Nothing made their mark on the smartphone industry in 2022 with their very first handset - the Nothing Phone (1) – and it made an impression with its unique, stripped-back aesthetic and affordable price point.
The brand aimed to build on this momentum with the Nothing Phone (2), and in this review, we’ll break down performance to see if they’ve succeeded.
If the Nothing Phone (2) is the handset for you, pick it up today and enjoy the great features it has to offer.
The Nothing Phone (1) struck a chord with its mechanical-looking Glyph UI design, eschewing the traditional metal or plastic back panel seen on most smartphones. This immediately helped the Nothing Phone to stand out, and the second handset in this range pushes it forward in small but effective ways.
The distinctive, brightly lit LEDs are broken up into smaller sections, giving the Nothing Phone (2) a greater futuristic look. The entire LED system animates as the phone’s functions are used, for example when it’s charging, or a call is incoming. These nodes are covered by a crystal-clear glass panel, which feels extremely comfortable and sturdy in the hand. This panel is also completely transparent, which plays a crucial role in showcasing the pseudo-internals underneath.
We say ‘pseudo’, because what you’re seeing are not the actual insides of the Nothing Phone (2), but rather some very clever engineering. Plastic sections have been cut out and arranged to resemble the inside of a handset, creating this unique effect that is unlike any other design you’ll see on a smartphone.
Moving onto the frame of the Nothing Phone (2), there is a fantastic balance in play here between a premium feeling device, and maintaining the affordability that made the first handset so appealing. Its body is built from recycled aluminium, rather than a cheaper plastic, so the Nothing Phone (2) looks and feels great to use, while also being sustainable, too.
The front display is composed of Gorilla Corning Glass for enhanced durability, and comes with a higher level of IP protection; IP54 to be exact. This gives the Nothing Phone (2) strong protection against dust build-up, and a greater resistance to water damage.
Using a Nothing phone remains a unique experience. It’s the sum of parts that are of such a high quality, coming together to create a device that stands out amongst its peers, particularly in the competitive mid-range market.
The screen on the Nothing Phone (2) includes some significant improvements over its predecessor, big and small. Starting with its size, Nothing have extended it to 6.7”: a 1.5” increase. When watching videos or playing games, this provides a tangible benefit to how much detail is visible. Thinner bezels around the edges further heighten how much larger this display is.
The Nothing Phone (2) also possesses an OLED panel, which is a visual treat with its brilliant contrast levels and vibrant colours. A boost to 1600 nits is an extra layer of excellence, making the phone’s display far brighter and more visible when outdoors.
Refresh rate hasn’t fundamentally changed on the Nothing Phone (2) – up to 120Hz is still possible to keep performance incredibly smooth – but one feature makes it far more versatile: dynamic switching. This enables the device to switch between 60Hz and 120Hz on the fly, ensuring it’s only pushing performance (and battery consumption) when needed.
Performance & software
If there’s one area of the Nothing Phone (2) that personifies its amazing equilibrium between performance and price, it’s in the silicon powering it. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset really excels at keeping the phone running smoothly, and is very effective at managing how much power to use for different tasks.
The CPU is also supported by 12GB RAM to make sure the Nothing Phone (2) always has enough memory to keep stutter to a minimum. If you’re a gamer, this will be music to your ears.
When it comes to the user interface, things are taken up a notch. Nothing use a bespoke version of Android 13 on their devices aptly named NothingOS, and on the Phone (2) is version 2.0.
This interface was already impressive on the previous handset, with its clean aesthetic and fast performance, but NothingOS 2.0 elevates it further by including quick-setting toggles from the main menu, and handy widgets that can pair with other Nothing hardware like the Ear 2 earbuds.
Everything is just cleaner with this updated UI, and it feels completely in sync with the phone’s overall presentation.
Fans of the Nothing (1) and its cameras will find a lot to love on the succeeding model. The main camera continues with the same 50MP lens, which produces exceptionally detailed photos in a range of lighting conditions, but is boosted by the powerful IMX890 sensor.
Next up in the array is a 50MP ultrawide camera, which also impressed with its beautiful panoramic vista shots. Image processing has come a long way on the Nothing Phone (2), and we found that most shots taken benefited greatly from these enhancements, such as the HDR mode for stunning contrasts.
Capping off this great photography suite is a high-clarity, 32MP selfie camera on the front of the phone. This lens offers double the pixel count from the previous model, making it far easier to crop images without losing detail.
Battery life sees decent gains on the Nothing Phone (2), increasing from 4500mAh to 4700mAh. This is more than enough power to see you through the day at general usage, be it browsing the Web or watching some HD videos.
Charging speeds, too, are potent. Over a USB-C connection, the Nothing Phone (2) supports 45W recharging, with the potential to reach full charge in just under an hour. It’s also capable of 15W wireless charging, making the Nothing Phone (2) a fantastic travelling companion when coupled with a charging pad.
For a dash of additional flair, the Glyph UI LEDs on the back gradually light up as the phone charges, complementing the device’s already-excellent visuals.
It’s exciting to see a range of smartphones jolt the market in a positive way; even better when the devices are this impressive. If you’re looking for a mid-range handset, the Nothing Phone (2) is a no-brainer, but don’t let it fall under your radar if you are desiring a mini-powerhouse, too.
Following this review of the Nothing Phone (2), take a deeper dive into the world of Nothing with our comprehensive look at the brand and its origins.