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After showcasing its design at MWC 2024, Nothing finally launched the Nothing Phone 2a on March 5, 2024. Unlike its Phone 1 and Phone 2, the Phone 2a from Nothing is aimed at the budget-conscious audience who want top-notch hardware at an affordable price. We have spent some time with the Nothing Phone 2a, and here are our first thoughts on it.


Colors, Price, and Availability

The Nothing Phone 2a is available in three color choices: White, Black, and Milk (which is basically nothing but a shade of off-white). It’s already on sale in the UK, Europe, and India, starting at £319/€329/₹23,999 for the base model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage and going up to £349/€379/₹27,999 for the top-end model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.

However, getting it in the US is a bit tricky. It’s not readily available from carriers, online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, or even Nothing’s own website. To get your hands on one, you’ll need to join the company’s developer program, and then you’ll be able to get the top-end unit for $349. However, it should be noted that even if you get the Phone 2a in the US, be aware that it might not work seamlessly with all carriers and MVNOs due to the lack of some 4G and 5G bands.


Nothing Phone 2a PBI
Nothing Phone 2a

$329 $349 Save $20

Nothing Phone 2a is the latest mid-range smartphone from the brand. It maintains the signature Nothing design, featuring a transparent back with LED lights around the camera. It offers decent hardware, all at a more affordable price point.

Nothing Phone 2a: Specifications

Nothing Phone 2a Specs

SoC
MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro

Display
6.7-inch AMOLED, 120Hz, 1300 nits peak brightness

RAM
8 / 12 GB

Storage
128 / 256 GB

Battery
5,000 mAh

Ports
USB-C

Operating System
Android 14

Front camera
32 MP f/2.2

Dimensions
161.74 mm x 76.32 mm x 8.55 mm

Colors
Black, White, Milk

Weight
190 grams

Charge speed
45W wired charging

IP Rating
IP54

Material
Gorilla Glass 5, Plastic back

Main Camera
50 MP, f/1.88, OIS, PDAF

Wide-Angle Camera
50MP, 114-degree FoV

Design and Display

Nothing Phone 2a hands on images pocketnow 5

Nothing has always made sure its smartphone stands out from the competition, and Phone 2a is no exception. Unlike the Pixel 7a and Samsung Galaxy A54, which have far simpler-looking backs, the Phone 2a maintains the iconic Nothing design with Glyph LEDs and a transparent back. You can see the exposed screws and plates holding the phone in place and even what appears to be a cooling system strip.

There are fewer LEDs on the back compared to the Phone and Phone 2, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I find it appealing since it makes the phone look more minimal. The three LEDs on the back are also configurable: one acts as a notification light, while another can be set to stay on for specific apps. Additionally, Nothing has added useful features to the LED. For example, when you start a timer, a glowing LED decreases as the timer progresses.


Nothing Phone 2a hands on back

However, to keep costs down, Nothing had to compromise on materials. The Phone 2a lacks the latest Gorilla Glass protection on the front and features a plastic back. While the phone certainly feels cheaper compared to its pricier counterparts, it still feels solid in the hand, with metal rails surrounding the body adding a touch of premium feel. However, the Phone 2a carries an IP54 dust and water resistance rating, slightly lower than the IP68 offered by its competitors.

Coming to the front, the Nothing Phone 2a blew me away. It comes with a flat 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and 1300 nits peak brightness. It’s perhaps one of the best-looking displays in the segments, thanks to the minimal and uniform bezels surrounding it. It also features an optical fingerprint reader beneath the screen and supports 2160Hz PWM dimming. It is one of the largest and most impressive displays I’ve seen in this price range, and will likely surprise you as well.


Camera

Nothing Phone 2a hands on images pocketnow 2

Moving over to the back once again, you’ll find a dual-camera setup laid out horizontally. It features a 50MP main sensor with an f/1.88 aperture, Optical Image Stabilization and PDAF alongside a 50MP ultra-wide camera with a 114-degree field of view. On the front, there’s a 32MP camera for selfies and video calls.

From my short amount of time with the Nothing Phone 2a, the camera doesn’t stand out much. The images are pretty ordinary, lacking any spectacular quality. Cameras have typically been a weak spot for Nothing phones, and it seems to be the same case here — perhaps it’s best to wait for our full review to get a clearer picture.

However, if you’re on the fence about buying this phone and cameras are your thing, you might want to consider getting a Google Pixel 7a instead.


Software and Performance

Nothing Phone 2a hands on images pocketnow 3

Powering the Nothing phone 2 is MediaTek’s Dimensity 7200 Pro chipset. This chipset contains two powerful Cortex-A715 cores clocked at 2.8GHz and six power-efficiency Cortex-A510 cores clocked at 2GHz. Coupled with 12GB of RAM, the phone provides a surprisingly smooth performance, given its price point.

The Phone 2a runs on Nothing OS 2.5 based on Android 14 out of the box, and the company is promising three years of major software upgrades. Compared to the OS offerings from Chinese brands (without taking any names here), the Nothing OS feels like a refreshing change. Despite being from a brand just two years old, it feels really polished and smooth. The animations are snappy and smooth, and there are many useful features all around the OS. Despite keeping a stock and minimal look, Nothing has done an excellent job with Nothing OS.


Nothing Phone 2a hands on images pocketnow 1

Finally, coming to the battery, the Nothing Phone 2a features a 5,000 mAh battery, which, in fact, is bigger than the batteries found on both Phone 1 and Phone 2. The phone easily lasts a full day off the charger. Speaking of chargers, you’ll need to purchase a power adapter separately as Nothing doesn’t inlcude one in the box. As for charging, the Phone 2a supports up to 45W fast charging via USB-C, which takes about an hour for a full charge.

Nothing Phone 2a PBI
Nothing Phone 2a

$329 $349 Save $20

Nothing Phone 2a is the latest mid-range smartphone from the brand. It maintains the signature Nothing design, featuring a transparent back with LED lights around the camera. It offers decent hardware, all at a more affordable price point.

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