Nothing Phone 2 Review: Too Much Hype or Simply Brilliant?
Nothing Phone 2 is here, and this time, we have seen Carl Pei featured in the videos of many famous YouTubers, which also made me a little excited because I did not have high expectations after a disappointing last year’s Nothing Phone 1. So, the 2nd generation is also a fancy phone with a shiny backside, or will it disrupt the boring Android market with an excellent design and solid performance?
- Beautiful and innovative design
- Strong chipset with excellent performance
- Functional and super cool Glyphs part
- Excellent battery endurance
- Vibrant and Colorful screen
- Outdated USB 2.0 standard
- Very Basic Camera App
Nothing Phone 2 – Price
Nothing Phone 2 is an interesting device competing against some high-end flagship and consistently performing mid-range smartphones. So, the price tag has to be very intelligently set. Nothing Phone 2 comes with a tag of 680$. It is definitely higher than I expected. But I think Nothing is offering the best possible price because they are not a big company that can order thousands of pieces of equipment and get a discount.
They have limited resources, and I think it is a very calculated price from Nothing within their matrices.
Nothing Phone 2 – Unboxing
The unboxing is a little different because mine was ruined by laundry detergent. I thought the plastic cover would protect the case, but Nothing has been keen on preserving the environment by reducing carbon footprints. But overall, the experience is excellent. The box is bigger than your usual smartphone and has a nice design.
After removing the sleeve, we have a book-like box that reveals the smartphone, charging cable, and user guide. That’s pretty much it. Also, I have ordered the darker version this time.
- Body: Aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass 5 back and front
- Weight: 201.2 grams
- Screen: 6.7-inch LTPO OLED screen, 120Hz refresh rate, 1600 nits’ peak brightness, 1080x2412p resolution
- Processor: Octa Core Qualcomm SM 8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
- Memory: 128GB+8GB, 256GB, 512GB + 12GB
- OS: Android 13 with Nothing OS 2.0
- Rear Cameras: 50MP Wide camera with f/1.9 and OIS, 50MP Ultrawide Camera with f/2.2 and 114° FOV
- Front Camera: 32MP camera with f/2.5
- Battery: 4700mAh battery with 45W fast charging
- Speakers: Dual stereo speakers
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display), Accelerometer, Proximity, Gyro, Compass, GPS and NFC
- Connectivity: USB Type-C 2.0, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 802.11
Design and Construction
Nothing Phone 2 is a stunning device. It truly has one of the best designs and offers a unique light show feature in the back. It does not only look stunning but also performs some essential functions. The smartphone has a boxy design with flat sides like we are seeing in many flagships like the iPhone 14 and S23 series. Apart from that, the back of the phone is transparent, giving you a glimpse of some hardware.
The button placement is not traditionally Android; it has a power button on the right and volume rockers on the left. On the bottom, we have the mic, one stereo speaker, a USB Type-C port, and the sim tray.
I really like the design; it feels great in hand, but the size of the phone is massive and does not fit in a normal hand nicely. Moreover, I also have some concerns about the glass used, as it is Gorilla Glass 5, which is definitely not the best one.
Nothing Phone 2 – Display
The display on the smartphone is good. It is a 6.7-inch LTPO OLED panel with a solid 1080×2412 resolution and 120HZ display. It is a fast, colorful, and vibrant screen, but the only thing that concerned me was the brightness. It’s just 150 nits less than the S23, but the difference is quite apparent. Every time I captured pictures in broad daylight, I had to take my sunglasses off, which was never the case with S23.
But in a normal situation, it is vibrant and bright and provides a great gaming experience thanks to its excellent colors and refresh rate.
Nothing Phone 2 – Camera
Nothing Phone 2 has a 50MP dual camera setup. It uses IMX890 as the primary image sensor found in the OnePlus Nord 3, the OnePlus 11, and many Realme and Oppo devices. It is good in most situations and excellent in many and can certainly challenge many of the best out there. But it can be as good as the big guns like S23 Ultra and Xiaomi 13 Pro. The daytime performance is exceptional.
It’s also great when the sun is down. The ultra-wide camera is somewhat boring, but with some creativity, patience, and good light, it can also bring out some great pictures.
Nothing Phone 2 can also shoot great videos. It also has an excellent night mode that also looks great. But there is no 24FPS mode even though the camera is capable, and you achieve that by using third-party camera apps.
The front camera is also good; it cannot shoot in 4K, but pictures look great, and videos are also stable.
One thing that was not so good was the camera app. The interface is a lot like the iPhone camera app, and the night mode automatically kicks in as soon as it gets dark (it can be turned off from the settings). Moreover, in expert mode, the manual controls are minimal. On the contrary, when we look at Samsung and Mi camera app, they are a lot better and has more options without affecting the user experience.
In short, the camera experience is excellent for photography, troubled for videography, and feels underwhelming for the price and the hype surrounding the phone.
Performance and User Experience
The strongest hold of Nothing Phone 2 is its performance. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 offers class-leading performance. Moreover, the incredible optimization done by the company is something admirable. Despite being a 2-generation old flagship chipset, the performance difference is only 5% to 6%.
Apart from the hardware, the software part is also exceptional. I think it provides a better experience than Google Android. Nothing Phone 2 has everything that is a must-have for Google, like tile customizations, the ability to swap through the navigation bar, monochromatic app icons, widgets for the lock screen, an app locker, and cloned app features. If you are an Android fan, Nothing Phone 2 definitely provides the best Android experience.
Another thing that I like about the software is the experimental feature. And this time, it has more apps, and the bugs are literally non-existent.
Battery is another positive for Nothing Phone 2. It has a 4700mAh battery with 45W fast charging. The battery endurance is on par with most flagships of the year.
Glyphs is one of the main reasons for Nothing Phone’s success. And this time it is bigger and has more functions. It also has a slight sound that may look annoying to some people.
Overall, it’s good, but my emotional side is screaming because almost every kid is interested in Nothing Phone 2.
- Outdated USB 2.0 Type-C port
- Basic Camera App
- Does not support e-Sim
- The waterproof rating is IP54
It’s hard to summarize the Nothing Phone 2 in a word. It feels like an old OnePlus device with quick and responsive software, satisfactory camera performance, and specific hardware gaps. Moreover, it is overhyped and overpriced but still gives a special feeling every time I use it. So, it does not have the best value, but the phone is snappy, reliable, and a great performer.
Learn more about the smartphone in our YouTube video.