The cool kids of tech are back with a brand new phone - the Nothing Phone (2). At first glance, not much seems different design-wise, but an upgraded user experience awaits me as I power the phone. Here’s a hands-on experience and the first impressions I have of the device. 

Aesthetics 

You can tell a Nothing phone apart if you dumped it in a ball pit of a hundred other phones. That much continues to be true for the Nothing Phone (2). In fact, aesthetically, there are minimal changes. There’s a smooth, barely perceptible curved rear panel. The Phone (2) is a bit heavier at 201 grams, with a bigger display as well. It sports a sizeable 6.7-inch OLED display with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass protecting both the front and the back. Added to that is the recycled aluminium wraparound on the sides, which makes the device feel fairly premium to touch. 

Display

I like big screens and I cannot lie, and this 6.7-inch display is a treat. Of course, I have the monochrome overlay on, so it’s not exactly popping with colours. However, thanks to the upto 120 Hz refresh rates, scrolling is smooth as is watching highlights of The Graham Norton Show on YouTube. 

Glyph Interface

The unique LED-based interface underneath the glass rear panel has been upgraded to add more glyph strips and embed more functionalities within. For someone whose phone is always on silent, the Glyph alerts for calls and other notifications are a blessing in disguise. While I’m not a fan of the white light, I’ll take it over a screeching ringtone. I’m secretly hoping they’ll introduce a warm yellow light option someday. Customising a glyph ringtone/flash pattern for my favourite contacts really helps in knowing when they’re calling, so I know to stop what I’m doing and take that call. 

I also had it turned on to indicate volume, but that seems a bit redundant because the chances are I’m anyway looking at the screen most time when I need to tweak the volume on the device. It also doubles up as a visual countdown for any timers you set, or a Swiggy/Zomato package you’re expecting, or even a cab you’ve booked. When I used it as a timer, it wouldn’t trigger the Glyph timer if I locked my phone before it had the chance to begin.

There’s a dedicated Glyph Composer app, which Nothing has developed in association with the EDM supergroup, Swedish House Mafia. While the composer is fun to play around with, the preset tones and beat are limited both in quantity and in range of sounds. 

Camera

There’s a dual 50 MP camera setup at the reay, which Nothing has upgraded to a Sony IMX890 sensor. The 32-MP front camera results in some really true-to-life portraits in terms of skin tone and texture. 

While auto-focus on the primary is quick to zone in, some close ups shots were not as clear as I’d have liked them to be. 

Shots in bright light were crisp and clear, and snaps taken in low-light weren’t too unpleasantly grainy either.

The Phone (2) is capable of capturing 4K video at 60fps on the main camera. I’m still in the process of trying out video experience, and you can keep an eye out for that in the Thursday edition of Technophile in businessline each week.

Tech Specs 

The Nothing Phone (2) is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. The unit I reviewed had a whopping 12 GB RAM and 512 GB of storage. During my daily routines of taking lots of photographs, some casual gaming, and scrolling through YouTube videos, there was no slowing down or heating issues. The phone runs on Android 13 and the updated Nothing OS 2.0 user interface.  There’s absolutely no bloatware - which everyone loves. 

The upgraded user interface brings along with it a minimal-looking (some might even call it stern-looking) monochrome layout.

There are a bunch of widgets that can be added to both the home screen and the lock screen, but I wish there was more space dedicated to this specifically on the lock screen.

Battery life 

The Nothing Phone (2) is packed with a 4,700 mAh battery. On a full charge, it easily kept me company for more than a day. The battery discharge was fairly slow and it took the device take less than an hour to charge fully from zero. 

Verdict 

Despite being an iterative upgrade, the Nothing Phone (2) has managed to integrate some meaningful functionalities into its user interface. It’s clear that Nothing’s aesthetics and even the Glyph Interface might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But the one thing that the brand claims it does - make technology fun again - it’s doing really well. 

Consider buying the Nothing Phone (2) if you’re still for a edgy smartphone with a design and aesthetic like no other, that also deliver a clean Android experience, great battery life, and a large display. If you don’t find the use for flashing lights on a smartphone, have no fondness for monochromes, or are looking for a smartphone that delivers stellar photography, then you might want to skip this one. 

Nothing Phone (2)
Price 
₹44,999 (8GB + 128GB) 
₹49,999 (12GB + 256GB)
₹54,999 (12GB + 512GB)
Pros: The edgiest phone around, unique user interface, long battery life, meaningful Glyph Interface updates 
Cons: Close-ups can be a mixed bag, no microSD card slot
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