Monday, December 4, 2023

72 hours with the Nothing Phone (2) have been enough

We have been learning details of the Nothing Phone (2)), the second smartphone from the company founded by Carl Pei (one of the creators of OnePlus), since the beginning of the year, when the London-based firm confirmed during Mobile World Congress that the device was going to have a Snapdragon 8 SoC , Qualcomm’s line of high-end processors. This is precisely one of the most relevant changes to the smartphone, but not the only one.

The Nothing Phone (2), in fact, It comes with several new features compared to its predecessor., despite apparently including the same design. Its screen is bigger and brighter, it has a better main camera, more battery and the Glyph, which is what the company calls the combination of lights on the back, improves slightly with more features and hardware components that make it more useful.

The brand’s new mobile, yes, has risen in price, in part, because of the processor: a First generation Snapdragon 8+ that we have seen so much in high-end mobile phones last year. They are changes that do, now yes, in a high-end smartphone, but let’s see them in more detail.

Nothing Phone (2) Data Sheet

CharacteristicsNothing Phone (2)
ProcessorSnapdragon 8+ Gen 1
RAM8 or 12 GB LPDDR5
Storage128, 256 or 512 GB UFS 3.1
Screen6.7-inch flexible OLED, Full HD+, 394 ppi, HDR10+, 10-bit, 1600 nits of maximum brightness, 120Hz, 240Hz response rate and Gorillas Glass.
main chamber50-megapixel IMX890 sensor, f/1.88 aperture lens, 1/1.56-inch sensor, 24mm focal length and OIS
secondary camera50-megapixel Samsung JN1 sensor, f/2.2 aperture lens, 114-degree field of view, macro mode up to 4 centimeters and 1/2.76-inch sensor.
Frontal camera32-megapixel IMX615 sensor, 1/2.74-inch sensor and f/2.45 aperture lens
Video recording4K at 60 FPS, night mode at 1080 and 30 FPS, OIS and EIS, slow motion up to 120 FPS and HDR video up to 30 FPS.
BiometricsSimple face unlock (2D) and fingerprint reader under the screen
Fast chargeYes, up to 45W via USB PD
wireless chargingYes, up to 15W
reverse chargingYes, up to 5W
connectivityBluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 6, 5G (SA, NSA), NFC, GPS, GLONASS, BDS, Galileo, QZSS and USB-C

A little face lift

A few weeks ago, Carl Pei, founder of Nothing, hinted in a post on his Twitter profile that the Nothing Phone (2) was going to arrive with the same appearance as the Nothing Phone (1), but with the terminal in hand, Let’s just say, it would feel different. In part, you are right. The new smartphone practically maintains the same design line as its predecessor: something that I can come to understand considering that it is a new brand and that its objective, for the moment, is to become recognizable among the public.

The Nothing Phone (2) has the same flat bezels, the same transparent back and the same photo module. So, where are the changes? The back is now not completely flat, but is slightly curved at the edges. The terminal also comes with flat frames very similar to those we see on the iPhone 14 and a front with slightly smaller bezels.

Are there more changes besides that curvature in the back? Yes. The Nothing Phone (2) arrives in a new tone; a slightly lighter gray. Also in classic white. On the other hand, the so-called Glyph now has a somewhat different LED layout, since those around the wireless charging coil are now split. It’s something seemingly insignificant, but it has a goal: to make the function much more versatile.

Nothing Phone (2) rear.

The lighting system at the rear, in fact, is no longer merely aesthetic. Nothing has updated it with features that can be useful on a day-to-day basis. One of them is the possibility to use the lights as a flashlight, or to activate a timer where one of the strips decreases the light as a countdown. The Glyph of the Nothing Phone (2) can also be used as a volume indicator or to alert us to essential notifications.

Nothing, on the other hand, has opened up the Glyph to third parties. so that developers can adapt their applications to the light system. At the moment, only Uber supports this feature, allowing users to know the distance of their order or vehicle as the light fills the gap.

My favorite function is, without a doubt, the one called Glyph Composer, which comes in application mode and allows, through sounds produced by the Swedish group Swedish House Mafia, to create a personalized ringtone. It is curious to see how the lights change to the rhythm of the music and how it is possible to select different melodies.

The Glyph, by the way, now has an ambient light sensor dedicated to be able to adjust the brightness automatically depending on the light in the environment. In Nothing OS 2.0 settings, it is also possible to adjust the brightness level manually.

More power and more screen

Nothing Phone screen (2).

The Nothing Phone (2) processor ceased to be a secret months ago, when one of the Qualcomm executives confirmed that the smartphone would arrive with the first generation Snapdragon 8+. It does so, in this case, with two versions of RAM: 8 and 12 GB, as well as with three internal storage variants: 128, 256 or 512 GB. It’s a bit of a strange decision that Nothing chose a high-end chip from last year.

The reason? Probably, making the price of the Nothing Phone (2) not so high and, in turn, be able to choose with some of the advantages offered by Qualcomm’s highest-end processors. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, in fact, offers interesting improvements in the photographic section of those phones that include it. In addition to, of course, more power compared to the Snapdragon 778G+ of the Phone (1).

It grows in performance, and also on screen. The Phone (2) now has a 6.7-inch flexible OLED panel. Same resolution as the previous model (Full HD +), which makes it lose some pixel density per inch. The brightness level is increased considerably, going from a typical 500 nits to 1,000 nits and from a peak of 700 nits to 1,600 nits. All this, in addition, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz.

The battery is another area where there are also changes. The Nothing Phone (2) now has one of 4,700mAh, compatible with a fast charge of 55 W that can supply 50% of the battery in about 20 minutes, according to the manufacturer. One point to note is that the Nothing Phone (2) supports wireless charging; something unusual in mobiles of this price range.

So are the cameras of the Nothing Phone (2)

Upper back of Nothing Phone 2 with the lighting system on.

The camera has also changed on this Phone (2). The company has opted for a 50 megapixel Sony IMX890 sensor; The same element that we see in smartphones like the OnePlus 11 or the Find X6. It’s a pretty big jump. Above all, if we take into account that the processor can also affect the results. This sensor also arrives accompanied by a new image signal processor (IPS) which, among other things, allows you to improve the detail of the photographs and obtain more realistic tones.

Nothing, mind you, has kept the same ultra-wide-angle camera: a s50 megapixel Samsung sensor capable of taking pictures at an angle of 114 degrees that, again, can offer better results thanks to the processing and the processor, although, and in the absence of testing this section in depth, we do not expect such drastic changes compared to the ultra-wide-angle camera of the Phone (1).

The front camera also changes, which goes from 16 megapixels to 32 megapixels thanks to a new Sony IMX615 sensor. Nothing has also modified the video section, allowing you to record content in 4K at 60 Fps.

The Nothing Phone (2) is more expensive

All these improvements, I reiterate, bring with them a price change. The Nothing Phone (2) costs 180 euros more than the Phone (1), placing it at 649 euros in the case of the 8 GB version of RAM with 128 GB; 699 euros for the 12 GB and 256 GB variant; and 799 euros for the version with 12 GB of RAM and 512 GB of internal storage.

In Mexico, the Nothing Phone (2) is available for $14,999.00 pesos in the case of the variant with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. The version with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of memory, on the other hand, costs $15,999.00 pesos, while the 12 GB and 512 GB version is available for $18,999.00 pesos.

It is an understandable increase considering that the Phone (2) improves in each of its sections. And although there are areas such as the camera or the battery in which it is difficult to draw conclusions until a more in-depth test, these first 72 hours with the Nothing Phone (2) have been enough for me to realize that It is the smartphone that I would buy in this price range. All this, despite the fact that it shares many specifications with other smartphones from brands like Xiaomi. And, also, taking into account that, beyond its design —which is practically the same as last year—, it does not bring with it any feature that clearly stands out from the competition —as is the case with the Pixel 7a camera , which is out of its range.

The set of its features, as well as those extras that Nothing includes in this smartphone, however, make the Phone (2) a more attractive option, in my opinion, than, for example, a Poco F5 Pro; model that is also available for a similar price, but does not have as attractive a look or as a careful layer of customization.

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