All tech brands, and this is truer for smartphones than anything else, that start out in the more affordable price brackets eventually hit a crossroads. “When” differs and depends on various factors, “trust” being one. This is where a decision must be made. Easier choice, continue on the same path a little longer. The hard option, take a step forward, into the more premium echelons. With it comes a better chance of showcasing technological prowess, if any.
UK-based Nothing made the leap much earlier than any of its peers since Android smartphones became a thing. The Nothing Phone (2) is a significant step up from last year’s predecessor, Nothing Phone (1), also the start-up’s first product. We mentioned trust. In June, they raised $96 million in a new round of funding. It will help. So would the answer to three wireless earbuds, which have gone on sale in the last couple of years.
Even co-founder Carl Pei’s previous company, OnePlus, has taken small steps towards more expensive smartphones. Xiaomi is still struggling to change buyer perception. Samsung is unable to let go of the volumes of its more affordable Galaxy A and Galaxy M phones. Google also releases a more affordable Pixel phone every year. These are some illustrations.
Nothing can circumvent the essence of time, to hopefully stand the test of time.
The Nothing Phone (2) has the price of an Android flagship phone. Depending on the specifications (and the color), you will pay ₹44,999 or ₹49,999 or ₹54,999. The predecessor is ₹32,999 and up, and there were price corrections along the way, as is the norm.
You get a lot more phone, for that higher price, although visually it’s not exactly a radical change. The screen is bigger, and that should appeal to a much wider demographic, a mid-range processor has made way for a flagship phone chip, albeit one generation older. Larger battery with faster charging. And two 50 megapixel cameras.
At first glance, other than the size difference, the Nothing Phone (2) doesn’t look much different from the Phone (1). This is before you realize the very gentle curve on each side of the back panel, as it blends into the flat sides. Admittedly, it fits better in your hand, although there can always be the subjectivity of preferring a perfectly flat back. Putting a case on the Nothing Phone (2) isn’t really an option, because of what it will hide, which is the Glyph interface.
A long time has passed since flashing LEDs became the norm on phones – incoming notifications, missed calls and battery status. Nothing tempted to light up a phone like a Christmas tree, brought its own unique charm last year. The phone (2) gets even more lighting zones that pave the way for finer effects, utilities like timers and battery status and connects to the Glyph Composer app to light up the ringtones.
You have controls over the lighting level. Can be turned off too, if you evolve into a more refined human one morning.
Potentially, the utility is enhanced with Glyph now available for third-party applications. Uber, for example, will be able to use Glyph light zones to tell you how far your ride is. Zomato’s soon-to-be-released Order Delivery Countdown can use a light box to visually illustrate information that you would otherwise have had to light up the screen for.
Two Glyph interventions don’t seem to work simultaneously, at least when we tried. If the timer is enabled, the state of charge remains disabled.
Still, for Glyph to really work for you, it will be important to get into the habit of leaving the phone upside down on the desk, the bedside table, and the car dashboard. This habit may not be easy. If you’re wondering about the risk of screen scratches, there’s Gorilla Glass 5. The phone (1) also used Gorilla Glass 5. Since Gen 6, there’s Victus and Victus 2.
Speaking of which, a bigger screen broadens the appeal. In terms of numbers, it’s not a big difference – 6.55 inches to 6.7 inches. For usability, most of us have become accustomed to larger display surfaces. The phone (1) would have taken some getting used to. The Phone (2) is more in tune with the needs of that time.
A nice screen, which does really well with the colors. Even without choosing vivid mode, it’s a living canvas to work with. The 120Hz refresh rate is an option, and since the underlying technology is LTPO, or low temperature polycrystalline oxide, software can reduce it to 1Hz. For example, if you’re reading a web page or an e-book . Also saves battery. At certain points in the interface, you have to get used to Nothing’s unique fonts, and that’s where this screen’s sharpness comes through quite well.
Significant evolution in processing power with a flagship chip. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen1, which itself was a fix for the Snapdragon 8 Gen1. Although it has always been replaced by the 8+ Gen2, it in no way diminishes the potential of the chip. Nothing hedges his bets. And that’s a safe bet, and we should have a lot more flagship Android phones in and around the ₹45,000 prizes, use this chip wisely over the next year.
The brave journey of the phone (1) with the Snapdragon 7 series chip reached virtual performance ceilings if your expectations were more than possible, but for most users, that was smartphone enough. Still, by switching to a higher performing foundation, Nothing adds a generous dose of longevity to your purchase. If you can, stretching the budget to get a 12GB RAM variant of the phone (2), will add to that chase.
Nothing OS 2.0 is a very different take on Android customizations. A fairly minimal approach, but a full wrap. There is still an option to keep a typical Android interface, with all its familiarity. But if you bought the Nothing Phone (2), why not try the monochrome theme? Everything gets darker – how many shades of gray were we talking about?
The seconds arm on the clock widget stands out in contrasting red, as does the Do Not Disturb widget, when activated. Icons are given a monochrome treatment. The same goes for the rest of the interface, with very noticeable tonal duality in places. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but you have to give it a chance.
Unlike phones that hit the headlines with a main sensor that has lots of megapixels and pair them with mediocre sensors for the sake of it, Nothing’s approach is one of balance. Instead of three, the phone (2) makes do with two cameras, each with a 50-megapixel sensor – one wide and one ultra-wide. The optical hardware is also supported by intelligent software. The Snapdragon 8 series chip used here enables an 18-bit image signal processor (ISP), which means the cameras can capture and process 4,000 times more data than the phone’s cameras (1).
Read also :Nothing Phone Review (1): Lots of Unique, Yet Familiar Things
Are you missing a dedicated macro camera?
The results are impressive, something the phone (1) has also evolved with well done software updates throughout its cycle. For the Phone (2), nothing is built on an existing base, and it shows. Advanced HDR, for example, now takes 8 photos at different exposures and combines the results into what you see as the final photo. The main sensor has optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS). 2X zoom is also better for getting more detail.
To touch on a point we talked about earlier, it’s not always easy to transition up into a price range. In the first attempt, Nothing did what his peers had failed. There’s substance to go with the higher price tags – more performance, a refined design, bold choices with the interface, and a camera that’s as close as you get to shooting ease. an iPhone, in an Android phone.
Glyph Interface is unique, and while Nothing has already given it a suite of utilities, the truest of them will come when third-party apps gain access. Uber and Zomato should just be the start.
There’s always a hint of spec-focus when a buyer potentially spends that much money. The Nothing Phone (2) gets its toughest competition with the OnePlus 11R. Samsung updated the Galaxy S21 FE with an aging Snapdragon 888 chip and its price ₹49,999. For, they have no other answer to a growing potential for Android flagships such as the phone (2), as its cheapest flagship, the Galaxy S23, costs ₹74,999 and has a 6.1-inch screen. This makes it ineligible for many consumers.