Nothing Phone 2 Review: Lighting Up The Competition

Nothing Phone 2 Review: A Unique Design, With Flagship Specs And Excelllent Value

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Nothing Phone (2) - Starting at $599
Nothing’s Phone (2) is an affordable flagship that ticks all the right boxes and brings a ton of fun and personality to the traditional smartphone form factor.

Product Pros
  • Unique design
  • Gorgeous display
  • Lovely cameras
  • Solid performance
  • Wireless charging
  • Clean and responsive software
    Sharp, bright display with 120Hz refresh
    ×Fast 80W charging and included plug
    ×Excellent performance with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
    ×Alert slider is back
Product Cons
  • No 4k selfie video
  • No charger in the box
hothardware recommended small

After launching the excellent OnePlus Nord in 2020, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei left the company to spearhead Nothing, a design-savvy consumer electronics startup. Since then, Nothing has released three competitive pairs of earbuds and two Android smartphones. During IFA last year, we spent a week using Phone (1) and came away impressed with this affordable, unique-looking, and well-rounded mid-range handset.

Phone (1) never officially made it to North America, but its successor, Phone (2) – which Nothing announced earlier this week – is coming to the US and Canada. While overall, this new phone inherits the standout design of its predecessor, it cranks the specs up into flagship territory with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 under the hood. Fortunately, at just $599 it also delivers the same value proposition as last year’s Phone (1).

We just spent two weeks testing Phone (2), so let’s find out what this unusual handset has to offer. Is it any good? How does it stack up to the competition? Is the Glyph Interface useful or is it just a gimmick? Read our full review below to find out...

Nothing Phone (2) Hardware And Design

Close your eyes and imagine what it would be like if Apple had made a larger iPhone 12, a “Plus” model if you will. Feel the slab-like aluminum frame, the gently rounded corners, the perfectly flat front display, and the two vertically stacked camera rings protruding from the rear glass. Now open your eyes. That’s not an imaginary iPhone in your hand, but a real Android handset – Nothing’s Phone (2). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

“But wait” we hear you protest, “this is no iPhone clone; check out the back.” Here’s where things get interesting. Like its predecessor, Phone (2)’s rear glass is home to the Glyph Interface – a series of white LED strips under the transparent back that surround the wireless charging coil and twin 50MP shooters, and form segments that line up vertically with the charging port and at a 45-degree angle with the top right corner.

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Nothing Phone (2) Front

These LED strips are surrounded by ribbon cables, screws, and other parts that give the back some depth and texture. It reminds us a but of the RedMagic 8 Pro, minus the wild stencils. Everything under the rear glass is either a shade of dark gray or a shade of white, depending on the colorway you chose. As such, Phone (2)’s back is completely different from the iPhone’s, yet instantly recognizable as one of Nothing’s products.

Plus, unlike Phone (1)’s sharp edges, Phone (2)’s rear 2.5D glass curves into the metal frame, making the handset more comfortable to hold. We’ll dive into what the Glyph Interface brings to the table later on, but the takeaway here is that Phone (2)’s aluminum and glass design looks and feels extremely polished and refined. The attention to detail and build quality are top notch, rivaling Apple and Samsung’s best.

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Nothing Phone (2) Back

In front, the 6.7-inch LTPO OLED screen is covered in Gorilla Glass 5 and bounded by iPhone-like bezels. These aren’t the slimmest, but are perfectly even all around – a rare feat for an Android phone at this price point. It’s only with the center punch hole for the 32 MP selfie camera that the iPhone comparison ends. Obviously, there’s no notch or Dynamic Island here. As for dust and splash resistance, Phone (2) is rated IP54.

The rest of Phone (2)’s layout is pretty familiar. You’ll find the power/lock key on the right, volume rocker on the left, and secondary mic on top. One of the two speakers, the USB Type-C port, primary mic, and SIM tray are all located along the bottom edge. There’s also a third mic above the dual-LED flash plus a red LED (a recording indicator) in the back, and the earpiece lives in a slit above the display and doubles as the other speaker.

If you want a premium handset that looks and feels special, Phone (2) is exactly what the doctor ordered. Nothing nailed this design, and we’re big fans.

Nothing Phone (2) Specs And Features

Processing and 5G Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 + integrated Snapdragon X65 5G Modem
Display 6.7" FHD+ LTPO OLED, 2412x1080 resolution, 120Hz
Memory 8/12GB LPDDR5
Storage 128/256/512GB UFS 3.1
Rear-Facing Cameras 50MP f/1.9 Main OIS, omni-directional PDAF - 50MP f/2.2 114º Ultra-Wide AF
Front-Facing Cameras 32MP f/2.5
Video Recording Up to 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow-mo
Battery 4700 mAh, 45W wired charging, 15W wireless charging
OS Android 13
Dimensions 162.1 x 76.4 x 8.6 mm
Weight 201.2 grams
Connectivity 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3+LE, NFC, USB-C, LTE, 5G (sub-6GHz)
Colors Dark Gray, White
Pricing Find the Nothing Phone (2) @ Amazon, Starting at $599

Nothing Phone (2) Display Quality

Phone (2) packs a perfectly flat, 6.7-inch 10-bit FHD+ (2412x1080 pixels, 394ppi) LTPO OLED display with a 20:9 aspect ratio, a 1-120Hz variable refresh rate, and HDR10+ support. As we previously mentioned, the bezels aren’t the thinnest we’ve seen on a modern handset, but they are completely uniform, which is aesthetically pleasing. There’s a center punch hole at the top of the screen for the 32MP selfie camera.

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Nothing Phone (2) Display

It’s a gorgeous display, with punchy colors, inky blacks, and wide viewing angles. Plus, at 1600 nits peak brightness, it’s easy to read in direct sunlight – except when using the camera app, which dims the screen a little, making it more difficult to compose shots in bright light. Hopefully, this can be fixed in a software update. Besides this minor niggle, we have no complaints. This display is flagship worthy.

Nothing Phone (2) Camera Performance And Image Quality

Phone (2)’s flagship theme continues with a pair of 50MP rear shooters – a f/1.9 1.0-micron main sensor (1/1.56-inch Sony IMX890) with omni-directional PDAF and OIS, plus a f/2.2 0.64-micron 114-degree ultrawide (1/2.76-inch Samsung Isocell JN1) with AF – that both use 4-to-1 pixel binning to output 12.5MP images. A 32MP f/2.5 0.8-micron selfie camera (1/2.74-inch Sony IMX615) completes the package.

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Nothing Phone (2) Camera Pod

This setup is very similar to what the OnePlus 11 5G offers, minus the dedicated telephoto lens. And honestly, zooming is the only area where Phone (2) falls a little short. Where 10x photos taken with the OnePlus 11 5G and even Google's Pixel 7a (thanks to its Super Res Zoom algorithm) are perfectly usable, 10x pictures shot with Phone (2) show a noticeable loss of detail. That being said, anything up to 5x zoom is fine.

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Nothing Phone (2) Main Camera (2x Zoom)

For everything else – daytime images, night photos, videos, portraits, selfies, and even macro shots (thanks to that ultrawide with autofocus) – Phone (2) delivers excellent results. Of the current crop of flagships, Nothing’s camera tuning most closely resembles the OnePlus 11 5G’s and even holds up against the Pixel 7a, which we’ve been using side-by-side with Phone (2) during this entire review period.

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Nothing Phone (2) Ultrawide

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Nothing Phone (2) Main Camera (1x)

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Nothing Phone (2) Main Camera (2x Zoom)

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Nothing Phone (2) Main Camera (5x Zoom)

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Nothing Phone (2) Main Camera (10x zoom)

This means you’ll enjoy beautiful, detailed pictures with accurate colors and exposure, great dynamic range, and solid low-light performance – thanks to a (defeatable) automatic night mode, and Phone (2)’s ability to freeze moving subjects even better than the Pixel 7a. Phone (2) also captures decent stabilized video with stereo audio at up to 4K 60fps with the main and ultrawide shooters, but only 1080p 30/60fps with the selfie camera.

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Nothing Phone (2) Ultrawide (Night Mode)

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Nothing Phone (2) Main Camera (Night Mode)

Shooting modes include portrait, panorama, macro, expert (manual), night (auto), motion photo, slow motion (4K/1080p 120fps, 1080p 240/480fps), HDR video (4K/1080p 30fps), action (1080p 30/60fps), and time lapse (4K/1080p 30fps). We don’t usually care much about photo filters, but Nothing’s lenticular filter is particularly fun. Another cool feature is that in addition to the dual-LED flash, you can turn the Glyph Interface into a ring light.

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Nothing Phone (2) Ultrawide (Macro Mode)

Overall then, we’re satisfied with Phone (2)’s camera performance, and we think you’ll be as well. The only features missing here are 4K selfie video recording and a telephoto shooter – though that’s a big ask for a phone that costs $599.

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Nothing Phone (2) Selfie Camera (Portrait Mode)

Next up: audio, performance, and battery life...

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