Nothing Phone 2A hands-on

The budget smartphone is meant to be the “fast fashion” equivalent of it Their leading counterparts. For example, in the case of the largest company that sells Android phones, Samsung series It offers some of the brand's signature experiences at a fraction of the cost. Samsung's mid-range devices are known for their brighter and more vibrant displays, just like Samsung devices Great phone His counterparts. Or, in Google's case Pixel A seriesit's a cheaper way to access Google Camera algorithms and other smart AI technology without purchasing unnecessary features – e.g Temperature sensor.

nothingthe brainchild of Carl Baywho previously helped lead OnePlus into its open embrace Oppo Baba, is launching a budget offering to bring this into the mix. Based on the spec sheet, the Nothing Phone (2a) replicates the first generation Nothing Phone (1). In fact, when you hold it up, it feels like an homage to the previous phone until you turn the device to check the illuminated glyphs – a major feature of Nothing – and you see that the camera array is horizontal rather than vertical. For $350, the Nothing Phone (2a) may be one of the nicest phones you can get at that price as long as you don't mind a version of Android that feels like a work in progress.

None Phone specifications (2a).

The back of the Nothing Phone (2a) has been compared to a pig's snout.
picture: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

If the Nothing Phone (2a) were a piece of clothing, it would be an athleisure collection that didn't sell well in brick-and-mortar stores, so now it's at Nordstrom Rack. This isn't the best step forward, but it's trying something new here. As a result, the Nothing Phone (2a) has the essence of a fashion statement that didn't quite take off when it was supposed to.

Like its siblings, the back is transparent, so you can take a look at the files and screws that make up the back aesthetic of the device. But the relative lightness of the Nothing Phone (2a) reminds you that this is different from what you bought at a higher price.

The glyphs are here, they're an essential part of the Nothing experience, and on the phone (2a), there are three graphical light bars arranged around the circular rear camera module. The camera lenses – a 50MP primary sensor with OIS and a 50MP ultra-wide secondary sensor – are stacked on the back of the device. It's a strange design decision out of nowhere, as the last two smartphones had a traffic light shape with each lens placed on top of the other. Some people have referred to the rear camera array (2a) as a “pig's snout,” which I think is rude, considering pigs are beautiful creatures. At the very least, this distinctive rear aspect will make the Nothing Phone (2a) stand out as a mid-range offering. It's in stark contrast to Google's playbook, which is to make the Pixel A series closely resemble the model it succeeds at.

The Nothing Phone (2a) is a mid-range device. It is powered by a Mediatek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor, and is available with 8GB or 12GB of RAM. However, the developer program is selling it to users in the US, which will default to 12GB for the same price. The phone (2a) has a storage space of up to 256 GB. For those who have access to the 8GB models, the phone starts at around $320.

The 6.7-inch flexible AMOLED display of the Phone (2a) is brighter and larger than the phone it's based on, the first-generation Phone (1), which had a 6.5-inch display. The phone's screen (2a) has a peak brightness of 1,300 nits in intense sunlight, although nothing suggests its typical brightness is around 700 nits. This is still very bright. I'm glad that the flexible AMOLED display also supports Android's built-in “Extra Dim” mode, so it gets dark enough at night.

The battery is another selling point for the Nothing Phone (2a). The 5,000 mAh pack promises up to two days of battery life on a single charge. I plan to put this through its paces with the review unit. Overall, Android devices have improved with the battery offerings in this latest batch of releases. Nothing has to compete with the Samsung and Motorola for longevity of battery life among the mid-range group.

None Phone (2A) OS

Photo of the phone that is nothing (2a)

Nothing is the reason you use a nothing phone in the first place.
picture: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

Another reason why you should choose a mid-range model from Nothing versus different brands in the market is the company's version of Android. It comes packed with highly designed widgets, as well as a launcher that lets you change icons. There are also Nothing's lock screen widgets, which are elegant with an always-on display.

The Nothing Phone (2a) runs Android 14 immediately, below Nothing OS 2.5. If you want the full nothing experience, you'll have to adjust how you set things up. I tried increasing the number of icons on the home screen from four in a row to five, which reduced the “nothing” UI elements that felt too small to tap. Your mileage may vary, but there is clearly a path you need to follow to obtain the trademark.

Screenshots of the phone that is nothing (2a)

A look at Nothing OS 2.5.
Screenshot: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

I also found some inconsistencies in the Nothing version of Android. For example, some settings options require me to tap Apply before a change occurs, while others let me tap to adjust a setting, and then I can back away from the screen to move on to the next thing. It's subtle but it's the kind of interface clutter that appears when a manufacturer customizes Android too much.

On the other hand, there are positives as well. The phone's camera system (2a) features Nothing's “TrueLens Engine.” Featuring a set of algorithms, this engine includes support for Ultra XDR, which was developed in collaboration with Google “to ensure the most accurate display of highlights and shadows in every shot.” Mid-range smartphones are bundled with better cameras, but I have concerns, considering Nothing's Phone (1) was a very poor shooter.

Where to buy a nothing phone (2a)

There's more to come on Nothing Phone (2a). While it's not likely to be a big seller in the way a phone of this caliber from the likes of Samsung or Google would be — Google has had the most success with its A-series lineup — I'd be curious to see how this version ranks among the competition. I love the glyphs and the whimsy they suggest when they light up and explode. But without a camera that can compete with Samsung and Google's versions, the glyphs are a gimmick.

It will be a phone of nothing (2a). available Starting today in select markets. If you're in London, you can also go to the Nothing Store in Soho and literally be among the first people shopping for the phone (2a). For everyone else, you can pre-order today, with the phone becoming available to the general public in “most global markets” starting March 12.

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