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Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

Nothing recently revealed its very first "low cost" smartphone, the Nothing Phone (2a). We were able to test the latter in preview to deliver our exclusive test to you.

Nothing is still a young company. In just a few years, the small brand founded by Carl Pei (ex-CEO of OnePlus) has managed to achieve success. make a name for yourself in the tech industry. First with its semi-transparent earphones Ear (1) and Ear (2), then with two very promising smartphones, the Nothing Phone (1) and Nothing Phone (2) .

At the beginning of 2024, Nothing decides to tackle the problem. a new market : 'low cost' smartphones, with a product just announced : the Nothing Phone (2a). Available à starting from 349 euros with us, the Phone (2a) therefore rubs à big names like Samsung with its Galaxy A or Google with its Pixel a.

We were able to test the Nothing Phone (2a) for several weeks to verify whether or not it is a good one entry-level smartphone, and the latter hides many surprises.

Editor's note: This review was completed by fully realized &agrav; from a loaned copy; by the brand.

A design made entirely of plastic and transparency

It's difficult to discuss a product from Nothing without mentioning its design. The firm has made a point of honor offer devices that are easily recognizable and stand out from the competition aesthetically speaking. The Nothing Phone (2a) does not escape this problem. This rule and sports a transparent glass back at the top of which sit the two photo modules housed on top of the NFC coil. Whether we like it or not, the design of the Nothing Phone (2a) is original and clearly contrasts with what we are used to seeing for entry' ;eacute;e range.

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

The design of the Nothing Phone (2a) is very original for its price range. © Linternaute/Julian Madiot

This is also the first time that a smartphone from Nothing has a photo block located on the right side of the screen. in the center of the device, not in a corner. This allows the Phone (2a) to stand out radically compared to the firm's previous phones, the Phone (1) and the Phone (2). ). If we had some reservations about the fact that the Phone's photo block (2a) is not completely flat, our doubts quickly disappeared since this small bump allows to have a more pleasant grip when holding the phone in a different position. two hands (to play or watch a video for example).

The edges of the Nothing Phone (2a) are, à the opposite of its back, well representative of the entry level. Featuring a white/black plastic coating, these edges are comfortable to touch. use, but still very "cheap" touch. We feel that Nothing has deserved make some savings on this covering. The buttons, however, remain very well placed and fall well under the thumb. The presence of a single speaker does not, however, guarantee very ;s good audio experience, but we'll come back to that later.

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

The (very) original design of the Nothing Phone (2a). © Linternaute/Julian Madiot

At the front, we find a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with an integrated selfie camera ;e in the upper center of the Nothing Phone (2a).

A pleasant screen use, but &agrav; brightness hazardous

The screen of the Nothing Phone (2a) is equipped with A refresh rate of 120Hz which can adapt depending on the content you are viewing. The latter oscillates between 60 and 120 Hz which allows you to have a nice fluidity, especially when you launch a video game rich in action and/or animations. Nothing also announces that the Phone (2a) has excellent brightness. maximum brightness of 1300 nits and brightness high 1100 nits (compared to 700 on phone 1). We are far from the champions in the field, but it is enough to enjoy your content with good readability, even in direct sunlight. Too bad the brightness is too bad. automatic is sometimes completely out of sync with the ambient light and you have to adjust the latter yourself frequently.

The Nothing Phone (2a) offers two display modes for its screen colors:

  • Active: this mode allows you to accentuate the rendering of colors in order to make them stand out more.
  • Normal: this mode delivers tones closer to reality, but with less vivid colors.

Ça, it's on paper. Unfortunately, in reality, itˆs extremely complicatedé to see a real difference between these two display modes. However, it remains possible to calibrate the Phone's screen (2a) with more or less warm colors.

A smartphone that has something under the hood

The Phone (2a) is the first smartphone from Nothing not to integrate a Snapdragon processor. For its first entry-level smartphone, the firm has chosen to trust Mediatek with a Dimensity 7200 Pro chip specially designed for the Phone (2a). For reference, this is a chip similar to those present within the already existing very good Redmi Note 13 from Xiaomi, the most advanced model of which we were able to test.

On a daily basis, the Phone (2a) responds very well. We were able to launch multiple applications and navigate between several windows without experiencing any slowdown or complete freeze of the phone. The animations follow each other fluidly.

But the most surprising thing remains concerning the game. Basically, a resource-intensive title like "Genshin Impact" launches with graphics set to “low”. However, it is possible to push them up to “high”. and play without feeling slowed down. Better yet: we hardly noticed anything. processor heating while we played for almost an hour playing the game! If we have more doubts about the autonomy of the Phone (2a) over long hours of gaming, it is clear that the phone does extremely well for casual gaming.< /p>

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

The Phone (2a) is all à Made capable of supporting your favorite games. © Linternaute/Julian Madiot

Good photos, but a little too much

To the question: does the Nothing Phone (2a) take good photos, the clearest answer is yes. But we are not going to finish this analysis here otherwise our tests would be much shorter.

The Phone (2a) does not have a telephoto lens (the opposite would have been surprising), but is equipped with two lenses to take photos:

  • A 50 Mpx main sensor with a 1/1.56" focal aperture.
  • A 50 Mpx ultra-wide-angle sensor with a focal aperture of 1/2.76".

The main sensor delivers good results when the brightness is high. ambient is correct. The details remain quite detailed and the stitching remains quite good. The picture is good. However, we may notice some small anomalies in terms of light and colorimetry. A criticism that we will often see in the photo performances of the Nothing Phone (2a) which tends to lose its performance. overexpose his scenes and force a little too much on the brightness; and bright colors.

The ultra wide angle suffers, as for him, with more or less the same concerns. The images obtained are still widely usable as is or with a few small adjustments to be used on social networks.

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

The absence of a telephoto lens unfortunately prevents the Nothing Phone (2a) from shining when zooming, even in ambient light. is good and your subjects are still. Shots taken with a x2 or x3 zoom can still work, but beyond that, expect to take more shots. see numerous blurs appear as well as digital noise in the image.

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

Excerpt from a photo carried out in x5 zoom. © Linternaute/Julian Madiot

The "portrait" of Nothing Phone (2a) does quite well. There is always a certain exaggeration on the part of the telephone which will try to smooth out your subject too much and clarify your shot. ;nbsp;The result is rather successful results, but which are a little out of sync with reality.

Night photos are a complicated exercise; for many entry-level smartphones. The Nothing Phone (2a) is no exception. If the shots taken remain fully usable, the blur effects appear very easily from the start. s when your subject is moving or your hands shake a little too much when taking your photo. Light sources such as street lamps and neon lights are also difficult to clean. manage and often reveal numerous lines of light which spoil your photos.

Nothing Phone 2a review: beneath its appearance lies a true champion

A not so pleasant audio experience

We mentioned it before. above: the Nothing Phone (2a) only has one small speaker to listen to your music directly from the phone. The latter is unfortunately not enough to guarantee a very good hearing experience since the sound coming from the Phone (2a) quickly tends to become louder. saturate.

The Nothing Phone (2a) also does not have a jack port to plug in your headphones. You will therefore need to use an appropriate adapter. or a Bluetooth connection to pair your device.

Very decent battery life and recharging

The new "low cost" from Nothing has a 5000 mAh battery which, on paper, should give it good autonomy. We used I used the Phone (2a) as my primary smartphone for almost two weeks of testing and never felt a lack of battery on any particular day. Our tests were based on the use of multiple applications: messages, Whatsapp, X (formally Twitter), Facebook messenger, Twitch, YouTube, Genshin Impact and TikTok.

Unplugged &agrav; 8 a.m., the Phone (2a) still showed a solid score of just over 40% battery at 8 a.m. the end of our day. In standard use and without video games, it is possible to approach two days of use before having to go through a recharge.

The Nothing Phone (2a) is compatible with 45 W fast charging with the possibility  to recover a little less than 50% battery in around twenty minutes. It's a shame that no charger is provided in the box, but such a decision would certainly have had an impact on the final price of the device. The Phone (2a) fully recharges from 1 to 10 minutes. 100% in just under an hour and is not compatible with wireless charging.

Clear communications for seamless connectivity at the top

We were able to try the Nothing Phone (2a) for several calls with different listening conditions. Whether you find yourself in a calm environment or in the middle of an incessant hubbub, you will have no trouble finding your way. hear your interlocutors. Nothing's latest phone is also compatible with 5G communication bands as long as you have a suitable plan.

Side connectivity, the Phone (2a) is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 bands. It is hardly surprising not to find compatibility with the Wi-Fi 6 bands. with the seventh and final generation. We experienced no connection issues, whether with an internet box or even with other connected devices.

Our conclusion to the Nothing Phone test (2a)

Would Nothing finally produce its best smartphone with the Phone (2a) ? This is the question we asked ourselves throughout our test . Sure, their latest high-end phone, the Phone (2), is better in many ways, but it also costs a lot more .

For only 349 euros, the Nothing Phone (2a) offers everything you would expect from a very good smartphone entry level: good performance, solid autonomy, correct photos, original design… Nothing seriously overshadows the leaders of the market. oacute; what are the Samsung Galaxy A, Google Pixel a and Xiaomi Redmi Note.

We can only regret its overall feeling which is very "cheap" due to its plastic coverings as well as its night photographs which overall remain quite disappointing.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116