Nothing Phone (2a) review

The Phone (2a) punches above its weight with a large, sharp display, long-lasting battery, and smooth performance – all at a competitive price.

GDGTME Team  •  April 13, 2024

Editor's Choice - Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

Nothing Phone (2a)

The Phone (2a) punches above its weight with a large, sharp display, long-lasting battery, and smooth performance – all at a competitive price. The unique design stands out, avoiding the typical budget phone look. While the plastic build might not be for everyone, it feels sturdy and offers basic water resistance. Overall, the Phone (2a) is a compelling option for budget-minded users who prioritize style and practicality.

  • Unique, eye-catching design
  • Bright display
  • Good battery life
  • Decent performance
  • Good all-around camera performance
  • Competitive price
  • No charger in the box
  • No wireless charging
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • No headphone jack

The Nothing Phone (2a) is a phone designed to disrupt the mid-range android smarphone market. It has lower-cost parts but retains many of the Phone 2’s essential features. For those who prefer Nothing’s unique appearance and everyday usability to cutting-edge features, this makes it the ideal option.

Positioned between the Phone (1) and Phone (2) in terms of price and features is the Phone (2a). The remarkable 6.7-inch, 120Hz AMOLED display is still present for a bright and engaging visual experience. Rich colors and deep blacks makes media consumption and gaming enjoyable, even though it forgoes LTPO technology and peak brightness in comparison to the Phone 2.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review


DIMENSIONS:161.74 x 76.32 x 8.55mm
BATTERY:5,000 mAh
DISPLAY6.7-inch (1082 x 2412) 30Hz to 120Hz AMOLED Display
LTPO 4.0 ProXDR AMOLED Display
FRONT CAMERA:32 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/2.74″ 1080p@60fps
REAR CAMERA:Primary camera: 50 MP, f/1.9, (wide), 1/1.56″, PDAF, OIS
Ultra-wide camera: 50 MP, f/2.2, 114˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.76″, 0.64µm 4K@30fps, 1080p@60/120fps, gyro-EIS
OS:Nothing OS 2.5 (Android 14)
8GB / 12GB RAM
CHIPSET:Mediatek Dimensity 7200 Pro
SENSORS:Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Water and Dust ResistanceIP54

View full specifications here.


Similar to the Phone 1 and Phone 2, the packaging is composed of recyclable materials and includes the phone, documentation, a USB Type-C to Type-C charging cable, and a SIM ejector tool. The charging cable features a cool, transparent design. A screen protector is also pre-applied on the phone.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

The box includes:

  • Nothing Phone (2a)
  • Type-C Cable
  • Safety information and warranty card
  • Screen protector (pre-applied)
  • SIM tray ejector

Design & Display

The Phone (2a) updates the translucent back that has long been a defining feature of Nothing phones. This phone is lighter because it is made of plastic rather than glass. The view from the back has also been altered by this modification. The Phone (2a) eliminates the complex intricacies of the actual components in favor of a more straightforward design that centers on the camera module and is encircled by a beautiful coil-like pattern.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

The iconic Glyph Interface’s is another noteworthy change. The Phone (2a) has a reduced light display, with only three light strips as opposed to the Phone 2’s eleven. The essential features are still there, though. Even with the phone facedown on a table, the Glyph system continues to softly glow alert and ringtone indications. The smooth integration with applications such as Uber is still present, providing a visual countdown with one LED turning on as your ride gets closer.

The camera module also undergoes a relocation in the Phone (2a). It moves away from the earlier versions’ vertical arrangement and centers itself on the upper portion of the back. This positioning gives the phone a distinct retro-robot look by creating a slightly elevated, pill-shaped hump that resembles a set of eyeballs.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

The phone is more impact-resistant and lighter than phones with glass backs because its body is mostly composed of polycarbonate. Fingerprints seem to stick to polycarbonate more easily and scratch it. However, the recycled aluminum frame feels more grippy, which enhances comfort when held in the hand.

The Phone (2a) has an IP54 certification, which is a modest improvement over the IP53 rating of the Phone 1. This indicates that while splashes and dust infiltration are OK, submersion is not recommended.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

Like its predecessors, the Phone (2a)’s display is still its best feature. The impressive 91.65% screen-to-body ratio of this big, 6.7-inch AMOLED panel makes content genuinely immersive. The display guarantees a seamless viewing experience with its smooth 120Hz adjustable refresh rate. Even without the Phone 2’s LTPO technology, which allows for even finer refresh rate adjustments, it offers an excellent experience for the price.

Also moved, the front-facing camera is now situated in the upper-center of the screen. Apart from that, the Phone (2a) has an in-display fingerprint sensor that unlocks phones faster and more reliably than the one on the Phone 1. Although Face Unlock is also an option, its consistency may be lacking for quick phone access.


While Nothing phones have historically relied on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, the Phone (2a) takes a different approach. This time around, it uses a custom MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro chip. This choice translates to a modest performance boost compared to the Snapdragon 778G found in the Phone 1.

Nothing boasts an 18% performance improvement for the Phone (2a), thanks to the efficient 4-nanometer process the Dimensity 7200 Pro is built on. The company attributes this gain to better software and hardware integration. When using the phone, it does feel fast overall, with apps opening and responding quickly. There were, nevertheless, occasional hiccups. Particularly the camera app may occasionally take a while to launch, which could be frustrating if you miss an opportunity to snap a quick picture.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

Gaming on the Phone (2a) proves surprisingly capable for its price range. Games like Genshin Impact run smoothly on medium to high settings. However, the phone did exhibit some stuttering during intense moments with heavy particle effects. Additionally, the phone tended to heat up slightly during extended gaming sessions with demanding titles like Genshin Impact and Call of Duty Mobile at high settings. Thankfully, the warmth never reached uncomfortable levels or hindered performance.

The Phone (2a) is lacks a microSD card slot, a feature that is still present in certain mid-range phones. Sadly, your options for built-in storage on the Phone (2a) are restricted to 128GB or 256GB.


The Phone (2a) features a 50MP main sensor and a 50MP ultra-wide sensor. While these cameras deliver decent results, they don’t excel in terms of exceptional brightness or sharpness. Focusing and capturing images feel speedy for the most part, with the occasional hiccup when launching the camera app.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

By default, the rear cameras capture 12MP photos, which are adequate for social media sharing. You can opt to shoot in 50MP, capturing more detail, but this comes at the cost of losing zoom functionality – a similar trade-off to the previous model, limiting versatility. While details hold up at 12MP from a distance, they falter under close scrutiny. The camera can also struggle with capturing a wider dynamic range, resulting in some areas of photos appearing overly dark or blown out.

Despite the limitations, the Phone (2a) deserves a nod for its approach to rear cameras. It avoids the trend of including unnecessary macro or depth sensors to inflate camera count, a tactic often seen in mid-range budget phones.

The main camera performs well, boasting a respectable 1/1.56-inch sensor. However, the f/1.9 aperture isn’t the widest. Nothing’s image processing applies a distinctive style that emphasizes contrast, making reds appear more vibrant. Shutter speeds are commendable, generally exposing light sources correctly.

The ultra-wide camera holds its own within its price range. The fact that it utilizes a denser 50MP lens gives it an edge over other mid-range phones that typically rely on 8MP or 12MP ultra-wide sensors. Night mode activates readily, but holding the phone steady for a second can yield beautiful, expansive shots.

The front-facing camera boasts 32MP resolution and delivers satisfactory results. However, the shutter can exhibit a slight lag.

Overall, the Phone (2a)’s camera system is competent for capturing everyday moments. While it may not compete with higher-end options in terms of raw capabilities, it provides a well-rounded photography experience for its price point.

Nothing Phone 2 OS

The Phone (2a) arrives equipped with Nothing OS 2.5, built upon the foundation of Android 14. The UI stands out with its unique visual identity, while staying true to the core Android 14 experience. The result is a stylish and feature-rich interface that’s free from clutter and easy to navigate.

Nothing Phone (2a) review
Nothing Phone (2a) review

The signature graphic design, inspired by dot matrix displays, makes a comeback. This theme extends to unique widgets, stylized app icons, and a near-monochrome color palette, creating a cohesive aesthetic. Even the notification sounds echo a retro vibe, taking you back to the 1990s.

In terms of bloatware, the Phone (2a) keeps things clean. You’ll find a few pre-installed apps, such as Nothing X for configuring your Nothing Ear 2 buds and the Glyph Composer for creating custom Glyph light animations that dance to your music.

In terms of software support, the Phone (2a) offers three years of major OS updates and four years of security updates.

Battery & Audio

The Phone (2a) is equipped with a 5,000mAh battery, promising extended use on a single charge. According to Nothing, the device can last for more than 35 hours under typical daily usage conditions. This translates to reliable performance throughout the day, even for users who engage in moderate to heavy smartphone activity.

The Phone (2a) can handle up to 45W of fast charging. The test used a 45W charger and took about 80 minutes to reach a 0-100% charge.

The audio experience on the Phone (2a) is provided by a stereo speaker setup. While the sound quality might not be audiophile-grade, it delivers decent audio that enhances the overall multimedia experience, especially considering the phone’s price point.

Nothing Phone 2 Verdict

With a focus on transparency and a Glyph interface, the Nothing Phone (2a) has a distinctive appearance. It has an extended battery life and provides adequate performance for daily use. The camera system performs admirably throughout the day but struggles somewhat in dim light. It may not have all the bells and whistles found in flagship phones, but its easy-to-use software and reasonable price point make it a solid option for those on a tight budget who value design, performance, and battery life.

The Phone (2a) punches above its weight with a large, sharp display, long-lasting battery, and smooth performance – all at a competitive price. The unique design stands out, avoiding the typical budget phone look. While the plastic build might not be for everyone, it feels sturdy and offers basic water resistance. Overall, the Phone (2a) is a compelling option for budget-minded users who prioritize style and practicality.

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