The UK, Europe, Japan, and India all had access to Nothing’s initial phone, which was appropriately dubbed Nothing Phone 1. I felt envious as a tech nerd from the US. Beyond its distinctive style, Nothing’s first phone was universally praised as a good gadget at a fair price. Nevertheless, the competition in the Android market isn’t quite as diversified here as it is in the locations where you can readily buy the Phone 1. We felt as though we were being left out.
I’m happy that the Nothing Phone 2, the company’s second phone, is now available in the US. It retains the general vibe of the Phone 1, but in a larger, more robust package. After using the phone for a few weeks, I’m a fan, but even at its $599 starting price, the Phone 2 won’t appeal to many Android aficionados due to its shaky 4G compatibility on Verizon and average camera quality.
It was shipped in a high quality carboard box, known as cutie carton in some places.
Network and availability
On the business website, you may order the Nothing Phone 2 right now. The entry-level model with 8 GB of Memory and 128 GB of storage costs $599 in the US. For $699 or $799, you may increase to 12 gigabytes of Memory and 256 GB of storage. Although the $599 version with eight GB of Memory is only available in gray, it is available in either white or gray.
The Phone 2 is approved for use on both AT&T and T-Mobile, however it is only currently offered directly from Nothing. It lacks network certification for Verizon. It’s still compatible with Verizon, and sub-6 5G connectivity will be great. Nevertheless, the LTE band 13 capability needed for Verizon’s 4G connectivity is absent from the Nothing Phone 2. The Nothing Phone 2 won’t likely function for you if you’re on Verizon (or an MVNO that uses its network) and rely on 4G connectivity.
Nothing Phone design and display
The translucent rear of the Nothing Phone 2 mimics that of the Phone 1, revealing some swanky internals and Nothing’s distinctive Glyph user interface. The biggest variations between one version and the next are the size (the Phone 2 has a 6.7″ display, which is somewhat larger than the Phone 1’s 6.55″ panel) and color selections. The Phone 2 is available in white and the type of smokey gray you can see in the photographs, as opposed to the Phone 1, which was only available in white or black.
The components inside the transparent back panel have more roughness than they did in the Phone 1, which makes the Phone 2 even more aesthetically pleasing. Light plays on the tiny bumps and ridges in intriguing ways, highlighting another new detail that is highlighted by the gray hue. The Phone 2’s rear panel curves slightly at the edges to meet the flat metal frame, in contrast to the Phone 1, which had flat glass on the back (nothing refers to it as “pillowed glass”). Personally, I believe the flat rear of the Phone 1 had a cleaner appearance.
This time around, the Glyph lights on the phone’s back have a slightly modified layout and more independently configurable zones than the Nothing Phone 1 did. Even so, they still only emit one color of light; these are not tiny RGB strips.
Except from those variations, this design is extremely similar to the Nothing Phone 1. Nothing suggests this was done on purpose; the business wants to establish a strong, recognisable visual identity that can be carried over to upcoming gadget generations. There, I am powerless to gripe. Nothing’s design language is still distinctive and eye-catching in comparison to the majority of other phones available today, even though it hasn’t changed significantly year over year.
The hardware feels quality, too: there’s no creaking or flexing, the buttons are clicky, and the haptics are nice and firm, if a little loud. The phone is IP54 rated, so it’s splashproof, but you still try not to submerge it in water.
There’s an optical fingerprint sensor near the bottom of the screen. The scanner is just a touch lower in the display than I’d like, but it’s a good one: it’s faster and more reliable than the sensors in Google’s Pixel 7 phones, though not quite as quick as the ultrasonic scanners Samsung uses in its flagships.
Software and performance
In the Phone 2, nothing’s software basically looks the same as it did on the Phone 1. The UI here feels a lot like Google’s version of Android because the firm gave Android 13 the same light touch of customization that it gave Android 12. If you still find that to be too strange for you, you can initially set up the phone with stock Android rather than Nothing OS.
Nonetheless, I enjoy Nothing OS since none of the modifications it makes are intrusive or feel forced. The Phone 2 primarily uses Google’s system apps, including Phone, Messaging, Calculator, Clock, and others, however there are a few widgets with the Nothing brand and a few apps with Nothing’s distinctive dot-matrix design. Thankfully, there is no bloat, such as pre-installed social networking or games, or programs that perform two functions at once (looking at you, Samsung).
You have the choice to add Nothing’s widgets on your lock screen, but I’m not sure any of them are worthwhile enough to trade notification space for them. I also wish it wasn’t just limited to Nothing’s widgets. On your home screen, you can also choose to enlarge specific app and folder icons so that they take up four instead of one space. Moreover, Nothing’s launcher features a feature that can force all of your program icons to appear in monochrome, even if they don’t yet support dynamic themes. Standard icons, appropriate Material You theming, and unique icon packs from the Play Market are also options.
Nothing guarantees four years of bimonthly security updates and three years of Android updates, which will cover the Phone 2 through Android 16. But, Nothing has only been a company since 2020, and just last year did it release its first phone, making it difficult to anticipate how long-term support will be. But, the Phone 1 hasn’t yet fallen behind in upgrades, so I’m optimistic Nothing will succeed.
The Nothing Phone 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and either eight or 12 gigs of RAM. The 8+ Gen 1 was Qualcomm’s 2022 flagship CPU, found in devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the OnePlus 10T. It’s not as powerful as this year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but the Phone 2 is still a remarkably snappy device. Apps don’t feel remotely slow to open, multitasking works great, and gaming performance is reliably smooth.
My review unit is the $699 model that comes with 12 GB of RAM, but I don’t think most people would miss those four extra gigs. If you happen to need more than 128 gigabytes of storage, the added RAM is nice headroom to have, but otherwise, you should be safe with the $599 base model.
The Phone 2 features the Glyph interface from Nothing. The fundamental idea is the same: LED strips are hidden beneath the clear rear glass. They glow when you receive a notice. With Nothing’s Glyph Composer function, you can assign various notifications different light patterns and make your own ringtone/Glyph combinations. When you place the Nothing Phone 2 face down, the Flip to Glyph function from the Phone 1 makes a comeback as well. Your notifications are hushed, allowing the Glyph lights to take over.
But, there are a few useful new additions. Any app’s notification channels can be set up as Essential Notifications, which causes one of the Glyph strips to illuminate and remain illuminated until you view or dismiss the notifications. The Glyph lights become far more practical for this reason alone; you can keep your phone face down and still determine, at a look, whether it requires your attention.
There is a new Glyph Timer feature that, interestingly, only works with timers that are set from a specific widget or the phone’s settings and not through the Clock app. It uses one of the Glyph strips as a type of progress bar for timers. Moreover, Nothing has developed an experimental function for the Uber app that uses the Glyph interface to display the status of your ride. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, I assume I would still be closely monitoring the screen of my phone if I were waiting for a ride.
In all, the Glyph lights don’t add a ton of utility; a single notification LED on the back of the phone would more or less accomplish the same thing. But they look cool, and they don’t detract from any other aspect of the phone. It might be a gimmick, but at least it’s a harmless one.
The Nothing Phone 2 has two 50-megapixel rear cameras: one primary at f/1.9 and one ultrawide at f/2.2. Photo performance is mixed.
In good light, the Phone 2 typically takes good pictures. Colors look natural, detail is sharp, and shadows are refreshingly dark — while many smartphone cameras aggressively brighten darker areas in photos, the Phone 2 is content to let them fall to near-black a lot of the time. I appreciate that.
In increasingly difficult lighting situations, things become a little trickier. Nothing’s picture processing may use improvement, despite the Phone 2’s use of tried-and-true camera hardware (the primary shooter utilizes the same sensor as the OnePlus 11). It’s common to lose detail in both highlights and shadows in settings with strong contrast.
In low-light conditions, the cameras also frequently employ unnecessarily lengthy exposures. The fact that a longer exposure results in a brighter image is sort of advantageous. But, I’ve seen single exposure shutter speeds as slow as 1/5. Even with optical image stabilization, it can be challenging to take a crisp handheld photo at such slow speeds.
Another sporadic issue is shutter lag. The Phone 2 frequently takes a second or more to really capture a picture once you hit the shutter button, even in somewhat good light. Although it’s not often a problem, I have occasionally lost images of moving objects due to an unanticipated gap of half a second before the phone shot the picture.
Battery and charging
The 4,700mAh battery that powers the Nothing Phone 2 easily lasts me for at least a full day of use. I regularly get six or more hours of screen time over the course of 24 or more hours without a charger. This number holds true even when battery-intensive activities like gaming and Google Maps navigation are included. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Phone 2 could go for a full 48 hours between charges with moderate use.
Nobody claims that the Phone 2’s 45-watt fast charging system can charge the battery from 0% to 100% in less than an hour. Nevertheless, to achieve that speed, a PPS charger must be able to produce power at 2.25 amps, which not all can. The maximum charging current at 5A is 15 watts. At 15 watts, a full charge takes roughly one hour and fifteen minutes. The Phone 2 also features reverse wireless charging at up to five watts and wireless charging up to 15 watts.
Given the Nothing Phone 2’s excellent performance, reasonable price, and generally respectable cameras, it’s simple to draw comparisons with the smartphones OnePlus produced during its “flagship killer” era, which was later led by Nothing founder Carl Pei. The same enthusiast customers who like OnePlus’s early phones will likely be attracted to this one, in my opinion: those looking for a reasonable, fascinating alternative to more mainstream options. I’m curious to see how the Phone 2’s general availability in the US will effect the upper-midrange market it is competing in because it will expose it to a larger group of these aficionados than the Nothing Phone 1 did.
Like Nothing, you should always pack your parcels like a pro with quality boxes secured with tape or benzi adezive.