Nothing Phone (2a) review: greater than the sum of its parts

Pared back plastic matched with plenty of style – can the Nothing Phone (2a) out-fun the Pixel 7a and take the midrange crown?

Photos of the Nothing Phone (2a) Android smartphone
(Image: © Basil Kronfli)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Nothing isn't swinging for a do-it-all home run with the Phone (2a) like it did with its debut. Instead, the (2a) is a pared-back plastic phone at a lower price with clear compromises, including no wireless charging and downgraded camera specs. With a great screen, respectable picture quality, and standout style, though, while the (2a) is far from perfect, it's still competitive if you're buying what Nothing's selling: an experience over a standout individual feature.

Pros

  • +

    Fun, original styling

  • +

    Great interface experience

  • +

    A great screen for the price

  • +

    Day-long battery life

Cons

  • -

    Misses out on wireless charging

  • -

    Hit-and-miss HDR processing

  • -

    Photos can be slow to capture

  • -

    Camera placement invites finger photobombing

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If you want a fun smartphone on a budget, the Nothing Phone (2a) could be a winner. Sitting beneath the Phone (2) in Nothing's roster, it combines a pared-back take on the firm's glyph lighting around the back – introduced on the Nothing Phone (1) – with the dot matrix UI that's been cooking at Nothing HQ over the last couple of years, matched with blippy ring tones aplenty and an iPhone-like silhouette.

The lowest-cost phone from the London-based firm, Nothing has cut back in a few areas beyond the glyph lights with the (2a). It misses out on wireless charging, a glass and metal design, and its camera specs are more modest than those of the Phone (1) and (2). Getting into a few specifics, it packs a Samsung sensor for the main camera, and the ultra-wide camera lens doesn't sport autofocus.

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Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is a freelance technology journalist and content creator with a number of specialisms. He started his career at Canon Europe, before joining Phone Arena and Recombu as a tech writer and editor. From there, he headed up and runs Tech[edit], a technology YouTube channel, and has worked alongside this role at Future as a Senior Producer, sharpening his considerable video production skills. 


His technical expertise has been called on numerous times by mainstream media, with appearances and interviews on outlets like Sky News, and he provides Digital Camera World with insight and reviews on camera phones, video editing software and laptops, on-camera monitors, camera sliders, microphones and much more.