After its first-ever phone won plaudits last year, the London-based fledgling tech firm Nothing has returned for a second go at the mobile market.
And there’s much to like with the 5G Nothing Phone (2), from it’s effortlessly cool design to wacky light-up back panel and unique user interface.
This Android-based device comes with an ethos from the firm to make technology fun again.
And they’ve certainly made a stand-out device at a very decent price point that pushes value for money.
The Nothing Phone (2) is incredibly sleek out of the no-nonsense box, very much looking like the latest iPhones on the market from the glass front side.
We tried the gun metal grey version and it’s got an incredibly smooth edge-to-edge 6.7” OLED display with 1600 nits peak pixel brightness.
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What that means in English is that it displays slightly warmer and brighter than many of its contemporaries and fares very well against the flagship iPhone 14 display thanks to a 2412×1080 pixel resolution.
The mid frame is made of 100% recycled aluminium as the company tries to push its eco credentials.
And as you turn to the back you get to the gimmick of the device, that subtle curved pillowed glass with built-in glyph lighting.
The see-through look of the first phone returns with an Apple-esque design that lights up when you do different things.
So, for example, you can have certain lights illuminate when you get a call or message from a particular person, so you know it is them calling even when your phone is face down.
You can compose your own light show ringtone in the composer menu.
Or you can modify the lights so that it’ll give you a visual idea how loud your sound is up when you twiddle the sound buttons.
It even tells you how charged the device is when plugged in using a light bar.
All clever stuff, but none of which is really necessary.
And for many phone users, it’ll be nothing more than a gimmick that wanes quickly.
But what’s under the hood for this £580-£700 device?
Well there’s a Snapdragon 8 + Gen 1 chipset, which the firm says boosts overall running of the software by 80% compared to the first Nothing phone.
Having had a good old play with the unit, it does fly about quickly between apps.
You can power your fingers around the screen and it reacts instantly, again easily comparable to higher priced rivals.
It’s slick as hell.
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A lot of the aesthetic look is also down to the 2.0 operating system.
This is a unique Nothing-designed black and white OS built around customisation while looking incredibly cool.
It’s about making sure the things most important to you sit right there front and centre on your Home Screen.
So for me, weather forecasts are side-by-side comfortably in little widgets alongside an analogue clock, a block of my core google apps, and my top games to jump straight into.
Little bursts of red widgets break the screen up between the monotone visual, and you can build multiple home screens for different areas of your life.
Let’s not forget an ever more important part of any smartphone, the camera.
And on the Nothing Phone (2) we really are blessed with some top optics.
On the back, there’s a 50MP main camera supported by a 50MP ultra-wide second lens that use AI tech to help produce extremely clear images even at high speed.
On the front, the selfie lovers get to enjoy an impressive 32MP sensor, a major upgrade on the previous device’s 16MP lens.
The internal phone’s components are capable of capturing 4,000 times more camera data for a picture and you’ll really notice this when taking long-distance shots you then want to zoom in on at a later point.
Images have a real depth and detail to them and Night Mode does a very good job at sucking in all that accuracy even at low light.
It’s one of the Nothing Phone (2)’s strongest features.
Video also captures at 4K detail in a silky smooth 60 frames per second, or 1080P HD on the front-facing camera.
Battery wise, this handset lasts absolutely ages, with a quick charge of just 55 minutes getting you back to full.
A cool little extra gimmick is that the back circle on the phone acts as a 5W wireless charger, so you can power your ear buds on the go too from your phone if they run dry.
It’s IP54 splash, water and dust resistant. And also has both face and fingerprint unlock like the top-end phones.
You’ll get three years worth of Android updates and can easily switch to the classic Android interface if the Nothing OS gets a bit much for the eyeballs.
Overall, this is an incremental step up from the first Nothing phone and offers a very strong camera set that is comparable with the iPhone 14.
It looks stylish, feels good in the hand and offers a ton of customisation and speed at its core.
You’re getting a lot of phone here, but then it is considerably more expensive than its predecessor, so you’d expect that.
Is this an iPhone killer – no – but does Nothing have the future potential to create a device even better than Apple’s flagship – absolutely.
And for now, Android lovers really do have a top piece of British tech to choose from alongside the more established Samsungs of this world when deciding on their next handset.
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