Nothing Phone (2a) One-Month Review: A Smartphone That Has Gotten Better With Time

Performance was the major issue for Phone (2a) as the smartphone majorly lagged, especially when having those prolonged gaming sessions
Nothing Phone (2a) One-Month Review: A Smartphone That Has Gotten Better With Time

Nothing to me is a company that has been a work in progress since its launch in October of 2020. It’s a company that prides itself on ‘fixing’ and ‘making right’. The company may not acknowledge where it makes a misstep, but it’ll quickly issue an update or two, to rectify the situation.

That’s just how the Nothing Phone (2a) launch and the aftermath of its first sales went. Shortly after consumers got their hands on the much-awaited Phone (2a), the complaints started trickling in. Performance was the major issue for Phone (2a) as the smartphone majorly lagged, especially when having those prolonged gaming sessions

Without saying a word about it, Nothing quietly released a big update for the Phone (2a). One doesn’t want any lagging or stuttering from day one. A smartphone that improves over time, rather than getting slower (hello there iPhone), is much preferred. And, with three smartphones under its belt, it’s looking good for Nothing.

I’ve been using the smartphone ever since its launch and I am impressed. The Nothing Phone (2a) is a much better smartphone now than at the time of its launch. Yes, it had teething problems concerning the performance aspect, and I wasn’t happy, nor were many of the consumers I’ve talked to. But nowadays my impression has changed. I’m a happy camper.

I’m not going to wax eloquently about the Nothing Phone (2a). It’s not a smartphone that will blow you away. Yes, it is very different in front of the crowd, and that’s what I like most about it.

Instead, I’ll be succinct and to the point. Let me tell you about the Nothing Phone (2a) in a few points and it’ll help inform your decision on whether to purchase the Nothing Phone (2a) or not.

1. Unique UI: Nothing OS 2.5 is one major advantage for the company. It’s something out of the ordinary. It’s got a nearly stock Android experience, yet it is different. It’s a custom Android skin that adds a unique personality. It’s a clutter-free interface, and one of my favourite Android skins out there. It takes a lot from Google’s Material You design language and has a minimalist vibe that is pleasing to the eyes.

Furthermore, it’s got the signature “dot matrix” aesthetics. It’s a grid-like pattern and sets Nothing OS apart from the crowd.

The “Glyph” lights are present on the Phone (2a). It’s got just three total light strips this time around, but it’s a feature that just couldn’t be omitted. The third of those light strips can show volume settings, be used as a timer or have countdowns to Uber pickups and Zomato deliveries. As usual, the lights can match your ringtone, sync with your music, and much more.

2. Display: With a 6.7-inch flexible AMOLED panel (Full HD+ resolution and a variable refresh rate from 30Hz to 120Hz), the Nothing (2a) has one of the best displays in this segment. It has a peak brightness of up to 1,100 nits which is plenty bright for outdoor visibility. The display offers vibrant colours, good viewing angles and equally sized bezels around the device.

During the harsh daylight sun in Delhi, I had no problems with legibility. Of course, watching videos under the bright sunlight isn’t ideal, but I could still see highlights of the previous day’s Indian Premier League match without having to strain my eyes.

3. Performance: Consumers weren’t happy and neither was I. When I first unboxed the Phone (2a) and started using it, I found it to be slow and laggy. I wasn’t alone in that regard. The Phone (2a) has a customised version of the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro chipset.

A slew of updates later and I like how the smartphone has turned out. Heating isn’t an issue, but this smartphone isn’t built for gaming. There will be some throttling and a phone like OnePlus 12R may be the better buy for gamers out there.

Keeping that in mind, I was happy with the performance concerning daily tasks. Whether it was texting via Telegram, participating in Discord group calls, watching YouTube videos, or other tasks, the Phone (2a) flew through them with aplomb.

4. Cameras: The Phone (2a) features a pair of 50MP cameras on the rear. These cameras are a hit or miss. In good daylight conditions, the Phone (2a) delivered impressive shots. The colours were vibrant, skin tones looked natural and there was hardly any oversaturation. The photos will do wonders for your social media profiles. Even portrait photos came out well. The background separation was much better than I was expecting.

It’s in low-light conditions where the smartphone falls behind its competitors. And the colours were off when using the ultra-wide sensor.

There is nothing to write home about with the cameras on the Phone (2a). Yes, they are good, and up there, but not the best in this segment.

5. Battery life and charging: Thanks to the 5,000mAh battery inside of the Phone (2a), the smartphone was able to deliver all-day battery life on a single charge. For the most part, I was able to eke out one and a half days of charge before having to reach out for a charger. The Phone (2a) supports 45W fast charging but there is no charger included in the box. Using a regular PD charger, the phone took about 80 minutes to go from zero to a hundred.

Verdict: The Phone (2a) is a unique option in the crowded mid-range segment. It’s got an eye-catching design (with its transparent back), a near and unique stock Android experience, one of the best displays in this segment, and thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor, flies through the daily tasks. It also has great battery life to boot.

What’s holding it back is the camera system and the gaming performance.

At Rs 23,999, the Phone (2a) stands out for its character and its individuality. Most people haven’t seen a smartphone like this and it’s sure to catch the eye of many in a crowd. If you want something different and unique, and if you aren’t a gamer, then the Nothing Phone (2a) is for you. At Rs 23,999, the smartphone is aggressively priced and the company has a focus on user experience and listening to feedback.

The Nothing Phone (2a) is a compelling choice.

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