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Nothing Phone 2A Review – Not an Average Midranger at $263

Nothing Phone (2A) Review - Not an Average Midranger at $263
Nothing Phone 2A Review – Not an Average Midranger at $263

As a first-time user of a Nothing phone, I approached the Nothing Phone (2A) without any preconceived notions. The question on my mind was simple: is this phone worth the price? I purchased the 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage model for $263, while the 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage variant is priced at $349 which is the base model in the US.

Unboxing and First Impressions

The unboxing experience was impressive, despite the absence of a charging brick. The packaging felt premium, matching the phone’s aesthetic appeal. The phone’s design attracted a lot of friends. It’s very unique.

Build Quality of the Nothing Phone 2A

The plastic back of the phone offers lightness & durability, proving to be more shatterproof than glass. However, it’s prone to scratches and smudges, which can be a downside for some users. The phone survived a drop from 3.5 feet, showing resilience, but the plastic frame did sustain a dent. The black metal buttons on the white plastic frame has the ‘panda’ look.

Nothing Phone (2A) design
Nothing Phone 2A design

Glyph Interface

The glyph lights, a unique feature of the brand, serve as a cool notification reminder even though they are less in quantity here in this phone. While I haven’t found them particularly useful, they add to the phone’s unique identity and set it apart from its competitors.

Display of the Nothing Phone 2A

The display is the standout feature for me. It boasts slim, symmetrical bezels, thinner than those on my iPhone 15 Plus, and lacks a noticeable chin which is common at this price. The screen’s brightness is advertised at 1300 nits, but it seems even brighter in use. It can output 1100 nits in manual brightness better than the iPhone 15 Plus which can output only 1000nits of manual high brightness even though it can reach upto 2000 nits of peak automatic brightness. For its price point, the display quality of the Nothing Phone 2A is exceptional.

Nothing Phone (2A) review video

The Nothing Phone (2A) also boasts a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, a feature that’s quite normal in this price range. This dynamic display can switch between 30Hz and 120Hz, giving bettwer battery life. The battery efficiency is so impressive that it outperforms my iPhone 15 Plus, which still operates at 60Hz in 2024.

While the display colors are slightly more saturated but the overall visual experience is pleasing. The display isn’t just about vibrant colors; it’s responsive and offers a premium haptic feedback that rivals even the most expensive Android phones. But I will say it’s 80% s good as the iPhones. But for the price its damn cool.

The phone’s 6.7-inch display is prone to scratches but its still a gorilla glass 5 protected and the phone’s weight distribution makes it feel lighter (190g) than it actually is, enhancing the overall day to day handling experience.

The phone has 2160Hz PWM frequency on the display, which is beneficial for those sensitive to screen flickering. This high frequency makes the display more comfortable to view than many competitors, including the iPhone 15 Plus with its 480Hz PWM rate.

Nothing Phone (2A) design
Nothing Phone 2A design

Design Details

The SIM tray placement and lack of a micro SD card slot & headphone jack might be drawbacks for some, but the IP54 rating provides peace of mind against splashes.

Speaker and Charging

While the speaker quality is not the best on the market, it delivers a satisfactory audio experience for its price, you can check out the video for comparison. The charging capabilities are impressive, supporting 45W fast charging, which is a significant advantage over some high-end models.

Battery Life

The battery life is exceptional, rivaling even the iPhone 15 Plus with over 8h 41m of battery life in a stress test where my iPhone lasted 7h 16m in the same test .

NothingOS Software Experience

The Nothing Phone 2A offers a software experience that blends the familiarity of stock Android with unique touches like dot matrix sounds and a distinct notification style. The option for a monochromatic theme, quick tiles and widget on home-screen and lock-screen adds to its aesthetic appeal. It also have option to have cloned apps for every apps and games. It can lock any app from the settings. It can record calls without notifying the other party. All of that and frequent updates makes it more interesting experience.

Chipset: Efficiency Over Power

Powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro chipset, a 4nm offering from TSMC, the phone prioritizes efficiency with its octa-core setup featuring two Cortex-A715 cores at 2.8 GHz and six Cortex-A510 cores at 2.0 GHz. While it may not match the iPhone’s raw power (multi core score is same as my on 15 plus’s single core score), it handles everyday tasks with ease. But I have doubt about the future performance with future updates. Because it will offer 3 more android versions. The phone performs well for standard use and casual gaming. The LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.2 storage is one big cost cutting. it may not be the fastest, but they don’t slow down the phone experince in most cases like installing apps or saving big files.

Camera and Heat Management: Room for Improvement

The camera’s shutter lag and processing time are areas where the phone falls short, especially when compared to some competitors. However, the phone excels in heat management, maintaining a comfortable temperature (below40 deg C)even during extended use.

Camera Performance: A Mixed Bag

The Nothing Phone (2A) exhibits a significant shutter lag, which can lead to blurry or ghosting images if the subject isn’t perfectly still mostly in slightly darker scenarios or night time even without night mode . However, recent software updates have improved HDR processing but it still has weird HDR effects sometimes.

Portrait Mode and Zoom Capabilities

Portrait mode on the Nothing Phone 2A is fairly good, offering decent subject cutouts. The 2x zoom maintains photo quality good enough, functioning like a ‘phantom telephoto’ camera. Overall, the camera experience rates a 6.5 out of 10. Not the best not the worst.

Selfie Camera and Macro Limitations

The selfie camera performs well, focusing on closer subjects more effectively than some high-end competitors. However, the phone lacks a dedicated macro camera, which, while not essential, is a feature available in some less expensive models.

Video Recording

While the phone lacks 4K 60fps video recording capabilities, it does offer a Pro Photography mode and good 4K 30fps recording.

For all the video and photo samples Watch the video

Final Thoughts: A Worthy Contender

I will keep this for 2 years to see how Nothing brand takes its software update promise for a phone like this. But despite some current limitations, the phone’s value is undeniable, making it an excellent purchase for just $260.

In conclusion, the Nothing Phone 2A offers a compelling package that challenges higher-priced phones with its Great display, battery life, premium nothingOS experience and unique design but with above average camera experience. It’s a good to see what can be achieved at an affordable price.

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