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Nothing Phone (2) Review: The Quirkiest Android Device

In a day and age where almost every other smartphone we get is almost similar and merely plastered with a different logo, one smartphone company tries to be different this time with their Nothing Phone (1). It gained a lot of attention when it was released a year ago, and now, jumping into 2023, they released a more refined version of their firs ever smartphone, the Nothing Phone (2). I personally been using this devices for quite a while now, and here are my full thoughts about the Nothing Phone (2).

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Nothing Phone 2

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

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Nothing Phone 2 Shots3

Okay, I know, the first thing that you will notice with this device is its design as it does look almost the same as its older sibling. But with a two year old company, Nothing wants to keep its DNA to its roots and just basically refine what they think needs improvements and apply everything they learned from their first smartphone to the Nothing Phone (2).

One of the key difference that we noticed is the back panel. It now curves towards the edges making it much easier to to grip especially with small hands. Another thing, also here at the back, we no have dual-LED flash instead of a single one that we have on the Nothing Phone (1).

In addition, the amount of Glyph LEDs are now doubled to 33 small LEDs that has a couple of nifty quirks – but we will explore that in a bit. If you think the predecessor was a bit gimmicky, the Nothing Phone (2)’s LED fireworks at the back has a more intimate purpose.

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Nothing Phone 2

IOs are at the same spot as before, volume buttons are placed on the right, while the sleep/wake button are on the left. All buttons mentioned are placed in the middle of the frame which is very reachable even with small hands like me.

Down at the bottom, there’s the dual SIM card tray, main microphone, USB Type-C charging port and speaker grilles. A secondary microphone sits up top.

Overall, the look and feel of the Nothing Phone (2) is much more refined than before and feels very premium as the materials used on this devices are aluminum with Corning’s Gorilla Glass both front and back. It is also surprisingly easy to handle thanks to that curved back glass.

Display and Multimedia

For starters, we now have a slightly taller display at 6.7 inch and LTPO OLED screen that has a resolution of 2412 x 1080 which jots down to a 394 ppi pixel density. This display also comes with a 120hz adaptive refresh rate so navigating throughout the UI is a tad bit smoother.

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Nothing Phone 2

For the display quality it is what you would expect on an OLED panel. Sharp text with deep contrast and good color reproduction. Also, the display now has a peak brightness of 1600 nits, meaning, you can use this device under direct sunlight without any problems.

While one would argue that the display has a little bit of a taller footprint, it actually does especially with that slight display size increase. But, hey, it makes this device a good tool for media consumption. Well, except for the speakers. We do have a stereo speaker setup here, it is good, but during my time with the device, I mostly find myself pairing it with a TWS. It isn’t to say that the speakers are any worse. No! Yeah, it lacks that oomph, but it is loud enough so fill up the room.

Performance and Benchmarks

Powering the Nothing Phone (2) is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 that features an Adreno 730 GPU, up to 12GB of RAM and 512 of internal storage. It is without a doubt faster than the previous Phone (1) as we had a good time with the Phone (2) when it comes to playing games, doing all that multitasking, editing short form videos — basically this device can handle everything we throw at it, almost.

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Nothing Phone 2

We did play a lot of graphically intensive games on the Nothing Phone (2), and it is smooth, yes, especially when on medium settings… But putting the graphic setting of some games to the maximum, we do however experience some hiccups along the way, but mind you, it is still very much playable.

If you are interested in numbers, here are the benchmark scores that we got:

PCMark Work 3.0 – 13,505
GeekBench 6 CPU – 1716, 4532
Antutu Storage – 1986.7MB/s(R), 1342.0MB/s(W), 645.0MB/s 567.0MB/s(RND)
Antutu 9.6 – 1,075,367

Overall, when it comes to performance, the Nothing Phone (2) is definitely a lot better than the Phone (1), but again, just like any other smartphone rocking almost a year old processor, there are a little limits to it.

Camera

Now, lets talk about the cameras. The Nothing Phone (2) has two 50MP sensors. The first one is an wide main lens with f/1.9 and the other one is an ultra-wide camera with f/2.2. Photos come out decent with good contrast and color reproduction.

Although there are instances where the subject looks overly saturated, but overall, we are getting photos with good details and sharpness especially when taking photos with ample lighting.

Things might fall apart when taking photos at night or under dark environments as some details are not sharp – although still usable, but there are better smartphones at this tier that has better night photography quality.

Portrait mode is also present here, but sometimes, it struggles on choosing which on the photo to blur giving us portrait photos that are a bit janky.

Selfies on the other hand, up front we have a 32MP camera at your disposal, and you can take good quality selfies here. There’s also a built-in beautification mode for much more smoother skin tone, if you are into that kind of stuff, but without it, skin tones does still look natural overall.

For videos, the Nothing Phone (2) can record up to 4K at 60fps which is totally cool. It does also feature live HDR and OIS for a smoother video quality.

OS, Apps and UI

Onto the software, the Nothing Phone (2) runs on Android 13 skinned with NothingOS 2.0. The UI really does complements the overall look of the device. The software is giving a somewhat industrial vibes to it, from the Nothing Widgets to the overall icons and we are loving it. It is mostly close to stock Android, but with a few helpful and nifty tricks.

One of the things that we liked about it is the Nothing widgets which gives you access to flashlight, wifi, bluetooth – all though utility settings right at your home screen.

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Nothing Phone 2

Now let’s talk about that Glyph feature that is one of the improved feature on the Nothing Phone (2). As I mentioned earlier, we now have a total of 33 LEDs and what it is for is Nothing introduced a couple of useful features here. One of which is the Glyph timer which uses this part of the Glyph LED as a timer indicator and can also programmed by third-party developers to be used as a progress bar, like say for example distance of your grab driver to your pickup point, maybe soon, a download indicator? I don’t really know at this point.

Now moving on to this part of the LED, we can have it light up for specific app notifications, which is pretty neat.
Also, there is now a Glyph composer where you can compose your own glyph ringtone. You can customize the lighting pattern which adds a much more personal touch to the device.

Other Glyph Features are the usual that we have on the previous Phone (1) like shacking the phone when its charging to see how many percentage the phone is at, and Glyph torch – pretty convenient as a soft light source for when shooting.

The overall UI, is surprisingly clean. There is a little to no bloatware at all – well of course except for some Nothing proprietary apps. But overall, I think, so far, it is the CLEANEST and QUIRCKIEST Android OS in the market.

Battery

For battery, we get a 4,700mAh capacity – 200mAh larger than the previous model. The Nothing Phone (2) now supports up to 45W wired fast charging which on paper, can juice this device from 0-100% in just 55mins. Well we tried it and we got somewhere within an hour, which is pretty close to what Nothing has advertised. 15W wireless charging is also available as well as 5W reverse wireless charging.

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Nothing Phone 2

In our proprietary video loop test, we are getting a decent 25 hours and 14 minutes of video playback while on the PCMark Work 3.0 Battery Life test, the Nothing Phone (2) yielded a score of 12 hours and 8 minutes.

In our book, these results are good especially if you are not a heavy user; as in our real life test, we are getting an average of 15-20% at the end of the day when just casually using the device.

If you find yourself a heavy user, you might need to charge this device at least 1x a day, but thanks to its fast charging capabilities, that wouldn’t be a big of a problem.

CONCLUSION

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Nothing Phone 2 Shots9

In conclusion, the Nothing Phone (2) is a real improvement from the previous generation, it is a very quirky, yet fun device to own, aside from its statement design, it is actually a decent daily driver. If you want an iPhone-esque designed Android smartphone, or you just want a decent smartphone that has a different design, powerful enough for you daily tasks and gaming sessions, a smartphone with a few quirks, the Nothing Phone (2) is worth checking out.

For pricing, the Nothing Phone (2) starts at PHP 38,990 for the 12GB+256GB variant, and PHP 44,990 for the maxed out 12GB+512GB combo. Price can be a little steppe to some people, but if you have the penny to spend, the Nothing Phone (2) can be a good choice.

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