Nothing Phone (2) one-month review - Beyond the Glyph interface
- Nothing Phone(2) starts at a price of ₹44,999
- The smartphone features a revised Glyph interface
- It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC
AdvertisementNothing Phone(2) launched a month ago on July 11, with a major hype around it. This was particularly unique considering it is a device which is not necessarily a flagship. Credits to their marketing and a very well received predecessor in Nothing Phone(1), this was bound to happen. With a slightly revised design, and a new Glyph interface, Nothing claims there are added software features which will elevate the experience of using the device. Having spent a month with the Nothing Phone(2), I can help and answer if the claims are true. This is a device which has bifurcated the industry, so I will try and answer if this is in fact bang for your buck. You can also watch our overview video for Nothing Phone(2) here.
Price & Availability
Nothing Phon(2) is available in multiple variants.
|8GB RAM + 128GB Storage||₹44,999|
|12GB RAM + 256GB Storage||₹49,999|
|12GB RAM + 512GB Storage||₹54,999|
You can buy the Nothing Phone(2) from Flipkart.
Nothing Phone(2) has developed and improved upon the unique design we witnessed in Nothing Phone(1). Just like last year, I couldn’t help but admire how unique the device looks, and stands out when put against the competition. As is the case with transparent smartphones, it is always about the details. Nothing team seems to have cracked the code down for it, and the device not only looks minimalistic but has a presence which we can’t ignore. I have people come up to me and ask what it was, yes there is a section who isn’t aware of the brand even now.
The build quality is certainly premium with the flat metal edges and the glass sandwich design, the smartphone feels pricey. While I won’t say it is in the ranks of my iPhone 14 Pro, it definitely has its own space which I appreciate. The device also features IP54 water resistant rating which is encouraging given the design.
We have a lot going on at the back of the Phone(2). The device houses glyph interface, the dual camera set-up, a flash and the red LED light to denote video recording. Everything is touched up and updated, but yes it will look very similar to the previous device initially. However it is only after you start interacting with the device, especially the Glyph lights that you will realize it’s a completely different device.
The Glyph lights this time are not following a single body design, but are divided into sections giving a better variety for visual performance. I like this better, considering it comes in handy when you are making unique ringtones for it. We will discuss more about them in the software section.
You will find the power button on the right side of the device, and volume rockers on the left side. The buttons feel premium and are a perfect fit for the size of the device. At the bottom you will find the SIM card tray, which can house two nano SIM cards. Do note that the Nothing Phone(2) will not start until you put a SIM card for the first boot-up.
Nothing Phone(2) features a 6.7-inch LTPO OLED display with 120Hz of max refresh rate and 1600 nits of peak brightness. This is a rare occasion where the numbers match the performance. The flat display here can give much more expensive competition a run for their money. I have been using the Phone(2) as my primary device for watching content, and considering it does support HDR10+ it has not faltered on performance.
I have been watching Marvel’s Secret Invasion on Disney+ Hotstar and the Phone(2) has been a reliable companion. The black levels are perfect and the display projects perfect clarity without fail. I witnessed similar performance on other platforms as well.
Considering the peak brightness at 1600 nits, the device is a delight to look at both indoors and outdoors.
With a refresh rate of 120Hz, I had a fun time reading content off of the display and playing games on the device as well. However I feel the auto-switch refresh rate can be a tad bit better here. Since, I did notice it fluctuated when I switched between a web page to an application like instagram. Otherwise the performance was linear.
The display is paired with a dual speaker set-up which is fairly loud. If you are watching content on the device, you don’t necessarily need external audio attachments.
The smartphone features an optical fingerprint sensor under the display, which is quick to register your biometric information. Rightly placed and snappy to unlock the device it is yet to miss out on any attempt, so that’s good news.
This is where Nothing Phone(2) actually reveals itself, and why we should take this device seriously. Running on Android 13 out of the box paired with Nothing OS skin, this device becomes truly unique purely on software play.
From widgets to dialer to the exclusive Nothing skin, I had a great time using the device. I am a big fan of default themes, because I believe that is the best iteration of the software the brand could provide. This is the reason I don’t customize my iPhone’s skin either. However, I do like widgets and sincerely believe they add a lot of value to your productivity.
Nothing OS meets both of my expectations with it’s clean UI and a buffet of widget options that are useful. I have been using the device on the Nothing OS skin which makes the icons into black and white avatars, it’s easy on the eyes. What I also like is how the Nothing team is actively working to add more applications to this icon pack.
AdvertisementSo far I have downloaded X(previously twitter) and GeekBench 6, both of which to my surprise are part of the icons pack. But then there are apps like Instagram which are colorful, and they stand out like sore thumb in a neat arrangement. I hope this icon pack increases its bandwidth over time. Of Course you do have an option to use regular icons as well.
As for widgets, I am using the Google calendar widget regularly along with Google search and maps. All of which work perfectly and don’t take a lot of screen space.
Now coming to the unique Nothing quirks, starting with the Glyph interface. Nothing has expanded the use case of Glyph lights this year.
Starting with the torch, yes long press on the torch icon on the drop down menu and you can use the Glyph lights as a torch. They aren’t as bright as the actual flash for the camera though. I wish we could use both the torch and the Glyph lights together.
Then, the Glyph ringtones, yes just like last year you have a variety of presets where in the lights will spark according to the ringtones. They are all unique both in terms of audio and glyph patterns. I have set-up the default ringtone, since it stands out the most for me.
AdvertisementHowever, you can make your own ringtones as well with the Glyph composer. I am yet to hear anyone make a nice tune out of it, but if you can you are in for a treat. The brand has also introduced the Swedish House Mafia pack in the composer which definitely stands out.
The Glyph lights are now also integrated to show progress for your taxi and food orders. This is done for Zomato and Uber. I have used them both and frankly speaking it’s not really handy. Considering I prefer looking at the minutes remaining on the screen than a light bar progress.
This brings me to the point that while Glyph lights do bring in a lot of appeal to the device, you will eventually grow out of them. Yes, there will remain certain use cases which you will rely on for the long term - like battery percentage and notifications. But otherwise, they will not hold your attention for long.
What will infact hold your desire for the device it’s UI and build quality, and Glyph interface is just a part of it. You can watch our Glyph interface tour here.
Nothing Phone(2) is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. A chipset much we are seeing in this price range across devices like the OnePlus 11R. This is an efficient CPU which has delivered promising results before, so it’s of no surprise it performs well on the Phone(2).
The processor works perfectly in sync with the device delivering performance across spectrums. I am talking both about general computing and complex tasks like gaming.
I have been running the device on maxed-out settings for gaming and otherwise. COD: Mobile is my game of preference if you have followed my reviews. The performance here is stable, and I got a consistent frame rate of up to 60 fps. Paired with the 120Hz refresh rate on display, the gaming experience was very solid.
I also played GenShin impact, an open-world title. The render speeds were quick, and the smartphone never lagged in processing the elements. Loading and sustaining the environment is challenging in a graphic-heavy game like this.
I also ran a geek bench performance score on the Phone(2), and the results were respectful. The single-core score is 1714 and the multi-core score is 4021.
This is inline with it’s competition like the OnePlus 11R. The device by OnePlus had a single-core score of 1380, and the multi-core score of 3744.
Of course, emails, social media, and other general tasks were handled without any worries.
The 12GB of RAM in my review variant had excellent memory retention, and I could jump between apps instantly. That being said, this is a brand-new device, and the performance might dip in prolonged usage.
The 256GB should be ample for most users, and I suggest buyers opt for this variant. Considering the premium you pay over the base variant is not monumental, and the value you get out of it is a worthy investment. It also sits between the base variant and the much more expensive 512GB variant.
The 4700mAh battery on the device is a powerhouse.The Phone(2) supports 45W charging. The charging speed here is comparatively slower than the competition.The device goes from 0-100% in about 70 minutes with active data connectivity and apps running in the background.
AdvertisementI have been averaging out a screen on time of about 5 hours with heavy usage, which is a good sign. The device also supports 15W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging as well.
The Phone(2) is equipped with a dual-camera setup that consists of a 50MP primary camera and a 50MP ultra-wide sensor. The primary camera boasts features like Phase Detection Auto Focus and Optical Image Stabilization, contributing to its impressive performance.
In well-lit conditions, the primary camera captures images with a pleasant daylight performance, exhibiting accurate color reproduction, well-maintained white balance, and effective HDR implementation. The details in the images are also notably sharp and well-defined.
At the maximum resolution of 50MP, the camera reveals a significant increase in detail, particularly in shadow areas. While this enhances image quality, it does result in larger file sizes. This high resolution is especially useful for capturing images that you intend to edit extensively.
The low-light capabilities of the primary camera are commendable, largely due to the consistent utilization of night mode through software optimization. This results in images with distinct colors and preserved details, even in challenging lighting situations.
The 50MP ultra-wide camera extends the field of view but exhibits a slight color shift and undersaturated colors. Additionally, some loss of detail is noticeable, indicating room for improvement in this aspect.
Portrait shots, generated through AI processing, manage to mitigate some of these issues. The AI-driven edge detection is precise, lending a sense of depth and accuracy to portrait images.
A significant upturn in quality occurs when shifting to video mode. The primary camera supports 4K video recording at both 30 and 60 frames per second, catering to the needs of serious content creators. The videos exhibit a pleasing blend of color accuracy, stabilization, and dynamic range, ensuring footage that not only looks great on the device but also offers post-production flexibility.
For casual recording purposes with a focus on saving storage space, it's advisable to opt for 1080P resolution. This resolution offers a good balance between quality and file size, making it a practical choice for everyday use.
AdvertisementConversely, the ultra-wide sensor's video performance is less impressive. It's limited to 1080P at 30 frames per second, and noticeable color discrepancies are evident.
On the front, the 32MP selfie camera produces decent results. In low-light conditions, there might be some reduction in detail, but proper lighting ensures accurate color reproduction and sharp details. The camera app applies moderate processing to facial features, resulting in an overall improved look without appearing overly retouched. The portrait mode, despite being AI-driven, yields mostly accurate edge detection for pleasing results.
Nothing Phone(2) is a unique blend of fresh approach to a device and delivering quality features at the same time. While yes it is priced a bit more than the competition, I believe the premium you pay is worth it. You get a unique looking device with reliable features and interesting software updates.
However if you are not a fan of changes then you can look into Pixel 7a and OnePlus 11R. Both of which have certain strong points in camera and battery departments respectively over the Nothing Phone(2). Moreover you get a clean OS experience on the devices.
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