The Nothing Phone 2 has finally arrived, and it is generating significant buzz as one of the most significant smartphone releases of 2023. Following the limited release and midrange specifications of its predecessor, the Nothing Phone 1, the Nothing Phone 2 aims to make a greater impact with its upgraded features, enhanced cameras, and an improved Glyph on its back.
One of the standout features that returns from the previous model is the Glyph, a set of illuminating lights located on the phone’s back. However, it is the design, software, and ergonomic modifications that truly capture the attention of potential buyers.
The Nothing Phone 2 is equipped with nearly flagship-level specifications, providing users with a powerful and smooth performance. Driving this performance is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which was the top-of-the-line processor from the previous year. Although it may not be the latest and greatest, it still offers impressive speed and responsiveness, ensuring a lag-free experience for most tasks.
Nothing Phone 2: Video Review
|Nothing Phone 2
|6.7 inch, LTPO OLED, 1080 x 2412 pixels, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR10+,
|Qualcomm SM8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (4 nm)
|128GB, 256GB, 512GB
|Android 13, Nothing OS 2
|50 MP, f/1.9, 24mm (wide), 50 MP, f/2.2, 114˚ (ultrawide)
|32 MP, f/2.5, (wide), 1/2.74", 0.8µm
|Li-Ion 4700 mAh
|45W wired, 15W wireless, 5W reverse wireless
|162.1 x 76.4 x 8.6 mm (6.38 x 3.01 x 0.34 in)
|201.2 g (7.09 oz)
|White, Dark Gray
The Nothing Phone 2 represents a clear evolution from its predecessor, retaining the angular aluminum frame but introducing a 2.5D curved slice of glass on the rear panel. This design change not only enhances the phone’s aesthetics but also improves the ergonomics, making it more comfortable to hold. Despite the increased screen size of 6.7 inches, the phone fits well in the hand. The rear glass panel is incredibly sturdy, with no flex, giving the device a solid and reliable feel.
While the phone feels large-ish, similar to the size of an iPhone 14 Plus, it teeters on the edge of being too big. However, it remains well-balanced, ensuring that handling the device is not a cumbersome experience. Additionally, the Nothing Phone 2 is IP54 dust and water-resistant, offering protection against the elements. The presence of Gorilla Glass adds an extra layer of durability, minimizing the risk of scratches and scrapes.
Continuing the see-through styling, the Nothing Phone 2 features the iconic Glyph lights, which have undergone upgrades. The Dark Grey color option accentuates the finer details more prominently compared to the Black model of the original phone. Additionally, a white version is available for those who prefer a lighter aesthetic. The layout remains familiar, but the Glyphs now incorporate more LEDs, with a total of 33 compared to the previous 12. The brightness of the Glyph lights remains as impressive as before, but the animations and effects have become more intricate. They can now display timers, react to changes in ringer volume, indicate charging status, and act as a fill light for the rear cameras.
The under-display fingerprint sensor is positioned near the bottom edge of the phone and offers excellent responsiveness and accuracy in detecting fingerprints. This placement ensures convenient access while maintaining the phone’s sleek design.
In terms of color options, the Nothing Phone 2 offers a black model that leans towards a grayish tone, allowing the design elements underneath the glass back to be more visible. Additionally, a white model provides a clean and classic appearance.
Display and sound
The Nothing Phone 2 features a 6.7-inch OLED panel on the front, slightly larger than the screen of its predecessor, the Nothing Phone 1. The display now utilizes LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) technology, allowing for variable refresh rates as low as 1 Hz. With a resolution of 1080 x 2412 pixels and a pixel density of approximately 394 pixels per inch, the screen delivers sharp and crisp visuals. It is HDR10+ compliant and offers a full screen brightness of 1,000 nits, with a peak pixel brightness of 1,600 nits, ensuring vibrant and high-quality imagery.
Unlike the Nothing Phone 1, which required users to choose between 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, the Nothing Phone 2 introduces a dynamic mode that automatically adjusts the refresh rate based on the content being displayed. This enables smooth scrolling when needed while minimizing power consumption during static content. The screen brightness has also been significantly improved, with a peak brightness of 1,600 nits, enhancing outdoor visibility compared to its predecessor.
The Nothing Phone 2 incorporates an under-screen optical fingerprint scanner. When using the fingerprint scanner, the area around the finger illuminates to ensure accurate and quick authentication.
In terms of sound, the Nothing Phone 2 includes a down-firing main speaker accompanied by an earpiece driver responsible for delivering high-end frequencies. Although there is no dedicated headphone port, the phone offers top-tier wireless connectivity with aptX Adaptive Bluetooth streaming, ensuring high-quality audio transmission for wireless headphones and speakers.
Nothing Phone 2: Performance
The Nothing Phone 2 is powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 CPU, which may be a generation old but still delivers flagship-level performance. Despite its age, this processor allows the phone to compete with high-end devices at a considerably lower price point. Qualcomm, the chipmaker, has addressed the heat and power consumption issues that were present in previous iterations, resulting in improved efficiency and performance. Users can expect minimal performance drop-off compared to the latest smartphones available on the market.
With 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the Nothing Phone 2 hits the sweet spot for a device that surpasses midrange specifications. This combination ensures smooth multitasking and ample storage capacity for apps, media files, and documents.
When it comes to gaming, Nothing Phone 2 can handle even the most demanding games. However, to maintain a consistently smooth gaming experience, it may be necessary to dial back some detail settings. Further performance tests will provide a comprehensive understanding of the phone’s gaming capabilities and how it compares to similarly priced competitors.
Overall, the Nothing Phone 2 offers a powerful hardware configuration with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 CPU, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Whether it’s multitasking, storage capacity, or gaming capabilities, the Nothing Phone 2 aims to provide users with a smooth and enjoyable experience without compromising on performance.
The Nothing Phone 2 introduces NothingOS 2.0, marking a significant milestone in the company’s custom Android user interface. The new OS focuses on custom icons and widgets, allowing users to personalize their device to their liking. Notably, widgets can now be added to the always-on display, providing at-a-glance information and quick access to shortcuts. The interface adopts an oversized folder layout and a dark color scheme, offering a unique aesthetic without deviating too far from the standard Android experience. Unlike earlier Android phones that suffered from heavy customization, NothingOS 2.0 maintains compatibility with popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Google Podcasts, which sometimes do not integrate well with Android’s native Material You theming.
One of the standout features of NothingOS 2.0 is the ability to turn quick settings toggles into shortcuts, adding a convenient touch to the user experience. The update also introduces more diverse weather and clock widgets, enhancing the home screen customization options. However, users hope to see Nothing push further in terms of widget functionality. For example, calendar and to-do list widgets that sync with Google Calendar and Google Keep notes would be highly appreciated. Additionally, a now playing widget that recognizes popular streaming apps like Spotify could enhance the overall music experience. While a widget to monitor the battery life of the Ear 2 earphones is currently available, its design may not align seamlessly with the rest of the widget offerings.
Underneath the customized interface, the Nothing Phone 2 still runs on Android 13, providing a familiar ecosystem for users. The app drawer holds all installed applications, and the Google Discover feed is easily accessible with a simple swipe from the home screen. Notably, the phone avoids third-party bloatware, ensuring a clean and streamlined user experience. The device retains the pre-installed Nothing voice recorder and the Nothing X app for pairing with Ear 1, Ear 2, and Ear Stick earphones. In addition, a new Glyph composer app has been developed in collaboration with the Swedish House Mafia dance group. While the app allows for playful customization, it currently offers basic functionality without the ability to layer audio or import personalized sound effects.
The Nothing Phone 2 introduces a new main camera sensor, the Sony IMX890, maintaining a resolution of 50 MP similar to the previous model. The main camera features an f/1.88 aperture lens, phase-detect autofocus, and optical image stabilization. The camera app offers a 2x zoom option that utilizes a combination of sensor cropping and algorithms to deliver a lossless zoom experience. By default, all shots are downsampled to 12 MP, but users can opt for the 50 MP option in the camera settings to utilize the full surface area of the sensor.
The camera system on the Nothing Phone 2 benefits from a year’s worth of image processing improvements. Both the main sensor and the 50 MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera showcase advancements in image processing, including an HDR mode that captures eight separate exposures per shot, compared to the previous model’s three exposures.
The ultrawide camera on the Nothing Phone 2 utilizes the same Samsung JN1 sensor as its predecessor but offers a field of view of 114 degrees. Additionally, it doubles as a macro lens for close-up photography, with a focus distance of 4 cm.
Moving to the front of the phone, the selfie camera is positioned in the top-middle of the display, departing from the top-corner placement found on the Phone 1. The selfie camera features a new 32 MP sensor, doubling the pixel count from the previous model, while retaining an f/2.5 aperture lens.
The Nothing Phone 2 comes equipped with a 4700mAh battery, a modest increase from the 4500mAh cell found in its predecessor, the Phone 1. This upgrade is particularly welcome considering the larger screen size and more powerful processor in the Phone 2, which require additional power. While it’s still early to determine the exact battery performance, the Phone 1, after receiving software updates, proved to be a reliable all-day phone. It’s safe to assume that the Phone 2 will offer a similar experience.
In terms of charging capabilities, the Nothing Phone 2 offers decent speeds. It supports a maximum 45W charging over USB-C, allowing for fast charging when connected to a compatible power source. Additionally, the phone is compatible with a 15W Qi wireless charging pad, enabling convenient wireless charging options. It’s worth noting that the power brick is not included in the box, so users will need to supply their own. Furthermore, the Phone 2 supports reverse wireless charging, allowing users to wirelessly charge smaller devices like Nothing’s Ear 2 wireless earphones.
Nothing Phone 2: Conclusion
The Nothing Phone 2 holds a unique and compelling position in the market with its impressive specifications starting at a price of $600. It stands out among competitors in its price range, capturing attention with its combination of features, style, and precise targeting. While it may lack some extravagant features found in more expensive models, it compensates with a well-rounded package that caters to various user needs.
The Nothing Phone 2 offers abundant power, ensuring smooth performance for everyday tasks and demanding applications. Its long-lasting battery provides reliable usage throughout the day, and the camera system captures presentable photos considering its price point. The inclusion of Glyph lighting, which has evolved beyond a mere novelty, adds a unique and captivating visual element to the phone. Additionally, the revamped user interface enhances the overall user experience, offering a more cohesive and intuitive interface.
With improved performance, streamlined cameras, and a larger screen, the price increase of the Nothing Phone 2 is justified, especially when compared to its competitors like the Google Pixel 7. While some rivals may surpass it in terms of photography capabilities, and it may not be the ultimate gaming phone. Its combination of features, style, and overall value sets it apart from other options in the market.
In summary, well-rounded specifications, stylish design, and cohesive user experience make it a compelling choice for consumers. While it may not excel in every aspect, its pocket presence and overall value outshine many alternatives.