Nothing Phone (2)

Nothing faces the creating a follow-up, but manages it in broad strokes.

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We loved the Nothing Phone (1) when it was released last year. OnePlus creator Carl Pei managed to not only design a functional, pure Android experience, but also gave the phone something that a lot of budget Android phones really lack - personality. Sure, the transparent design and the accompanying Glyph interface is a gimmick, but a good gimmick was exactly what a company like Nothing needed.

But now Nothing is no scrappy underdog anymore. They sold 800,000 copies of Phone (1) and are now facing what many in the industry call "the hard two". It's more expensive, and up in starting price, but so is the ambition level, the specs and much, much more.

Nothing Phone (2)
Nothing Phone (2)

Okay, so why is it more expensive? Firstly, it's more luxurious in the hand. The transparent back now curves slightly towards the edge, giving the phone a roundedness that the sharp Phone (1) didn't have room for. The Phone (2) uses 100% recycled aluminium, and you can immediately sense that "refinement" has been a key mission for the team behind it.

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The screen is 6.7", which is gigantic. It's also 120Hz, and LTPO, and it can easily hit those 1000 NITS that make it easy to use in all weather conditions. Not much has changed since we last saw it, but it's a really useful display.

The updated Glyph interface has far, far more individual LEDs now, so there are more ways for them to serve you more functionally, besides of course being an aesthetic pleasure that hasn't got old yet. If you set a timer, the lights will gradually count down and it can also indicate your charge percentage. You can create your very own light shows in Glyph Composer, and Nothing has opened up for third-party integration and has already got major collaborations underway with the likes of Uber. We may not all be using Glyph, or even looking at the back of our smartphones that much, but I still applaud the concept and execution.

Nothing has also tightened up on the chipset front, implementing a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, one of the flagships. Was it really needed? It doesn't seem like those who are still using the Nothing Phone (1) today are complaining about the Snapdragon 778G+, even after a year of use. But of course, that's the way the wind is blowing, and I think that's the main reason for the price increase. It's a chip many of us are familiar with, and it's obviously faster, will be faster for longer, and allows the implementation of a faster Image Signal Processor for the camera. Combined with 8GB of RAM and either 128, 256 or 512GB of space, well, Nothing Phone (2) is lightning fast.

It's also because the software experience is so clean. Yes, NothingOS 2.0 allows for deeper customisation of icons and widgets, and it does look nice. But the whole idea is that this skin shouldn't get in the way, and it certainly doesn't.

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The battery is a whopping 4700mAh, and that's the big positive surprise as it can easily, easily last two days. You also get 55 watts of wired charging and wireless charging on top of that.

Nothing Phone (2)
Nothing Phone (2)

On the camera side, Nothing has moved to two 50 megapixel sensors, with the centre wide now using a Sony IMX890 sensor. There's a new 18-bit ISP, 4K/60fps shooting in both EiS and OiS. The result is...fine. The Nothing Phone (2) takes great pictures and you can rely on it for family and holiday photos.

But, now we come to the pricing, because Nothing has raised the price to £629, which is a good chunk more than you'd pay for a Pixel 7a, a phone that arguably has the better camera. But of course, it's not the same chipset, the same speed, the same Glyph interface or the same charging speed. Nothing still has a good bet here, and while all the specs are worthy of a flagship, it launches significantly cheaper than what Samsung's S23 did back in January.

The Pixel 7a is a game changer, it will be for some time, but Nothing still has plenty to offer, and if you went and put money down for a Phone (2), I wouldn't blame you.

08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
overall score
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