Nothing Telephone 2 evaluation: A extra well-rounded sequel

Being a smartphone startup is difficult, significantly once you’re up towards tech giants like Apple, Google and Samsung. However after promoting more than 500,000 Phone 1s final 12 months, Nothing has returned with a sequel: the Phone 2. And whereas it seems much like the earlier mannequin, it seems like Nothing is lastly determining its groove. Not solely does it have a considerably sooner CPU, its cameras have been improved, and we’re lastly seeing Nothing’s imaginative and prescient of a extra considerate and deliberate UI. Even the telephone’s most distinctive function – its Glyph interface – presents enhanced customization and added performance. However maybe most significantly, the Telephone 2 will formally be obtainable within the US. And whereas this added sophistication comes at an elevated value, it’s nonetheless very inexpensive at $600. In a sea of Android telephones that usually mix collectively, getting an attention-grabbing gadget for an affordable value is unquestionably one thing notable.


In comparison with most telephones which might be clad in a clean sheet of glass, the Telephone 2 (which is on the market in white or a brand new grey shade) is a stunner. Its clear Gorilla Glass again reveals a monotone assortment of elements, permitting you to see issues like its magnetic charging coil, energy cables and extra. It’s not messy, although. Every part is buttoned up simply sufficient, and there are human touches like arranging a few of the elements to seem like an elephant. I’ve been informed there are different creatures hiding as nicely, however I haven’t noticed them but. It’s like having a cyberpunk artwork set up in your pocket.

After all, there’s additionally the Glyph interface which consists of quite a few LED strips that pulse, strobe and glow. For this mannequin, Nothing greater than doubled the variety of lights from 5 to 11, whereas additionally including help for addressable zones, which permits for gradient results. Sadly, there’s nonetheless just one shade to select from: white.

As for the remainder of the gadget, it’s similar to the Telephone 1 together with a steel body with flat boxy sides and an iPhone-like button structure for energy and quantity. The one large change is that Nothing used 2.5D glass with rounded edges in again which sports activities curves that sit extra naturally in your hand with out digging in.

Thanks to its OS 2.0, Nothing is finally showing its vision of a more thoughtful smartphone UI.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

In the meantime, its 6.7-inch OLED show delivers glorious brightness (with peaks of nicely over 1,000 nits in my testing), wealthy colours and a speedy 120Hz refresh fee. You additionally get an in-screen fingerprint reader for easy and safe biometrics which is each quick and correct.


The Telephone 2 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 8GB or 12GB of RAM and as much as 512GB of storage. Certain, its chip is a 12 months previous, but it surely dealt with video games and modifying pictures with out a trace of lag. When mixed with speedy UI animations and a light-weight Android pores and skin, the Telephone 2 feels extremely responsive and snappier than some flagship telephones that value an entire lot extra. Moreover, whereas the telephone is barely obtainable as an unlocked mannequin, it has been licensed to work on each T-Cell and AT&T’s networks (sorry Verizon folks), so it’s fairly versatile in terms of bringing it over to your service.


After finding success with the Phone 1 last year, Nothing is back with a new model in the Phone 2.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Tuning a telephone’s cameras and picture processing may be extraordinarily troublesome once you don’t have the identical stage of sources as a trillion-dollar megacorp. And whereas the Telephone 2’s 50MP predominant cam and 50MP ultra-wide cams are respectable, they’re nonetheless a tier or two beneath what you get from a Pixel 7. Throughout the day, the Telephone 2 captures pictures with shiny, wealthy colours and good sharpness. It’s solely once you zoom to one hundred pc that you simply discover issues like shade fringing and worse dynamic vary. Nothing has a tough time maintaining with Google’s Evening Sight mode in low gentle too, typically struggling when attempting to nail white steadiness whereas additionally preserving element. Nonetheless, coming from the Telephone 1, it’s a giant enchancment and if you happen to aren’t an avid photographer, the Telephone 2 continues to be serviceable.

Software program

In comparison with the earlier mannequin, the Telephone 2’s software program might have the largest variety of enhancements. This time as a substitute of a barebones model of inventory Android, Nothing has included its Monochrome UI which consists of recent widgets, wallpapers, icon packs and extra that create a particular expertise that ties into the telephone’s exterior design. Not solely does it look nice, you may as well make all of the app icons grayscale and even take away the title of the app totally. The thought is that, by making apps a contact tougher to search out, you’re pressured to be extra deliberate about how and once you use your telephone. That’s a refreshing change from simply reflexively doom scrolling by way of social media each time you’ve a spare minute.

Gallery: Nothing Telephone 2 digicam samples | 8 Pictures

Nothing additionally added a brand new tab within the settings menu for its Glyph interface so you may get extra granular management over all these LEDs. Options vary from easy issues like utilizing its taillights to indicate battery standing or quantity to extra subtle issues like what Nothing calls “Important notifications.” That means that you can set particular apps to activate LEDs on the again of the telephone. This manner, you’ll be able to put the telephone facedown on a desk and actually take note of the folks you are with. This was handy for me as a result of since my spouse and I appear to be the one folks we all know that use Google Chat, I set that as my important notification so I by no means miss her messages.

And whereas it’s restricted to a single app for now, Nothing is even integrating its Glyph interface with a third-party app in Uber, so you’ll be able to see a real-time arrival estimate for a automobile simply by wanting in the back of the telephone. It’s a neat trick that would have a ton of potential. As a substitute of utilizing a particular API, the LEDs are merely getting information out of your notifications to replace the lights. That makes it simpler to develop extra customized Glyph integrations without having to accomplice with each single app developer. So whereas third-party app integration continues to be a piece in improvement, it’s off to an fascinating begin.

Lastly, whereas it’s not fairly so long as what you get from Google or Samsung, Nothing is promising three years of OS updates together with 4 years of standard safety patches.

Battery Life

The bottom of the Phone 2 features a USB-C port for data and charging. Though you can also rely on wireless charging to add more juice as well.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

I wasn’t certain what sort of endurance I used to be going to get from the Telephone 2 between its 4,700 mAh battery and barely older, much less power-efficient chip. However on our video rundown take a look at, Nothing crushed it with a time of 24 hours and 25 minutes. That’s the second longest time we’ve seen in current historical past, solely behind the Samsung’s Galaxy S23+ (25:02). On prime of that you simply get 15-watt wi-fi charging, 45-watt wired charging and 5-watt reverse wi-fi charging.


In a time when new generations of telephones by no means appear fairly as thrilling because the final, Nothing has nonetheless managed to make the Telephone 2 stand out. Its eye-catching design captures a few of the greatest qualities of clear plastic devices from the ‘90s, like Gameboys and Nintendo 64’s, however in a way more subtle approach. In the meantime, Nothing’s Monochrome UI asks customers to be extra considerate about how they use their gadget whereas giving them instruments just like the Glyph interface that may floor information and notifications in novel methods. And though its specs don’t bounce out at you, it by no means felt gradual and it’s well-equipped with useful options like reverse wi-fi charging.

By adding addressable LEDs to the back of the Phone 2, Nothing can use its Glyph interface to show things like charging status or as a countdown timer.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

That stated, for $600, the Pixel 7 continues to be the higher worth. It’s received a more recent chip together with a way more subtle software program package deal which incorporates options like Name Screener and sturdy language detection, and its cameras are in a category of their very own. However its display screen is smaller and its battery life isn’t fairly as lengthy. And you understand what, that’s completely wonderful as a result of the Telephone 2 isn’t for everybody. It’s a telephone that desires you to assume otherwise about how you employ your gadget whereas supplying you with the instruments to take action. It’s the offbeat selection, and for individuals who need to be excited by their telephone once more, it’s undoubtedly an fascinating mainstream different.

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