, there’s hardly any bloatware – just a couple of Nothing apps and the standard Google ones. That’s pretty rare, especially in the mid-range segment.

I really like the little touches Nothing has added, like the unique shutter sound when you take a photo or the way the screen lights up when you touch it. All these little details add up to a nice user experience.

Let’s talk about how the Phone 2a performs. It’s a mid-range phone, and Nothing opted for a MediaTek chipset called – Dimensity 7200 Pro, a tweaked version of the Dimensity 7200. It runs at a maximum speed of 2.8 GHz, which focuses more on efficiency.

Where Nothing has cut corners is storage. It’s got UFS 2.2 storage, which is a bit slower compared to UFS 3.1 found in some competitors. This results in much slower Sequential Read and write Speeds compared to competitors. But despite that, the Phone 2a’s chipset performs well. It scored over 700,000 in AnTuTu v10, beating out the Realme 12 Pro but falling short of the super powerful POCO X6 Pro.

When it comes to real-world tests, like PCMark Work, it fell behind a bit compared to the POCO X6 Pro and Realme 12 Pro. But the difference in scores was pretty slight. And when it comes to CPU throttling, the Phone 2a did well, only dropping 7% in performance after 15 minutes of heavy use.

In everyday use, the Phone 2a handles most of the things well. There are specific issues even when you’re playing intensive games like Call of Duty: Mobile or BGMI. Plus, it doesn’t heat up too much, even after gaming for a while. It may not be the absolute top performer in its price range, but it still offers the cleanest UI at this price point.

Nothing Phone 2A ReviewCamera

Nothing Phone 2a review - camera

The Nothing Phone 2a camera setup includes dual cameras at the back—a 50 MP primary sensor with OIS (optical image stabilization) and a 50 MP ultrawide sensor with a wide 114-degree field of view. For selfies, they’ve thrown in a 32 MP camera, the same one used in the pricier Phone 2.

Now, there’s this feature called Motion Capture that’s supposed to be great for snapping moving stuff, but it was okay in my tests. Nothing needs to be tweaked more to make the software really shine, especially for tricky subjects like pets or kids.

Nothing Phone 2a camera sample - ultra wide
Camera sample taken with Nothing Phone 2a ultra-wide sensor

Alright, let’s get into how the cameras perform. In good lighting, that 50 MP primary camera takes some pretty sharp pictures. The details are spot-on, and the colors look pretty natural. But sometimes, the highlights can be a bit too bright, messing with the overall dynamic range.

Nothing Phone 2a portrait camera sample

Now, when it comes to portrait shots, it’s a bit hit or miss. Most of the time, the edge detection isn’t excellent, and the skin tones can look a bit off. In shots with bright backgrounds, the subject can end up looking a bit washed out.

But here’s the surprise – low-light shots turn out decent. You get a fair amount of details and colors, although the dynamic range could be better. Still, for the price, these low-light shots are pretty impressive. And the 32 MP selfie camera? It does a solid job, capturing good detail and colors, just like the primary sensor on the Phone 2.

Nothing Phone 2A ReviewBattery Life

The Nothing Phone 2a packs a 5,000 mAh battery, which is the largest battery on a Nothing phone yet. Plus, it supports super-fast 45W wired charging; thumbs up for that.

But here’s the bummer – there’s no charger in the box. Yeah, it’s a big letdown because most other phones in this price range come with a charger included. And just so you know, there’s no wireless charging support either.

Now, onto the battery life itself. The Phone 2a easily lasts a full day on a single charge. I put it through some heavy use – running benchmarks, scrolling through social media, snapping pics, and binging on YouTube videos – and still had about 20% battery left by bedtime.

But here’s the catch – charging it back up to complete isn’t the quickest. It took more than an hour to go from zero to a hundred. So, while the battery life is solid, just be prepared for a bit of a wait when you need to juice it back up.

Should you buy Nothing Phone 2a?

Design

Display

Software

Performance

Camera

Battery Life


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


First reviewed in April 2024.


Aryan VyasAryan Vyas
Aryan is the youngest tech enthusiast at Smartprix, with a deep passion for technology, automobiles, cricket, and Bollywood. He is a meticulous researcher and writer who write on a wide range of tech topics, including smartphones, laptops, wearables, and smart home device.


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