Nothing Phone 2a Review: Should I Buy It?

Nothing Phone 2a is a good option for its affordable price, design, and performance. But it does not have good 5G support in the US..

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Nothing Phone 2a

The Nothing Phone 2a is making waves for its unique design, flashy Glyph lights, and low cost. It may not appeal to everyone, but it will surely be compared to other affordable devices.

Nothing’s Phone 2a costs $349 which is a cheaper deal compared to their $599 Phone 2. It has a sleek design, fast processor for gaming, impressive camera, and decent battery life. However, it is difficult to obtain in the US and only supports 5G on T-Mobile with slower speeds.

The new model maintains Nothing’s sleek, see-through design with a large OLED screen on the front and a transparent back that highlights its trademark glyph LEDs.

The Nothing Phone 2a has all the expected perks and a unique design with a transparent plastic back. It features the company’s signature Glyph lights, which light up for incoming notifications. You can also set Essential notifications to stay on until you address them, making it useful for focusing while working.

Nothing Phone 2a Review: Explore Key Features

The Nothing Phone 2a is a popular new smartphone known for its original concept and simple design. But is it really worth the buzz? Let us review and see.

  • Design and Screen

Nothing’s aesthetic is a mix of ’90s retro and modern design, with translucent plastic reminiscent of old Gameboys. The Phone 2a has rearranged Glyph lights and a unique camera layout, available in black or white. The black option has a similar vibe to Wall-E’s emo cousin.

The Nothing Phone 2a has a polycarbonate back instead of glass, making it surprisingly nice. Its rounded edges are not possible with glass and it weighs only 6.7 ounces, lighter than the Pixel 7a’s 6.82 ounces despite having a smaller display.

The 6.5″ OLED screen has bright colors and reaches 1,300 nits of brightness. The in-screen fingerprint reader may need multiple registrations to work well.

The surfaces are warm and lightweight at 190g and 8.5mm thick, making it easy to carry. It also has IP54 water and dust resistance. The rear cover is polycarbonate but collects fingerprints easily. The chassis has a nice texture and metallic appearance, but the rear panel sounds hollow when tapped due to its plastic material. Overall, it is good value for its price range.

The price does not matter for the Nothing Phone 2. Its unique and modern design sets it apart from other phones, but it requires effort to maintain its appearance.

  • Performance

The Nothing Phone 2a has a MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor, which is more powerful than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ in the Nothing Phone 1. It also has 12GB of RAM and Virtual RAM with up to 8GB of storage.

Its Geekbench scores are slightly lower than the Pixel 7a, but it still feels fast during regular use. Scrolling may not be as smooth as more expensive phones, but it is still powerful enough for most tasks.

The screen is bright and colorful, with great stereo speakers. It is perfect for watching videos and playing games. The Nothing Phone 2a performs flawlessly during regular use, thanks to its smooth and responsive software. Even compared to more expensive phones, it holds up well for everyday tasks.

The Phone 2a is perfect for gaming with its curved back and flat sides. It runs Asphalt 9: Legends smoothly but may struggle with intense games. The battery lasts well during casual gaming, thanks to Nothing’s collaboration with MediaTek for processor and screen optimization. Overall, the Nothing Phone 2a is a great budget choice for all purposes.

  • Battery Life

The Phone 2a has a 5,000 mAh battery and performed well on our video test, lasting 23 hours and 47 minutes. It beat the Pixel 7a (17:41) but fell just short of the Nothing Phone 2’s time of 24:25.

The Phone 2a does not have wireless charging, but it can charge quickly with a wired connection at up to 45 watts.

The processor and software are designed for efficiency without excessive power management. The screen brightness is not aggressively adjusted, there is an always-on ambient mode on the lock screen, and apps stay in the background until needed.

The battery lasts 2 days on one charge with 3 hours of daily screen time. Playing games affects it slightly, but 30-45 minutes will not drain it completely. Asphalt 9: Legends decreases battery by 8% in 30 minutes, while streaming YouTube only uses up 4%.

The performance is decent and two days of average use is sufficient.

  • Camera

The Nothing Phone 2a has two cameras hidden in the pig’s snout. One is a 50MP main camera with OIS and autofocus, and the other is a 50MP wide-angle camera. It also has a 32MP selfie camera like the Nothing Phone 2, but with upgraded hardware and a different processor.

It has a strong HDR feature for vibrant photos. You can turn off Ultra HDR in settings, but the photos will still be lively. Dull images are never captured by the Phone 2a.

The Phone 2a’s camera is great for sharing online photos, but not for realistic shots. It takes clear and detailed close-up photos and impressive selfies with accurate portrait effects. However, it struggles in low light and may produce blurry images with dull colors.

The Nothing Phone 2a’s camera is fun to use, but its lowlight performance matches its price. However, it still impresses and complements the phone’s cool design.

  • Glyph Lights

Glyph lights are back, with three LED strips surrounding a dual camera bump. They light up for notifications and can be customized to stay on until you address them. This is helpful for Essential alerts, so you do not miss anything while focusing.

These lights are smaller than the Nothing Phone 2 but are still eye-catching and useful for alerts and timers. The camera has three flashing lights for calls and notifications, while a light bar shows timer and volume information.

The Nothing Phone 2 has more advanced battery life and light options. It also offers customizable ringtones and notifications with unique lighting patterns, plus a built-in tone editor.

The Glyph Lights are fun but can be gimmicky. The Nothing Phone 2a has an extravagant sound and light show that I enjoy using for alerts. While the lights are not necessary, the unique sounds add to its character.

  • Software

The Nothing Phone 2a and 2 both run on Android 14 with Nothing OS 2.5. It is highly customizable, featuring unique widgets and minimalist app icons from Nothing. While adjusting to the app icon colors may take some time, I love the AI wallpaper feature and simple notification shade and app drawer design.

The software has a clean interface with unique dot-matrix art, widgets, and icons. It can mimic regular Android but encourages users to add monochrome icons, folders, and widgets for a fun experience. These customizations do not slow down the phone or interfere with daily use.

Nothing’s software support is lacking. They offer only 3 years of updates and 4 years of security updates, which falls short compared to the industry standard of 7 years. This is not ideal for your finances or the environment, especially in the budget market.

Should I Buy The Nothing Phone 2a?

The Nothing Phone 2a is a budget-friendly, sleek phone with a plastic finish that gets dirty easily. It takes average photos and may age poorly without a case. However, if it meets your needs for software, design, display, and battery life, it could be a good choice. However, it may be difficult to buy and does not have good 5G support in the US.

Conclusion

The Nothing Phone 2a is a budget phone with a cool design and user-friendly software. It has a big screen, good battery life, and fast performance. Although it is made of plastic, it feels durable and can handle splashes. However, the short software support may make it unsafe to use for too long.

The Phone 2a is a budget device with a strong build, water resistance, and bright screen. While not the fastest option, it still feels quick compared to more expensive choices. Its standout features are its unique design and attention to detail.