Nothing Phone (2) Long-Term Review: A Solid Android Brimming With Personality

Since its inception, London-based Nothing has created distinctive products that look unlike anything else on the market. The company’s Ear (1), for instance, wowed the audience and the critics with its transparent earbuds. And, with the Phone (1), the company upped the ante by furnishing the smartphone with an LED-laden back. 

Nothing Phone 2 Featured

While some could argue that the company’s designs stick out like a sore thumb, the brand has stayed true to its identity. In fact, after the success of the Phone (1), the company recently unveiled the Phone (2), which improves upon its predecessor in more ways than one.

More notably, the device can be purchased in the USA this time, which begs the question – Is the smartphone worth its $600 price tag? Well, I’ve been using the Phone (2) for a hot minute, and here’s everything you need to know about the smartphone.

Design and Display

From afar, it’s hard to tell the Phone (2) from the Phone (1). Just like the Phone (1), the Phone (2)’s transparent back panel gives you a peek into the handset’s innards, and you can spot the smartphone’s wireless charging coil, among other things. That said, the Phone (2)’s back curves ever so slightly, thereby ensuring the smartphone feels sleeker in the hand. The curved back also allows users to grip the phone more confidently, which is great.

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The Phone (2) also comes with more addressable LED lighting zones – 33, to be precise – so you can do more with the dynamic light-up effects. And, thanks to these advancements, the Phone (2)’s Glyph interface feels less of an afterthought or a gimmick. Instead, the smartphone’s design feels more cohesive, and the LEDs actually serve a multitude of functions. More on that later, though. 

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Coming back to the design, the Phone (2) is available in two hues, including a White and a new Gray shade. I snagged the gray colorway, which looks superb, to say the least. Additionally, the smartphone’s dark frame complements its Glyph LEDs well, too.

The handset’s dual-camera array doesn’t sit on a module, thereby adding to the sense of minimalism to the Phone (2)’s design. All said and done, the Phone (2)’s design – albeit similar to that of the Phone (1) – still stands out and makes the smartphone extremely desirable. 

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On the flip side, the Phone (2) is not as robust as some competing devices from Google’s stables. To that end, both, the Pixel 7a and the Pixel 7 offer tougher IP67 and IP68 ingress protection ratings. The Phone (2), on the other hand, ships with an IP54 rating. Similarly, the Pixel 7 comes layered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus on the back and the front. The Phone (2) uses Gorilla Glass v5 instead. 

Despite not meeting its arch-rival spec-for-spec, the Phone (2) feels quite durable and sturdy. Regardless, I’d recommend you use a case with the smartphone if you want to keep it in pristine condition. 

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As for the display, the smartphone sports a bigger and brighter OLED panel than its predecessor. Spec-wise, the display measures 6.77 inches and offers a max brightness of 1,000 nits, which can further scale up to 1,600 nits for HDR content. The panel refreshes at 120Hz and, as such, feels noticeably more fluid than the Pixel 7a and Pixel 7’s 90Hz screens. 

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Additionally, the screen exhibits rich colors and inky blacks. Add to that the uniform bezels bordering the display, and you’ll find yourself glued to the Phone (2)’s screen. If anything, the device doesn’t support HDR playback from OTT services like Netflix. You can, however, watch HDR videos uploaded to YouTube. 

Glyph Interface, Audio, and Biometrics

Part of the Phone (2)’s charm is its Glyph interface, which comprises a set of LEDs that can notify you of incoming messages and more. And, fret not – the company has neatly aggregated all Glyph features under one roof in the settings app. 

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Once in the Glyph menu, you will be able to tweak the LEDs’ dynamic effect when you receive a call. You can even set the LEDs to light up in a certain way for a handful of contacts. Additionally, the effect can be changed for text messages, too. Some other standout features include the ability to change the brightness of the LEDs, as well as use a section of the lights in tandem with a countdown timer.

You’ll also get visual feedback when you invoke the Google Assistant, or when you plug the phone into a wall charger. You can even nudge the device when it’s face down to get an indication of the battery level, which is excellent. More notably, the Phone (2) comes with a new feature dubbed Glyph Progress, which works in conjunction with third-party apps like Uber to indicate the progress of your current ride. 

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The company has even partnered with Zomato – a food delivery service, here in India – for the same. All things considered, the Glyph interface will not transform your user experience dramatically. That said, it adds a delightful twist to conventional slab smartphones, and I’m all for it. 

As for audio, the Phone (2) sports a dual speaker array that gets adequately loud for watching movies and videos. The same goes for the biometrics too, which comprise an in-display fingerprint sensor and facial recognition. Both features worked flawlessly and allowed me to get into my home screen in a jiffy, so no complaints here.

Performance, Software, and Battery Life

The Nothing Phone (2) will not leave you wanting more in the performance department. The smartphone is backed by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which isn’t the newest SoC on the market. That said, it is still a very capable SoC that can run most, if not all games at the best possible graphics and FPS presets.

Nothing Phone 2 Antutu Geekbench

Additionally, the processor is decidedly faster than the Phone (1)’s Snapdragon 778G chipset and the Pixel 7 range’s Tensor G2 SoC. Now, I did run a slew of benchmarks on the device, and to no one’s surprise, the Phone (2) performed admirably in most synthetic tests. Take the handset’s GeekBench v6 score, for instance, where the unit overturned 1,696 and 4,363 points in the single-core and multi-core test runs.

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Similarly, the device churned out 9,88,232 points in the Antutu Benchmark. As for gaming, the smartphone could run demanding games like CoD Mobile at Very High and Max graphics and FPS presets respectively. I could even bump up the in-game FPS to 90FPS by dropping the graphics settings. To no one’s surprise, the display automatically adapts the refresh rate to 90Hz, thereby ensuring minimal screen tearing and ghosting during gaming sessions.

Nothing Phone 2 WildLife Extreme Stress Test

As you might have guessed by now, I really enjoyed playing games on the Phone (2). The handset could keep up with my gaming needs seamlessly, and it didn’t get too warm to the touch, either. 

The same is further substantiated by the phone’s 3DMark Extreme Stress test run, wherein the device net a 70 percent stability score despite being subjected to 20 taxing loops. All things considered, if you’re an avid gamer, the Phone (2) will not disappoint you. 

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I really like the Phone (2)’s software as well. In fact, NothingOS is shaping up to be my favorite Android skin, and for a good reason. You see, the UI offers ample customization options, including the ability to change the home screen grid size, hide the app labels, or apply third-party icon packs. At the same time, the menus don’t feel cluttered, and the smartphone doesn’t bog the user experience down with unnecessary bloatware. 

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Having said that, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the new Monochrome UI, which – as its moniker suggests – removes the app labels and applies a dark icon pack and theme to the phone. On the upside, the phone lets you add a handful of widgets and quick-access shortcuts to the lock screen. You can tweak the layout to your liking and even use the feature in tandem with the phone’s Always-On Display utility. 

As for software updates, Nothing states that the Phone (2) will receive three major OS updates and four years of security updates. While you will get more OS updates with, say, the Samsung Galaxy S23, the Phone (2) should serve you well for the foreseeable future.

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The Phone (2) comes with wireless charging chops, and you can top-up the phone’s 4,700mAh battery pack at 15W on a Qi-enabled charging pad. Else, you can juice up the phone at 45W by using a compatible charger.

It’s important to note that the smartphone offers faster wired charging than Google’s Pixel 7 range. Additionally, the device lasted me a full day, with my usage comprising using social media apps, some light gaming, and watching videos on YouTube.


Over the course of my review period, the Nothing Phone (2) received a handful of updates that improved its photography chops. In fact, I noticed a major difference in the smartphone’s camera performance after the NothingOS 2.0.2 update. That said, the company has doled out an additional update since then, which further improves the phone’s HDR performance. 

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So, how do the Phone (2)’s cameras perform? Firstly, you should know that the device is backed by a pair of 50MP sensors on the rear, comprising a wide and ultrawide angle camera. The primary sensor clicks splendid photos during the day with ample detailing and vivid colors. For the most part, the camera reciprocates the scene to a tee, although with the recent updates, the sensor has seemingly started adding a bit more saturation in the shots. 

On the whole, though, the Phone (2)’s 50MP primary sensor will not disappoint you in daylight scenarios. If anything, I noticed that, at times, the smartphone would not expose the scene correctly. The same is evident if you look at the sky in the snap of yours truly. But, these inconsistencies were far and few in between.

Now, the device doesn’t ship with a telephoto sensor and, instead, offers a 2x digital zoom, which works well for the most part. I noticed that the sensor struggles to expose a 2x shot properly at times, which is evident if you look at the snap of the blue tractor. 

Here, the hood of the vehicle is a bit overexposed. That said, the camera managed to overturn delightful stills at 2x zoom, too. For example, if you zoom into the 2x still of the garden in my apartment complex, you’ll notice that the snap is replete with details. Although I would’ve liked the smartphone to bring about more details in the shadows, the photo has been tastefully rendered. 

All in all, while there’s still room for improvement, you can get some high-quality stills at 2x zoom with the Phone (2). The ultrawide angle photos look fine, too, although you will notice that the objects positioned towards the periphery of the frame appear blurred or hazy. That said, the photos offer superb sharpness towards the center of the frame, and the snaps have good exposure-metering too. 

The same goes for lowlight stills as well, and with the built-in night mode utility enabled, the handset manages to bring out a lot of information from a dimly lit scene. The smartphone even resolves the light emanating from street lamps eloquently. As such, you will notice the snaps don’t have a lot of lens flaring in them. 

The Phone (2) also comes with a 32MP front-facing camera, which clicks great selfies. Although I would’ve liked to see better edge detection for portrait snaps, the device is more than adept at clicking a sharp photo to be shared to your Instagram or Snapchat story. 


The Nothing Phone (2) starts at $599 in the USA and, for the price, gives the Pixel 7 a run for its money. In fact, despite retailing for the same price, the device offers a faster processor, a more fluid display, and faster-wired charging speeds, too. Of course, you will miss out on Google’s advanced HDR algorithms that make photos from the Pixel 7 stand out. Be that as it may, the Phone (2) clicks good-quality photos, too, which will surely impress folks on your timeline.

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More importantly, the Phone (2)’s Glyph interface separates it from the herd of similar-looking Android smartphones. The device’s showy lights are a joy to use and set up for different interactions, and they’ll undoubtedly turn heads when you’re out and about. In addition, the phone’s user interface provides excellent customization options. Despite that, the UI is reminiscent of stock Android and is void of any bloatware. 

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Of course, buyers residing in other markets, particularly in India, are spoilt for choices, and although the Nothing Phone (2) is a commendable device, at Rs 44,999, the handset is a tough sell. In fact, you can get similarly-specced and loaded devices like the OnePlus 11R for much less. Consequently, unless you really like the smartphone’s Glyph interface, I’d recommend you save some bucks and snag the 11R instead.

All said and done, the Phone (2) is a joy to use. It’s not perfect, and I would’ve liked to see a telephoto sensor with the phone, as well as a more longevous software update roadmap. But, for its asking price in the USA, the device gets more right than wrong and, as such, is worthy of recommendation. 

What We Like

  • Distinctive design
  • Glyph Interface is extremely fun to use
  • Good Performance
  • Sharp 120Hz OLED display
  • Good battery backup
  • Clean UI with good customizability

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t support HDR playback from Netflix
  • Main camera can overexpose the scene at times
  • Doesn’t come with a charger in the box

Last updated on 28 August, 2023

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