Nothing Phone (2a) review: nothing quite like it!

Review Summary

Expert Rating



  • Unique design and glyph interface
  • Impressive AMOLED display
  • Capable cameras
  • Excellent battery life


  • Transparent back is prone to smudges and scratches
  • No charger in the box

Nothing Phone (2a) is a fresh attempt from the company to target buyers in the mainstream segment, and it does so with minimum compromises. The overall design resembles the Nothing Phone 2 (review), and the new phone also comes with Nothing’s signature Glyph Interface and black-and-white-themed UI. Additionally, the handset marks the debut of the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro SoC, which is touted to be more powerful than its Snapdragon counterparts. We attempt to find that out and more in this Nothing Phone (2a) review. Keep reading.


The Nothing Phone (2a) is off to a great start. While there are smartphones in the segment that offer unique aesthetics, none quite match the uniqueness of the handset’s transparent back and Glyph Interface. This appealing aspect is nicely complemented by the smartphone’s display, cameras, battery life, and performance, making it well-suited for regular users.

Design and display

Nothing is following the same design language for the Phone (2a) that it introduced with the Phone 1 a couple of years ago. The handset features a transparent back, which is your window to the LED modules, marketed as a Glyph interface. However, unlike the more expensive Nothing smartphones, the (2a) has just three LED modules around the dual rear cameras. There are no LEDs on the bottom half, which means that the charging indicators seen on the Phone (2) isn’t there as well. Instead, there is a pattern that looks like one giant ribbon cable.

The company has also skipped wireless charging for this device, which is understandable given its relatively affordable price. The dual cameras are positioned horizontally at the centre of the frame, reminiscent of a pair of eyes. There is a slight hump where the cameras are placed, and the company has done a nice job of seamlessly blending that hump with the body so that your fingers don’t awkwardly rub off while holding the device.

While I appreciate the design choices, there are a few things that could have been done differently. For example, the transparent back, which is fashioned out of plastic, is a magnet to fingerprints and smudges. It also picked up quite a few scratches during my short time with the device. The cameras can also get smudged easily, forcing you to clean the lens to get clear shots.

Nevertheless, holding the device is quite comfortable for prolonged usage. This could be attributed to the Phone (2a)’s lightweight design (190g to be precise) and flat edges, which have a textured finish and offer a solid grip. The volume and power buttons are positioned separately on the two side edges of the frame, and they are quite within reach without resorting to finger gymnastics. The handset sports a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer at the bottom edge along with a speaker grille. There is a secondary speaker at the top edge for stereo output. However, I found the speakers a tad underwhelming, lacking clarity and crispness.

As for the viewing experience, the Nothing Phone (2a) boasts a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 1,300 nits peak brightness, and 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The adaptive refresh rate on the Nothing smartphone can adjust the refresh rate between 30Hz and 120Hz automatically based on the screen content to prolong battery life. There is an option to lock in the refresh rate to the highest settings, but you won’t get the terrific battery life that the smartphone currently offers, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

Aside from the refresh rate, the display quality is typical of what you find in the segment. The screen supports wide colour gamuts and looks vibrant even from an angle. It also offers deep, dark blacks and razor-thin bezels, ensuring an immersive experience. The sunlight legibility is good but not impressive. I didn’t face any issues reading the content from the smartphone’s screen under direct sunlight.

The display is also home to the fingerprint scanner, which securely unlocks your device without a hassle. However, it is not where your thumb would naturally rest. The scanner is placed so far down the screen that might cause some difficulty accessing it.

Glyph Interface

In case you’re unaware, the Glyph Interface is the company’s unique proposition to attract users. The interface consists of LED modules at the back panel that light up for notifications, calls, visual countdown, and progress indicator. The Phone (2a) gets a slightly simplified interface in comparison to its elder sibling Nothing Phone 2. There are fewer LED modules, just three in total this time – two positioned in arcs on the left side of the camera module, while the third is placed vertically on the right side.

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The core purpose of the Glyph Interface is to provide a unique look to the device and make sure you don’t miss out on any notifications even when the phone is face down and on silent mode. Additionally, it lets you have some fun by composing your own ringtones and making the LEDs dance to the music playing on the phone, among other things.

It is definitely enticing, but can’t be the sole reason to buy this smartphone.


The Nothing Phone (2a) boasts the same camera setup as the more expensive Phone (2). The handset features dual rear cameras, comprising a 50MP main sensor and a 50MP ultra-wide lens. Up front, it touts a 32MP snapper for selfies and video calling. The rear cameras utilise pixel-binning technology to output 12.5MP images by default. I was mighty pleased with the results at least in broad daylight where images looked quite appealing. There is plenty of detailing, a good dynamic range, high contrast, and commendable sharpness. While the colours may not appear entirely natural, they add a punchy and vibrant quality to the images.

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The ultra-wide lens also captures some decent shots in well-lit areas. The dynamic range, contrast ratio, and details look good, but not as impressive as the primary camera. Additionally, there is a shift in colours when switching to the 50MP ultra-wide, with the images leaning towards warmer tones.

In low light, the cameras switch to night mode automatically to click those long exposure shots. There is an option to turn it off, but if you are looking for crisp, sharp, and vibrant images with excellent exposure and minimal noise, we would recommend not turning off the feature. Images taken without the night mode may appear slightly hazy, grainy, and less lively. While the phone also provides the option to utilise the Glyph Interface to throw in some light in dimly lit areas, it still does not match the effectiveness of the night mode.

The 32MP front camera performance may not be as good as the other cameras of the smartphone indoors or when the sun goes down. However, in daylight, the camera captures some stunning selfies with excellent exposure and accurate skin tones.

Performance and software

Performance-wise, the Nothing Phone (2a) is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro chipset. It is a new chipset that the company has worked with chipmaker MediaTek for the smartphone. While the chipset is not as powerful as the Dimensity 7200 Ultra introduced with iQOO Z7 Pro (review), it does seem to have an edge over the Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 SoC. This superiority is evident on the benchmarking tests, where the Phone (2a) consistently achieves higher Geekbench and AnTuTu scores than the Snadragon-powered counterpart Realme 12 Pro+.

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The handset also performs admirably under intense load. In the CPU Throttle test, the phone returned with 92 percent of its peak performance while running 50 threads for half an hour. This should mean the handset should handle gaming and multi-tasking with ease. Speaking of gaming, the Phone (2a) is capable of managing graphically demanding games such as BGMI and Call of Duty with moderate settings. However, despite the 3,200mm square large vapour chamber cooling system, there is a noticeable spike in the phone’s temperature during gaming, which may lead to decreased performance and battery life over time.

The Nothing Phone (2a) comes in three RAM and storage configurations: 8GB+128GB, 8GB+256GB, and 12GB+256GB. The storage is not user-expandable so calculate your storage requirements wisely before investing in the smartphone.

Moving on, the smartphone runs Android 14-based Nothing OS 2.5 out of the box. It delivers the same user experience as the previous iteration of the software. You have the option to select Nothing’s monochromatic icon pack while setting up the device, which still isn’t optimised for all apps out there yet. Then there are new widgets for the home screen, with swipeable views and animations for more information, now compatible with the camera and media player. Additionally, the animations and transitions have been refined to further enhance the overall experience.

More importantly, the software is bereft of any third-party apps, aka bloatware, resulting in a clean and streamlined UI. The company has committed to providing three years of major software upgrades and four years of security updates for the smartphone.

Battery and charging

On the battery front, the Nothing Phone (2a) houses a standard 5,000mAh cell, which appears to be well-optimised to deliver more than a day’s backup between charges. With my fairly active usage, I was hitting the bed with 40 percent battery life still left in the tank. Slightly heavier usage might reduce that percentage by the end of the day, but rest assured you won’t be scrambling for a charger.

As for charging, the handset comes with a 45W wired charging solution, although the charger needs to be purchased separately. When using a third-party 45W Type-C charger, the handset takes roughly 70 minutes to achieve a full charge from 0-100 percent.

Final verdict

The Nothing Phone (2a) has been launched in India starting at Rs 23,999. It is a good alternative for anyone who is tight on budget and cannot afford the flagship Nothing Phone (2), currently selling for as low as Rs 36,999. While the Phone (2a) may not have flagship-grade features such as wireless charging and a top-class chipset, it delivers well on its promises.

While the phone may not cater to power users like the POCO X6 Pro (review) does, it performs adequately for everyday tasks. The cameras of the Phone (2a) aren’t as versatile as its competitors like the Realme 12 Pro+ (review), but they still perform well across various lighting conditions. Overall, the Phone (2a)’s design is unlike anything within the segment, and its software is clean and user-friendly. Furthermore, the device offers an impressive viewing experience with crisp audio and excellent battery life.

All these factors make the Nothing Phone (2a) a compelling choice for mainstream buyers.

Editor’s rating: 8 / 10

Reasons to buy

  • The transparent back and Glyph Interface add to the overall appeal of the smartphone.
  • The AMOLED display is good to look at both indoors and outdoors.
  • The cameras are capable of capturing images with good details and vibrant colours.
  • The handset provides a long-lasting battery life.

Reasons not to buy

  • The phone’s back panel can easily pick up smudges and scratches.
  • 45W Type-C charger requires a separate purchase.

Key Specs

Nothing Phone 2a
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro MT6886
Rear Camera50 MP + 50 MP
Front Camera32 MP
Battery5000 mAh
Display6.7 inches (17.02 cm)
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Nothing Phone 2a Price
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Rs. 25,990.00
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