Nothing Phone (2a) Review: The New Budget Standard

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Budget phones usually don't execute each that well. They person poor cameras, they look boring and consciousness plasticky, and they miss retired connected respective luxuries found successful flagships. Well, Nothing's latest smartphone—the Phone (2a)—doesn't adhere to immoderate of these trademark flaws.

I've been utilizing this $349 Android smartphone for nan past 2 weeks, and moreover utilized it arsenic my superior telephone successful Barcelona arsenic I was covering nan Mobile World Congress 2024 waste and acquisition show. These kinds of conventions are demanding, truthful I request my instrumentality to beryllium reliable and snappy erstwhile typing notes while asking questions, responding to captious notifications, and taking pictures. It besides needs to past agelong capable that I'm not hunting for an outlet alternatively of doing my work. The Nothing Phone (2a) did each that without losing immoderate charm aliases style.

There are comparable phones for folks extracurricular nan US who want velocity astatine an affordable price—just look astatine nan Poco X6 Pro—but options are slim stateside. Nothing's Phone (2a) is simply a uncommon blend; 1 that's inexpensive but pretty, accelerated but besides has a slick package interface, pinch decently agelong package support. In short: Its compromises are easy overshadowed by its merits.

Nothing to Worry About

You tin get nan Nothing Phone (2a) successful nan US, but you person to jump done immoderate hoops to container one.

Photograph: Nothing

First, it's worthy noting that Nothing is still a small smartphone manufacturer, and this motorboat isn't ace straightforward. The Phone (2a) is disposable successful respective countries, but successful nan US, it's only being sold done a developer program. You don't request to beryllium a developer to bargain it though—just motion up and erstwhile you're accepted, you'll get a nexus to acquisition nan device. The US is only getting nan 12 GB RAM and 256 GB retention exemplary for $349; everyplace else, there's a guidelines 8 GB RAM and 128 GB version, which starts astatine £319 aliases €329.

You'll apt tally into immoderate issues utilizing nan instrumentality connected Verizon. T-Mobile subscribers will person nan champion acquisition arsenic nan Phone (2a) supports nan carrier's 5G bands. I've been utilizing it connected AT&T and, initially, I had problem connecting to 5G networks and was relegated to 4G LTE, but that has precocious changed. Since then, I've been connected 5G and I've had nary issues pinch calls and texts.

So overmuch of this telephone reminds maine of nan original Google Pixel 3A, which neatly packed nan important parts of a handset successful a $400 package backmost successful 2019. Except, here, Nothing manages to impressment overmuch much connected nan hardware specs successful its effort to trade a value-friendly phone.

Take nan 6.7-inch AMOLED show to start. It has a 120-Hz surface refresh rate and a highest brightness of 1,300 nits. Its 2K solution is sharp, it feels responsive, and I didn't person galore issues reference nan surface successful nan Barcelona sun.