Nothing Phone (2a) review

GSMArena Team, 13 March 2024.

Introduction

Nothing took a full year to work on the Nothing Phone (2) as the follow-up to the intriguing original Nothing Phone (1). Both of these phones stirred up quite a bit of attention in their own right. The original device was meant to be kind of a midrange market disruptor, while the second model was positioned as much more of a flagship offering, aiming for good value inside an avant-garde package.

It has only been eight months or so since the Nothing Phone (2) and Carl Pei and his Nothing venture have a new device - the Nothing Phone (2a). It's certainly an interesting device - that much of the original formula has stayed the same. The design follows one of the earlier Nothing Phone concepts from back in 2020. Consequently, while the original Nothing Phone (1) and the Nothing Phone (2) share a lot of overarching design traits, the new Nothing Phone (2a) stands out. If nothing else, at least the horizontal dual camera arrangement on the back is not something you see often in 2024.

Nothing Phone (2a) specs at a glance:

  • Body: 161.7x76.3x8.6mm, 190g; plastic body; IP54 - splash, water and dust resistant, 3 LED lights on the back (notifications, camera fill light).
  • Display: 6.70" AMOLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR10+, 700 nits (typ), 1100 nits (HBM), 1300 nits (peak), 1080x2412px resolution, 20.1:9 aspect ratio, 394ppi; Always On Display.
  • Chipset: Mediatek Dimensity 7200 Pro (4 nm): Octa-core (2x2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 6x 2.0 Cortex-A510); Mali-G610 MC4.
  • Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM.
  • OS/Software: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.9, 1/1.56", PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 50 MP, f/2.2, 114-degree, 1/2.76", 0.64┬Ám.
  • Front camera: 32 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/2.74".
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@60/120fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 1080p@60fps.
  • Battery: 5000mAh; 45W wired, 50% in 23 min, 100% in 1 hour (advertised).
  • Connectivity: 5G; Dual SIM; Wi-Fi 6; BT 5.3; NFC.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); stereo speakers.

In terms of features and specs, the new Nothing Phone (2a) sits between the original Nothing Phone (1) and the Nothing Phone (2). This is true price-wise as well. We would say that it is sort of a slightly dialed-back version of the Nothing Phone (2), just like its name suggests.

You get the same size 6.7-inch, 120Hz, HD10+, 10-bit AMOLED display on both phones. However, you don't get LTPO on the 2a and the advertised max brightness of 1300 nits is slightly lower. The 2a gets a customized variation of the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 chipset, called the 7200 Pro, which should be a bit less powerful than the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 inside the Nothing Phone (2), but at the same time, a decent step up from the Snapdragon 778G+ inside the original Nothing Phone (1). The camera setup on the 2a looks nearly identical to that of the Nothing Phone (2), at least on paper and that includes both 50MP rear snappers and the 32MP selfie. One area in which the Nothing Phone (2a) offers a notable improvement over its predecessors is the battery. Despite offering a very similar form factor to the Nothing Phone (2), the Nothing Phone (2a) has a 5,000 mAh battery on board with 45W fast charging, just like the Nothing Phone (2), but missing wireless charging.

Nothing Phone (2a) review

That clearly visible circular coil on the transparent back of the phone, surrounding the horizontal camera duo, which Nothing calls "the eyes," is actually an NFC antenna. Speaking of the back of the Nothing Phone (2a), the signature Nothing Glyph interface is alive and well. It includes 26 individually addressable zones. The three lights support the Glyph Timer, notifications, the Glyph Torch and Glyph Progress.

Unboxing

Nothing has always had a certain aesthetic touch and vision when it comes to its products, and that has extended to packaging and accessories. The Nothing Phone (2a) comes in an eye-catching cardboard box embossed with the phone's design elements on the top. Underneath the covering black sleeve, that is. Even said sleeve is aesthetically pleasing, complete with the signature Nothing dot matrix font. The box itself is sturdy and seems to be made entirely of cardboard, including the inside cradle that securely holds the phone.

Nothing Phone (2a) review

It's not just the packaging that is all pretty though. This attention to detail extends to the accessories. They are quite limited. But both the SIM ejector tool and the USB Type-C to Type-C cable have a special design inspired by the phone itself.

We like the transparent connectors on the cable, but unfortunately, the cable itself is a simple non-eMarked cable, which means that it is limited to 3A of power throughput and 5Gbps of data transfer. Still, neither is hampering the respective capabilities of the Nothing Phone (2a), so we can't complain. We wish there was a charger in the box, but it is what it is.

Reader comments

  • Shaami
  • 12 Jul 2024
  • bxd

You've literally described the definition of a "mid-range" phone and you still don't get it lol.

Why is it that I can't get the nice looking exterior and clean software of NP 2a with the interior of, let's say, Oneplus 12, or even Poco F6? Price isn't the issue here. The combination doesn't even exist! Either I'll have t...

  • Anonymous
  • 22 Jun 2024
  • pKL

I think if the 2a used a Sony sensor rather than a Samsung sensor like pixels then they would be alot closer. It's the only weak point for me. Even Samsung in the A55 used Sony.