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Nothing Phone 2a is beautiful, powerful, and inexpensive: All the details here

It's just too bad it's not coming to the United States (officially, anyway).
By

Published onMarch 5, 2024

For such a young company, Nothing already has a pretty decent roster of Android smartphones. Now, we can add one more to the list: the Nothing Phone 2a.

As you might have guessed, Nothing is borrowing Google’s “a” naming scheme for budget Pixels, which means the Phone 2a is no flagship. Still, for what you’ll pay for the phone, you do get quite a lot, including a trimmed-down version of Nothing’s hallmark Glyph lights on the back.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Nothing Phone 2a!

Nothing Phone 2a release date, price and availability

  • Nothing Phone 2a 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM: £319 / €329 / Rs 23,999
  • Nothing Phone 2a 8GB RAM + 256GB ROM: Rs 25,999
  • Nothing Phone 2a 12GB RAM + 256GB ROM: $349 (see below) / £349 / €379 / Rs 27,999

Nothing launched the Phone 2a on March 5, 2024. Prior to that, on February 28, it gave journalists a sneak peek at the device during Mobile World Congress 2024. As is tradition with Nothing, the company made every detail about the phone public well before the March 5 launch — except for its price.

Speaking of which, the Nothing Phone 2a is pretty inexpensive, starting at £319 (~$404) in the United Kingdom and €329 (~$357) in the European Union. You’ll pay a bit more if you go for more RAM or storage.

Nothing Phone 2aNothing Phone 2a
AA Recommended
Nothing Phone 2a
Quirky design • Crisp AMOLED display • Punchy speakers
MSRP: $349.00
The first true budget phone from Nothing.
The Nothing Phone 2a aims to deliver all the core features and style of the Nothing Phone 2 at a cheaper price point.

Unfortunately, the Nothing Phone 2a is not officially available in North America. However, Nothing is making the phone available here as part of a developer program. The way this works is you fill out a form at the North American version of Nothing.tech. Nothing will then send you a link to buy the phone, with you needing to agree to terms affirming you understand that the device is not optimized for use on this continent. If you elect to go this route, you’ll be able to get the 12/256GB model for just $349, which is an absolute steal.

Nothing Phone 2a: Hot or not?

325 votes

Just keep in mind that the phone is missing the network band support you would usually expect in North America, so service won’t be nearly as reliable as it would be with the more powerful (and more expensive) Nothing Phone 2 ($699 at Amazon). That phone is fully available in North America.

Of course, if you don’t want to go through this entire process, you can opt for one of the great Nothing Phone 2a alternatives available.

Nothing Phone 2a specs

Nothing Phone 2a About Phone Page
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Nothing Phone 2a has a very interesting spec sheet. In a lot of areas, it matches the Nothing Phone 2. Meanwhile, it also exceeds the Nothing Phone 1 in a few areas. However, it lacks the premium build quality of both of those phones.

Check out the official specs below:

Nothing Phone 2a
Display
6.7-inch AMOLED, FHD+ resolution
120Hz display refresh rate (30Hz-120Hz)
HDR10+
Processor
MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro
RAM
8 or 12GB
Storage
128 or 256GB
Power
5,000mAh
45W wired charging
No charger in box
Cameras
Rear:
- 50MP main
f/1.88, 1/1.56-inch sensor, OIS & EIS, AF

-50MP ultrawide, f/2.2, 114-degree FoV
1/2.76-inch sensor

Front:
- 32MP
f/2.2, 1/2.74-inch sensor
Video
Rear:
4K at 30fps
1080p at 60fps
1080p at 120fps (Slo-Mo)

Front:
1080p at 60fps
Audio
Dual stereo speakers
Dual mics
No 3.5mm port
Connectivity
5G (Sub6 only)
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
SIM
Dual nano-SIM tray
Security
Optical under-display fingerprint sensor
3 years of OS updates
4 years of security updates
Durability/Materials
IP54
Polycarbonate back
Aluminum chassis
Software
Android 14
Nothing OS 2.5
Dimensions and weight
161.74 x 76.32 x 8.55mm
190g
Colors
White, Black, and Milk
Extras
Glyph lights on back
Supports countdown timer light

Nothing Phone 2a: Features

Although its price and name would lead you to believe the Phone 2a will be weak in features, it’s actually pretty surprising how much value Nothing crammed into this device. Here’s what you can expect in various categories.

Camera

Nothing Phone 2a Rear Camera
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Nothing Phone 2a comes with a dual-lens camera on the back, situated in a strange “eyeball” format in the top center of the phone. It’s certainly a unique look that you’ll likely either love or hate.

Aside from aesthetics, though, the camera is pretty capable. The primary shooter is a 50MP wide-angle lens with optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS) working together to keep your photos and videos from getting shaky. Paired with this is a 50MP ultrawide lens with a 114-degree field of view (FoV).

The Phone 2a offers you nearly the same camera hardware as the Phone 2 for hundreds of dollars less.

This is essentially the same rear camera system as we saw on the Nothing Phone 2, which means you should see quite similar results on both phones.

The selfie camera is also nearly the same as the one on the Phone 2, although with a slightly larger aperture (the Phone 2a is at f/2.2 while the Phone 2’s selfie shooter is at f/2.45). It’s still a 32MP sensor, though.

We’ll need to run through our usual tests with the Phone 2a before we can give you a read on how good it is. In the meantime, consult our list of the best camera phones for a rundown of what’s out there.

Performance

Nothing Phone 2a Standing Back Hero
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Phone 1 and Phone 2 both have Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, with the Phone 2 having a flagship-level CPU in the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. However, the Phone 2a marks the first time Nothing has looked to MediaTek for processing.

Inside the Phone 2a, you’ll find the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro. This is a mid-range octa-core processor that Nothing and MediaTek fine-tuned together specifically for the Phone 2a. It’s a 4nm build with a peak clock speed of 2.8GHz.

The Phone 2a is the first Nothing phone with a MediaTek processor.

What does this mean for you, though? Essentially, the Dimensity 7200 Pro should be able to slay your everyday smartphone functions: email, social media, video playback, communication, etc. Gaming should be OK, too, although you won’t see nearly the same performance as you’d get with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 in the Nothing Phone 2.

We’ll have some benchmarks for you soon, and we’ll let you know how this chip stacks up.

Screen quality and size

Nothing Phone 2a Home Screen Flat On Couch
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Nothing didn’t skimp out on display tech for the Phone 2a. The phone has a gorgeous 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. That refresh rate is variable, too, allowing it to go as low as 30Hz when a fast refresh rate is not necessary (such as when reading static text). This isn’t as good as the Phone 2’s LTPO refresh rate, which goes as low as 1Hz, but it’s not bad at all for this price point. Notably, it is better than the refresh rate of the Phone 1, which is not variable at all (it’s locked to either 120Hz or 60Hz).

The display also has a solid FHD+ resolution of 2,412 x 1,084 at 394ppi. This all adds up to a terrific screen. When I first turned it on, I couldn’t believe it was a display on a sub-$350 phone.

Covering the display is Gorilla Glass 5. This is several generations old, so it’s not nearly as durable as flagship glass. Make sure to buy a good screen protector!

Design, colors, and build quality

Nothing Phone 2a Side 1
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Nothing Phone 2a carries over a lot of design elements of the Phone 1 and Phone 2. It has a transparent back, which gives you a look at some (mostly faux) internals. Note that the covering here is polycarbonate, not the glass of the more expensive Nothing phones. It still feels nice in the hand and is even a bit lighter, thanks to the lack of glass, but it certainly doesn’t feel as premium.

As a fun aside, the polycarbonate on the back comprises “scraps” from the production of Nothing earbuds. This makes the phone more sustainable, which is always lovely to see.

Flat aluminum rails covered in matte paint are on the phone’s edges. I really like matte rails, although I am a bit concerned that dings will appear quickly in the paint. This could make the phone look beat up in no time, especially the black model. You should try to find a good protective case.

The Phone 2a feels great in the hand and not at all like a sub-$350 phone. It isn't quite as premium as the Phone 2 or Phone 1, though.

Speaking of the black model, the phone comes in three colors: white, black, and a new off-white variant called Milk. Unfortunately, not all colors will be available in all configurations, and some areas/merchants might only have a selection of colors available. If you really want a specific color, buying directly from Nothing will be the best move.

What's your favorite Nothing Phone 2a color?

147 votes

As for durability, the Phone 2a has an IP54 rating. This means it will do OK against dust and water, but you’ll still need to baby it a bit. I would avoid taking it to the beach, as fine sand and water could cause issues. Some light splashes at the pool will be OK, though.

Battery and charging speed

Nothing Phone 2a Side 4
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Phone 2a has the largest battery of any Nothing phone at 5,000mAh. For the sake of comparison, this is 1,000mAh more than the Samsung Galaxy S24, which is twice as expensive. Of course, we’ll need to do some testing to see how long the battery actually lasts. Nothing says it delivers “up to two days of use on a full charge,” but we’ll see about that.

Regardless, charging the battery will be quick since it supports 45W speeds. You’ll need to bring your own charger to the party, though, because there’s not one in the box. We have a helpful guide on how to pick the right phone charger, so give that a read if you need some help.

Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging support on the Nothing Phone 2a. This is disappointing, but Nothing needed to cut some corners to keep the price down. If you want wireless charging, the Phone 1 or Phone 2 will provide it.

Nothing also claims it has increased battery longevity by over 25% since it launched the Phone 1. The company claims you can charge the Phone 2a up to 1,000 times and only lose 10% of the battery’s capacity. For the record, the usual industry standard for this is 500 charges knocking off 20%, so Nothing claims it is offering double the efficiency. Once again, we’ll do our own testing to see how this claim stacks up.

Glyph lights

Nothing Phone 2a camera close up
Harley Maranan / Android Authority

What would a Nothing phone be without some lights on the back? Although rumors suggested the Phone 2a could lack Glyph lights, they proved incorrect, as the Phone 2a has a few — not as many as the more expensive Nothing phones, but a few!

There are three LED light strips on the back of the phone. The one to the upper left of the camera module features 24 addressable zones, which allows it to support the cool countdown/timer features of the Nothing Phone 2.

Unfortunately, there’s no Glyph light at the bottom of the phone, which means you don’t get the cool charging indicators found on the Phone 1 and Phone 2.

Still, there’s enough Glyph action here to deliver the basics: notifications, flash fill, Flip to Glyph, Glyph Composer, and most of the other Glyph features found on the Phone 2.

Software and updates

Nothing is offering the same software commitment for the Phone 2a as it does its other, more expensive phones. That’s three years of Android OS upgrades and four years of security patches. Since the Phone 2a launches with Android 14 — the first Nothing phone to do so — it will get Android 15, Android 16, and Android 17 before aging out.

Skinned over Android 14 is Nothing OS 2.5. This is the latest version of Nothing’s Android skin, bringing over almost all the features you’ll find on the Nothing Phone 2. That includes the new widgets, the TrueLens Engine that powers camera features, and, of course, nearly zero bloatware.

FAQ

No, it does not have a microSD card slot. There are two choices for storage: 128GB or 256GB. Choose wisely because you’ll be stuck with that much storage forever.

No, the Nothing Phone 2a is not waterproof. It has an IP54 rating, which means it is only protected against water splashes. It will not survive being submerged in water.

No, it does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. So far, no phones from Nothing have had this feature.

No, the Nothing Phone 2a does not support wireless charging. It does charge very quickly with a cable, though, at a fast 45W.

No, there is no wall charger in the box with the Nothing Phone 2a. It does come with a USB-C to USB-C cable, but you’ll need to buy a 45W adapter separately.

Yes, the Nothing Phone 2a supports Sub6 5G connections. It does not support mmWave 5G.

The Nothing Phone 2a has room for two physical SIM cards.

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