Home Reviews Nothing Phone (2a) Review – Not Your Regular Android Smartphone!

Nothing Phone (2a) Review – Not Your Regular Android Smartphone!

Nothing Phone (2a)

Just eight months after the highly anticipated release of the Nothing Phone (2), its younger counterpart, the Phone (2a), has arrived. While the Phone 2 impressed tech enthusiasts with its transparent design and powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, its high price firmly placed it in the flagship category. The Phone (2a) takes a different approach, targeting a more affordable price point in the competitive mid-range market.

Similar to its pricier predecessors, the Phone (2a) features two rear cameras, a transparent back panel, and a flashy Glyph Interface, albeit with some minor tweaks. What hasn’t changed is the brand’s core philosophy and their operating system. Priced at INR 23,999, the Nothing Phone 2a serves as a crucial test for the brand and its founder, Carl Pei, who is somewhat replicating the model of his OnePlus venture here. Can the Phone 2a manage to establish its own niche in a market overflowing with numerous options? Let’s find out in our comprehensive review.

Table of Contents

Nothing Phone (2a) Design

The Nothing Phone (2a) inherits the iconic transparent design of its predecessors, the Phone (1) and Phone (2). This distinctive aesthetic not only looks impressive but also offers a fascinating view of the phone’s internal components. Some people find it to be a great conversation starter and a testament to the technological marvel in their hands. However, others may perceive it as a gimmick or feel uneasy about the level of vulnerability it exposes.

While the transparent back is the highlight of the design, it’s important to consider the other elements as well. Unlike the metal frame of the Phone (2), the Phone 2a features a plastic construction to achieve a more affordable price point. However, this choice does compromise the premium feel a bit. The flat AMOLED display with minimal bezels adds a modern touch, and the in-display fingerprint sensor provides added convenience and security.

The color options for the Phone (2a) have been expanded to include three choices: Black, White, and Off-White. We currently have the Black variant, which has a stealthy feel. However, if you want to showcase the transparent design, we recommend opting for the White color.

Nothing Phone (2a) ReviewAnother notable change is the central placement of the cameras on the back panel, as opposed to the corner, and the simplified Glyph Interface, which now consists of only three sections. The Phone (2a) features 90-degree sides, rounded edges, and a flat frame, making it comfortable to hold.

The power button is located on the right side, while the volume buttons are on the left side, making them easily accessible even when using the phone with one hand. However, the buttons could have been more tactile. At the bottom, you’ll find the USB Type-C port, a speaker, a microphone, and the SIM card tray, while the top only houses the second microphone.

Overall, the Phone (2a)’s design is a double-edged sword. It boasts a unique and undeniably eye-catching aesthetic, but the choice of materials and the potential for smudges may not appeal to everyone. However, for those who value individuality and enjoy glimpses into the inner workings of their phone, the Phone 2a offers a design that truly stands out.

Nothing Phone 2a Display

Nothing Phone (2a)The Phone (2a) features a 6.7-inch flexible AMOLED panel with full-HD+ resolution, a refresh rate ranging from 30Hz to 120Hz, 10-bit color, a touch sampling rate of 240Hz, and a peak brightness of up to 1,100 nits. Although the display is similar in size to the Phone (2), it has slightly lower specifications to maintain an affordable price.

Nevertheless, the quality is still excellent compared to competitors, offering richer colors, deeper blacks, and superior viewing angles. Although it is not technically LTPO, it does support a variable refresh rate that can go as low as 30Hz. Furthermore, the phone boasts equally sized bezels all around, providing a more premium feel to the front of the device.

The display’s peak brightness of 1,100 nits is also worth noting, ensuring excellent visibility even in bright outdoor conditions. Whether you’re checking directions on a sunny day or reading emails on a park bench during your lunch break, the display remains clear and readable.

Nothing Phone (2a) Software

Nothing Phone (2a)The Nothing Phone (2a) stands out with its nearly stock Android experience. At its core, it features the Nothing OS 2.5, a custom skin that adds personality and unique features.

When it comes to user experience, Nothing OS 2.5 prioritizes a clutter-free interface. It closely adheres to Google’s Material You design language, ensuring a consistent and intuitive layout. Icons are sharp and minimalist, animations are smooth, and the overall aesthetic leans towards clean lines and subtle animations.

But Nothing OS 2.5 doesn’t stop at aesthetics. It incorporates the signature “dot matrix” aesthetic found on the Phone (2) into the software, injecting some personality. App icons and system elements subtly integrate a grid-like pattern, adding a playful design choice that sets Nothing OS apart from the standard Android experience.

In addition to its visual appeal, Nothing OS 2.5 introduces features aimed at enhancing the user experience. One of these features is the “Glyph Interface”, which utilizes the phone’s LED strips on the back to provide visual notifications for calls, messages, and charging status.

Nothing is continuously working to add more features to Nothing OS, and since the Phone 2a’s launch, it has already received four OTA updates to improve system fluidity.

Nothing Phone (2a) Performance

Nothing Phone (2a)The Nothing Phone (2a) takes a step back from the flagship Snapdragon processor found in the Phone (2) and instead opts for the more budget-friendly MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro. This custom-developed chip, designed specifically for the Phone 2a, strikes a balance between affordability and processing power, making it ideal for everyday tasks and light to moderate gaming.

The Dimensity 7200 Pro is sufficient for handling everyday tasks with ease. Multitasking between apps, browsing the web, and using social media platforms feels smooth and responsive. The phone also performs well with light gaming, but don’t expect it to deliver powerhouse performance for demanding games like Genshin Impact or PUBG Mobile on high settings. These titles may experience occasional frame drops or stutters during intense gameplay.

While benchmark scores don’t always directly translate to real-world performance, they can provide a general idea of a phone’s processing power. In benchmarks like AnTuTu, the Phone 2a scores lower than flagship phones, reflecting the limitations of the Dimensity 7200 Pro. On AnTuTu, the Phone (2a) scored 690,265 points. Results were similar when we ran Geekbench 6 on the phone, obtaining a single-core CPU score of 1,125 and a multi-core score of 2,518. However, these scores are still respectable for a mid-range device, and for most users, the difference in raw processing power may not be readily apparent in day-to-day use.

Moving on to the battery, the Phone (2a) is equipped with a 5,000mAh cell, the largest battery used in a Nothing product to date. Previous Nothing phones have already proven to have solid battery life, and the Nothing Phone 2a performs even better, lasting close to 2 days on a single charge with typical use.

The phone supports up to 45W fast charging, but since Nothing does not provide a charger in the box, we were forced to charge the phone using a generic PD charger, which took a little over 90 minutes to fully charge the battery.

Overall, the Nothing Phone (2a) delivers on the promise of being a capable mid-range device. It handles everyday tasks smoothly and can handle light gaming without any issues.

Nothing Phone (2a) Camera System

Nothing Phone (2a)The camera performance of the Nothing Phone (2a) is a mixed bag. On paper, the specifications seem promising. The rear camera features a dual-camera setup: a primary 50MP wide sensor and a 50MP ultrawide sensor. This combination implies the potential for capturing detailed photos and expansive landscapes. However, real-world performance tells a more nuanced story.

In good lighting conditions, the Phone (2a) takes decent photos. The main sensor captures a good amount of detail, and colors appear reasonably accurate. However, the camera can sometimes struggle with oversaturation, especially in vibrant scenes. Overall, the daylight photos are suitable for sharing on social media with a bit of editing.

Low light performance is where the camera struggles. Photos become noticeably noisier, details get lost, and there can be issues with focus. Although Night Mode helps brighten up the scene, the resulting images often have artifacts and a loss of sharpness.

The 32MP front-facing camera delivers decent selfies. In good lighting, selfies capture decent detail, but low light performance suffers from noise and a lack of sharpness.

The camera system of the Nothing Phone (2a) is a case of unfulfilled potential. The hardware on paper suggests promise, but real-world performance is inconsistent. While the phone captures decent photos in good lighting conditions, the limitations of the ultrawide sensor and the struggles in low-light scenarios hold it back. That said, subsequent OTA updates since the launch have certainly improved the camera tuning, but there is still room for improvement.

Nothing Phone (2a) Review – The Verdict

Nothing Phone (2a)The Nothing Phone (2a) is a unique option in the crowded mid-range market, thanks to its eye-catching transparent design, smooth display, and bloatware-free software. The phone also performs well for everyday tasks and light gaming, thanks to its custom-developed MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor.

Additionally, it boasts impressive battery life. However, the camera system has mixed results despite its promising specifications.

Overall, the Nothing Phone (2a) stands out for its individuality. If you appreciate a phone that dares to be different with its transparent design and focus on user experience, and if you don’t require a top-notch camera, the Phone (2a) offers a compelling choice at a competitive price.


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