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The best Nothing Phone 2a alternatives: 5 phones to consider before you buy

These five alternatives are worth considering before you buy.
By

Published onMarch 5, 2024

Google Pixel 7a
MSRP: $499.00
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Positives
The best sub-$500 camera phone
Solid performance and plenty of RAM
Neat size and design
Smooth, feature-rich software
Improved 90Hz display
Great upgrade commitment
Negatives
Slow wired charging, even slower wireless charging
Mediocre battery life
Tensor G2 runs hot
Pixel 7 and Pixel 6a are better value
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
MSRP: $449.99
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Positives
Galaxy S23-inspired design
Color-rich, fluid display
Strong primary camera
Solid everyday performance
Good battery life
Excellent update commitment
Negatives
Prone to extreme camera saturation
Cheap plastic frame
No wireless charging
No 4K/60fps video
Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
MSRP: $249.00
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Positives
Crisp 120Hz refresh rate
Solid main camera
Great battery life
Loud stereo speakers
Significant price drop
Negatives
Weak update commitment
Limited camera flexibility
Poor video settings
Only HD+ display
No NFC
POCO X6
MSRP: £319.00
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Positives
Affordable
Pretty good performance for the price
Very nice display
5,100mAh battery
Negatives
Not available in the USA
Only IP54-rated
Nothing Phone 2
MSRP: $599.00
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Positives
Expertly crafted, effortlessly cool design
Brighter, beautiful OLED display
Solid main camera
Flagship-tier performance
Great battery life and fast, versatile charging options
Excellent value
Negatives
Mediocre ultrawide camera
Only IP54
Outdated Gorilla Glass
Tinny speakers
Selfie video capped at 1080p/30fps
Quick to throttle under GPU load

When it comes to sheer novelty, Nothing’s smartphones are in a league of their own. The cool glyph on the back is a real conversation starter, but if you’re looking for something more practical (or live in North America where the phone isn’t officially available), there are plenty of other options. With that in mind, here are the best Nothing Phone 2a alternatives you can buy.

The best Nothing Phone 2a alternatives

Looking to make a quick decision? Here are our top alternatives to the Nothing Phone 2a and a brief breakdown of who we recommend it to:

Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 7a
AA Editors Choice
Google Pixel 7a
The best sub-$500 camera phone • Solid performance and plenty of RAM • Improved 90Hz display
MSRP: $499.00
The essential Pixel experience
The Pixel 7a delivers more premium features than ever for under $500, such as wireless charging support, a 90Hz refresh rate display, and a 64MP camera.

The Nothing Phone 2a isn’t a bad camera phone by any means, but if you want the best budget camera phone you can get, the Google Pixel 7a is it. Much like the Nothing Phone 2a, it’s a cheaper version of Google’s mainline Pixel series, but it keeps the same Tensor G2 SoC as the Pixel 7, which gives it far more AI smarts than any other phone in its price bracket.

That translates into unique software features like better camera processing, Magic Eraser, live translations, and other machine learning applications. Of course, we also found it to perform flawlessly for standard apps, although it does tend to run hot. Given the SoC’s focus on machine learning over raw power, don’t expect the best performance on demanding mobile games, either.

Size-wise it’s significantly smaller at 6.1-inches. That makes it much easier to use with one hand, earning it a spot among our favorite small phones. However, the screen isn’t nearly as bright as the Nothing Phone 2a, and it doesn’t feature a variable refresh rate, instead coming in at 90Hz. It also uses an older version of Gorilla Glass, so you’ll want to slap a case on it to keep it safe over time.

Although the battery life and charging speeds of the Pixel 7a don’t hold a candle to the 45W charging on the Nothing Phone 2a, it does have wireless charging if that’s your thing. It retails for $499, although you can almost certainly find it for less at this point (currently $477 at Amazon). If you want to save even more, the Pixel 6a ($314 at Amazon) is still a great budget buy in 2024.

Google Pixel 7a vs Nothing Phone 2a: Advantages

  • The Pixel 7a has superior camera performance
  • The Pixel 7a has unique Google software features
  • The Pixel 7a has wireless charging

Google Pixel 7a vs Nothing Phone 2a: Disadvantages

  • The Pixel 7a has slower charging
  • The Pixel 7a has worse battery life
  • The Pixel 7a is more expensive

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Samsung Galaxy A54 5GSamsung Galaxy A54 5G
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
Galaxy S23-inspired design • Color-rich, fluid display • Excellent update commitment
MSRP: $449.99
The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G packs a Galaxy S23-like experience into an affordable shell
The Galaxy A54 5G bridges the gap between Samsung's mid-range phones to its flagships. It rocks a premium design with a flexible camera setup and one of the best software commitments in the Android game, all while hanging onto its affordable $449 price tag for yet another generation.

Samsung is still the king of the Android world, and the best Nothing Phone 2a alternative it makes is the Galaxy A54 5G. The mid-ranger is one of our favorite devices under $500, and it’s a solid smartphone for just about anyone. It doesn’t have any keystone features like the Nothing Phone 2a’s Glyph, but it has just about everything else you could want and then some.

Although it isn’t quite at the same level as its flagship cousins, the Galaxy A54 5G’s Exynos 1380 was a great performer in our testing. We’ll have to run our benchmarks on the Dimensity 7200 Pro to see how it stacks up against the Nothing Phone 2a, but suffice it to say that for daily use it’s more than sufficient.

The screen is smaller than the Nothing Phone 2a at 6.3-inches, which we found to be a nice size. Like the Nothing Phone 2a, the AMOLED display is very bright and sharp with a 120hz refresh rate. We were also impressed with the main camera sensor, although it did tend to oversaturate colors.

At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is a very safe pick, making it the complete opposite of the Nothing Phone 2a. It won’t blow you away, but it won’t disappoint, either. If you want to save a bit more, the Galaxy A34 5G ($244.49 at Amazon) is also a great pick.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G vs Nothing Phone 2a: Advantages

  • The Galaxy A54 5G is more well-rounded
  • The Galaxy A54 5G will receive more updates
  • Samsung is more established than Nothing

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G vs Nothing Phone 2a: Disadvantages

  • The Nothing Phone 2a is more interesting
  • The Nothing Phone 2a has a larger battery and faster charging
  • The Nothing Phone 2a is cheaper

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
Crisp 120Hz refresh rate • Great battery life • Significant price drop
MSRP: $249.00
Moto G for less.
The Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) delivers a $150 price cut that brings new value to the budget device. With near-stock Android, a solid primary camera, and two-day battery life, the Moto G 5G (2023) is easy to recommend as a starter smartphone.

The Nothing Phone 2a is certainly an affordable phone, but the Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) offers an even better value, provided you can give up the Glyph.

Motorola has been making fantastic budget phones in the Moto G lineup for years now, and they’ve always been solid picks for people who want something simple that just works. The biggest change for the 2023 iteration is a $150 price cut, which really tips the scales. It now retails for just $249 (currently $199 at Amazon), and it still ticks nearly every box.

It won’t win any speed contests, but the Snapdragon 480 Plus SoC performed just fine in our testing, and the low-power processor helped push battery life well into two-day territory. The Moto G 5G also has a few creature comforts like a headphone jack and expandable storage, which are a rarity in today’s smartphone landscape.

That said, the cameras are decidedly mediocre, and Motorola only promises a single Android version update, while even smaller players like Nothing are offering three years or more. Still, if you don’t need the latest it’s an absolute bargain.

Motorola Moto G 5G vs Nothing Phone 2a: Advantages

  • The Moto G 5G is significantly cheaper
  • The Moto G 5G has a headphone jack
  • The Moto G 5G has better battery life

Motorola Moto G 5G vs Nothing Phone 2a: Disadvantages

  • The Nothing Phone 2a has better cameras
  • The Nothing Phone 2a charges faster
  • The Nothing Phone 2a will receive more updates

POCO X6

POCO X6POCO X6
POCO X6
MSRP: £319.00

If you haven’t heard of the POCO X6 we won’t blame you, but the reskinned Redmi Note 13 Pro has a lot going for it. It’s quite a bit cheaper than the Nothing Phone 2a, making it an attractive option for anyone on a budget.

Hardware-wise the POCO X6 has some impressive specs, with a mid-range Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chip, a 5,100mAh battery, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of base storage. If that isn’t enough for the $249 asking price, it also includes a headphone jack.

Software is another story. While Nothing’s trademark minimalism seeps into the Phone 2a’s OS, POCO has taken the opposite approach with HyperOS. It’s mostly an offshoot of Xiaomi’s MIUI, but it comes with an unpleasant amount of bloatware. You also shouldn’t expect many years of updates, which will hurt the overall value of the phone over time.

POCO X6 vs Nothing Phone 2a: Advantages

  • The POCO X6 is much cheaper
  • The POCO X6 has a headphone jack

POCO X6 vs Nothing Phone 2a: Disadvantages

  • The Nothing Phone 2a is more powerful
  • The Nothing Phone 2a has better software
  • The Nothing Phone 2a will get more updates

Nothing Phone 2

Nothing Phone 2Nothing Phone 2
AA Recommended
Nothing Phone 2
Expertly crafted, effortlessly cool design • Flagship-tier performance • Excellent value
MSRP: $599.00
The Nothing Phone gets a power boost.
Building on the success of Nothing's debut Android handset, the Nothing Phone 2 features the same unique transparent look and Glyph lighting but adds more processing power, a larger screen and battery, and makes some subtle design tweaks. You can also buy this one in the US!

Our list of Nothing Phone 2a alternatives wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning the phone’s older sibling. The Nothing Phone 2 really impressed us during our review period, with flagship power and improvements to its trademark Glyph on the back. Although it’s several hundred dollars more expensive than the Nothing Phone 2a, it might be worth the extra expense.

The Nothing Phone 2 has a more traditional flagship processor in the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, which has serious power but some thermal issues when compared to newer flagship processors. We’ll benchmark the Nothing Phone 2a’s Dimensity 7200 Pro soon, but suffice it to say the Nothing Phone 2 packs more overall power.

Both phones feature the same camera sensors, so photos and videos should be similar. However, the build quality is significantly better on the Nothing Phone 2, which not only makes it more durable but also makes it feel better in the hand. Considering you’re not very likely to cover the Glyph on the back with a case, this is a huge selling point.

The other key thing to mention is that it’s officially available in the US. The Nothing Phone 2a is only available via a developer program at launch, so you’ll have to jump through some hoops to get one.

Nothing Phone 2 vs Nothing Phone 2a: Advantages

  • The Nothing Phone 2 is more powerful
  • The Nothing Phone 2 has better build quality and durability
  • The Nothing Phone 2 is available in the US

Nothing Phone 2 vs Nothing Phone 2a: Disadvantages

  • The Nothing Phone 2a is much cheaper
  • The Nothing Phone 2a has a larger battery