Friday, September 29, 2023

Nothing Phone (2), analysis: is a unique design enough to stand out from the rest?

Months ago Nothing went from being a mysterious company to being a technology company focused mainly on audio devices and smartphones. The London-based firm, founded by Carl Pei, one of the creators of OnePlus, in fact, has a total of four products, with an important addition: the Nothing Phone (2)a model that this time arrives to compete in the high range and that in hypertextual we have been able to test in depth.

It arrives to compete in the high range, because Nothing has taken an interesting leap in some of the features of this smartphone. Starting with the processor, which happens to be a snapdragon 8, from Qualcomm’s line of most powerful SoCs. Also for the camera, with a new Sony IMX890 sensor, as well as other small additions, such as a higher brightness or a more powerful fast charge.

All this, in addition, with the same philosophy that the company has been boasting since its inception: that of making technological products that allow the user experience to be enhanced. That’s why that transparent design, and that system of lights in the back. They are striking points, but, enough to opt for this smartphone?

Transparent and with lights

There is no doubt that design is the protagonist of Nothing Phone (2), despite the fact that it is practically the same as last year’s model. The company has kept that transparent back so striking and different from the rest of the smartphones on the market. It also maintains that characteristic lighting system; although in both cases there are relevant changes. The back, for example, now has slightly curved glass on the edges, while the Nothing Phone (1) was completely flat.

He maintains glass as a material, although I must confess that it doesn’t feel like it. In hand, in fact, the back of the Nothing Phone (2) seems to have a plastic finish, which makes the terminal feel slightly less “premium” than others. Luckily, the aluminum frames, which have a matte hue that contrasts nicely with the back, do have a more solid build.

But let’s keep talking about the back, which is where what Nothing calls glyph, a system of lights that surrounds some components of the device, such as the wireless charging coil or the camera, and which, in addition to providing a different aesthetic along with that transparent design, offers some additional functions. In fact, the Glyph of the Nothing Phone (2) now offers more features than the Glyph of the Phone (1) due to the new layout of the lights. Now, for example, we can activate a timer in which it is possible to see a countdown of lights through one of the bands.

Nothing Phone (2)

Nothing has also opened up the Glyph to developers so that they adapt their apps with functions that take advantage of the lighting system. Uber, for now, is the first, with an option that allows you to check the distance the order is from the address as the light fills the gap.

Another interesting feature of the Glyph in Nothing Phone (2) is the feature developed with Swedish House Mafia and called Glyph Composer. This allows you to customize a ringtone with different melodies and light distribution. It is nothing more than a curious addition and that, in reality, has little use, although it does not hurt to have options like this. There are also other interesting Glyph features; some of them also reach the Phone (1).

The Nothing Phone (2), by the way, now has an ambient light sensor in the rear to automatically adjust the brightness of the lights; something that is appreciated in some situations and that can help save some battery life. In any case, it is something that can be done manually through the system settings.

The million dollar question, Is the Glyph of the Nothing Phone (2) useful considering the new features? In my opinion, it is still an aesthetic element rather than a functional one. In fact, some features are, in my opinion, poorly designed. For example, to activate the Glyph timer it is necessary to access the system settings, it is not possible to do it from the Clock app. The same goes for adjusting the brightness.

A jump to the high range?

Nothing Phone (2)

The Nothing Phone (2) can be considered a high-end smartphone, mainly due to its new processor. The company has opted for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1SoC from last year that aims to avoid increasing the price of this device considerably, while offering extra performance and additional functions compared to the Snapdragon 778G+ that included the Phone (1).

The terminal also comes with two versions of RAM memory: 8 and 12GBas well as with three internal storage variants: 128, 256 and 512 GB. It is a configuration that Noghing has opted for to ensure that this smartphone has good performance. They have not been wrong.

The Nothing Phone (2) performs remarkably both in undemanding situations, such as video playback or browsing social networks, and in those tasks that require a greater use of the GPU, such as games with high graphics, etc. On the other hand, I hardly noticed that the terminal overheated.

The processor is accompanied by a 4,700mAh battery which, in general, does a good job even in more intensive uses. Special mention to the compatibility with wireless charging, which is 15W, as well as fast charging, which is 45W. A larger capacity battery, in part, is conditioned by a larger screen. That of this Nothing Phone (2) is 6.7 inches. It is a flexible OLED panel with a Full HD+ resolution and a refresh rate of 120 Hz that only improve the user experience. All this, in addition, with a typical brightness of 1,200 nits and a peak of 1,600 nits that allow content to be viewed correctly in practically any situation.

The softwareBy the way, it is another area that deserves a mention in this analysis, since it is, in my opinion, one of the most careful on Android. Nothing OS 2.0, the company’s customization layer, which runs on Android 13, is visually very appealing. It is very well cared for in terms of design, with functions, in addition, that can be very interesting for those users who like customization.

So are the cameras of the Nothing Phone (2)

Nothing Phone cameras

Nothing has decided to keep the camera configuration of the Phone (1), but with an important change in the primary sensor, which now changes the model for a 50 megapixel Sony IMX890; Same component that we see in other high-end mobiles. The second camera is a 50 megapixel ultra wide angle sensor; It’s the exact same sensor as last year’s model.

It is rare to see a mobile with two cameras in the high range. In this case, however, it makes some sense. Nothing prefers not to include additional sensors, such as depth or macro, so that they do not affect the price. Furthermore, they are very useless cameras, which is why, in part, This Phone (2) is appreciated. Do not include them. What we do usually see in these smartphones is a telephoto sensor, something that I have missed on some occasions, since the zoom of this smartphone is digital, and although it does not offer bad results, the quality is inferior to that of other mobiles .

However, how does the main camera behave? The truth is that the results are very good. Without being excellent, yes, or without surpassing that of other high-end mobiles. But in terms of detail and exposure it does a good job. The colors, yes, are a bit saturated for my taste.

The ultra wide angle camera manages to offer very similar results in terms of color and detail. As usual with this type of lens, we lose some detail in the farthest areas of the image. It is, I reiterate, something common in ultra-wide-angle cameras, even in high-end smartphones.

The Nothing Phone (2) camera also allows you to record video in 4K at 60 fps. The camera app, for its part, has some interesting modes; like one that allows you to use the Glyph as a flash or a fairly intuitive professional mode.

Is the new Nothing mobile worth it?

Nothing Phone (2)

I already anticipated it in a first contact with the smartphone: the Nothing Phone (2), available from 649 euros, is the mobile that I would buy for this price range. Mainly, because the terminal has practically the same features as any other high-end mobile, with that striking back that, although it does not provide anything different in terms of functions, is more beautiful than, for example, a Xiaomi mobile or a Redmi.

The Nothing Phone (2), moreover, complies in each and every one of its sections, despite the fact that some of them have small weak points. It is a nice terminal —despite the fact that its rear does not stand out in quality. It offers, on the other hand, good performance and a battery to match. And both its screen and the software make the user experience very satisfactory.

Is it worth the jump from Nothing Phone (1) to Phone (2)? While there are major changes in areas like performance and camera. In my opinion, it is not a jump with which you are going to notice enormous differences. The layout is pretty much the same; also functions of the lighting system. The camera, although it improves, maintains the same configuration, and although it makes a significant leap in processor, better performance, a priori, is not an excuse for a change.

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