Tested: Nothing Phone 2 – Something Special from Nothing
August 09, 2023
The Nothing Phone 2 is here; let's get one thing straight – this is not just another smartphone. Nothing is the latest venture from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, and it is stepping right up to the big leagues, competing with giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung. It sounds ambitious.
It's the little things that make the Nothing Phone 2 stand out. The Phone 2 carries over the striking looks of its predecessor but takes things up a notch with improvements in almost every area. The much-hyped Glyph interface from the first generation is now greatly improved, giving you new levels of customisation and usefulness.
In a market stacked with nondescript devices, where manufacturers release dozens of models each year to hit every possible price point, Nothing stands alone by offering a singular option. What Nothing is doing with Phone 2 is more than just innovation; it's a challenge to the industry. It's not afraid to be different, and it doesn't just follow the trends.
- Stylish and Innovative Industrial Design
- Snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Processor
- Feature-Rich Camera System with Lots of Potential
- Long-lasting Battery Life with Fast Charging Options
- Potential Durability Concerns with the All-Glass Body
- Camera Performance Pales Against Top-Tier Competitors
- Lack of Established Brand Recognition
- Unique Design May Limit Broader Market Appeal
Design & Build
The Nothing Phone 2 is a stunner, and that's not an overstatement. Imagine picking up a phone with an elegant all-glass body that lets you see its inner workings. It's like looking into the future but in a chic, minimalist way. Comfortable in your hand with subtly curved back edges, it feels as good as it looks.
Now, let's talk about the Glyph interface. Ever seen a phone that lets you turn the transparent back into a canvas of LED patterns? You can customise it, create ringtone light shows with it, and make your phone uniquely yours. It's more than a gimmick, and it quickly became a useful feature we wished our other mobile devices offered.
But don't let the glass and fancy LED tricks fool you. This phone is tough. You'd think all that glass might be a problem, but no, the Phone 2's build shows no sign of compromising its sturdiness. The Nothing Phone 2 boasts Gorilla Glass front and back and is crafted with precision. The device measures 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm and weighs in at only 201g. It's a blend of elegance and sturdiness that feels just right in your hands.
Performance & Usability
The improvements made over the previous generation are more than skin-deep. Under the hood, this phone is packing a flagship-level Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor. The Nothing Phone 2 comes with a generous 12GB of RAM and 256 or 512GB of non-expandable storage, ensuring a smooth experience tailored to your needs.
The Nothing OS 2.0 operating system is super intuitive and has already received two major updates since launch, with enhancements everywhere from the camera to the battery and charging performance. Nothing's clear commitment to making this phone even better over time is an encouraging sign.
Connectivity features include 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.3, positioning the Nothing Phone 2 right up there with the big players and making it as future-proof as any flagship phone on the market. Additionally, the phone is equipped with NFC, powerful stereo speakers, and IP54 dust and water resistance, rounding out a compelling package for those seeking both innovation and practicality.
Photo & Video
Compared with our benchmark Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, the Nothing Phone 2's camera system might look somewhat basic, but it's remarkably capable. With a 50MP main camera and a 50MP ultrawide on the back, plus a 32MP selfie camera, you're well-equipped for everything but telephoto shooting.
Need a 2x zoom in portrait mode? Check. Craving enhanced HDR effects? You got it. With features like sharpness optimization, Glyph-assisted macro mode, and more, the Nothing Phone 2 caters to both creative photography enthusiasts and those who simply enjoy taking sharp selfies.
Nothing's recent updates have further enhanced the camera experience, introducing new features and improving existing ones. Whether it's low-light photo quality, Bokeh effects, or faster HDR processing, the company is committed to ensuring that the camera continues to excel.
In a head-to-head comparison with two of our other current daily drivers, the iPhone 14 Max Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, the Nothing Phone 2 held its own. The iPhone was challenging to beat, but Nothing's phone had distinct advantages, especially in close-up photography, where it outperformed Apple's device. While Samsung's offering won some rounds, overall, we were drawn to the more natural tones of the Nothing Phone 2.
Display & Battery
The Phone 2 delivers an immersive display experience through its 6.7-inch LTPO OLED screen, boasting support for 1 billion colours, a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+, and a peak brightness of 1600 nits. With a resolution of 1080 x 2412 pixels and an elongated 20:9 aspect ratio, the display is shielded by Corning Gorilla Glass. What sets it apart is its intelligent ability to drop to a 1Hz refresh rate for static content, which translates to significant power savings. With the Always On Display feature, you can quickly access notifications and check the time without fully waking the device.
When it comes to battery life, the Nothing Phone 2 competes with the best in the industry. Housing a robust 4700mAh battery, this phone ensures that you can navigate through the day and likely into the next without needing a recharge. When you do need to refuel, the device offers versatile charging options, including 45W wired fast-charging, 15W wireless charging, and 5W reverse wireless charging. These impressive wired speeds mean that you can get back to a full charge in around an hour.
The Nothing Phone 2 isn't just a potential game-changer—it's a confident challenge to the industry that echoes the early days of OnePlus. It enters the scene with the same audacity, offering top-tier performance at a price that won't empty your wallet. This isn't just filling a void; it's carving out its own distinctive niche.
With its spellbinding design and robust performance that never falters, the Nothing Phone 2 shines for all the right reasons. Its courage to be unique doesn't lead to needless complexity or impracticality. It's a nuanced balance of innovation and usability that's become all too rare in the market.
If you're on the hunt for a device that dares to be different without compromising on quality or affordability, the Nothing Phone 2 demands consideration. It's more than a mere phone; it's a bold statement—and one that's worth every bit of the attention it commands.
The Beat Score: 9/10 - Outstanding Value
Nothing Phone 2 offers fabulous value for money and is capable of competing with the competition at twice its price.
*Not available for sale in Malaysia or Macau at the time of review.
Disclaimer: This review is the outcome of one month of hands-on experience with the Nothing Phone (2) that was purchased for this review. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of our editorial team, based on our assessment and experience with the product. The manufacturer or retailer has not influenced the content of this review in any way.
Get the latest curated content with The Beat Asia's newsletters. Sign up now for a weekly dose of the best stories, events, and deals delivered straight to your inbox. Don't miss out! Click here to subscribe.