I have tried the Nothing Phone (2a): this mobile is going to turn the mid-range upside down for less than 330 euros

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nothing phone (2a)
nothing phone (2a)

Nothing breaks the deck with a mobile phone with a price of 329 euros in Spain and that is set to become one of the best purchasing options.

 

Nothing goes one more gear. The young technology company based in London has presented the Nothing Phone (2a), its new phone that arrives with a clear aspiration: to be the king of the mid-range. It does so by combining features and design at a really attractive price, 329 euros starting in Spain.

The Phone (2a) is the third phone in the company’s history and takes the best of the user experience to transfer it to a new mobile that establishes the concepts that users look for in Nothing and takes it to an accessible model that is above from the Nothing Phone (1) launched two years ago and slightly below the Nothing Phone (2) which arrived in July 2023.

During the last few weeks in EL ESPAÑOL – El Androide Libre we have been able to thoroughly test the Nothing Phone (2a), a smartphone that goes down into the mud to compete directly with the most popular brands and those sought by the general public, with the ambition of being that master purchase of those who aspire to have it all for a low price.

A design without rival

 

One of the elements that is always sacrificed in cheaper phones is the design. This is not the case here. The Phone (2a) boasts of continuing the transparent aesthetics of all the company’s devices as well as maintaining the Glyph interface so characteristic of Nothing’s smartphones. On this occasion the light distribution is smaller than in previous phones but it still continues to serve notifications, use with third-party applications such as Uber and to use as lighting for the camera, which it surrounds.

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And this time the camera arrangement is horizontal in the central part of the phone, a change with respect to previous versions that serves to give personality and a unique touch to this Phone (2a). One of the most interesting details of the camera module in the design is the integration of the bump that is completely integrated into the rear plastic.

 

The design of this mid-range is so ambitious that Nothing has opted for the sketch it had for the brand’s first phone. Then it was too ambitious and due to technical vicissitudes it was unaffordable, now they have been able to carry it out by integrating the camera into the NFC coil, with the TMB plate at the top and a symmetry that ends up playing with connections seen at the bottom imitating to Massimo Vignelli’s iconic map of New York.

Unlike the higher range, here the finish is an anti-fingerprint polycarbonate that is especially noticeable in the weight (190 grams) if we take into account that we are dealing with a large terminal (161.74 mm x 76.32 mm x 8. 55 mm) that integrates a 6.7-inch screen with the thinnest bezels of a Nothing phone. It is light, it is ergonomic and the feeling in the hand is excellent, we can spend hours with it that we will want to continue using it. In addition, it has splash and dust resistance with IP54 certification.

 

The screen, for its part, performs excellently. The Phone (2a) has a 6.7-inch flexible AMOLED panel with extremely high-quality color accuracy and a maximum brightness of 1,300 nits; Lower than the Phone (2) but more than enough to use it in full sun without any problem. An important detail to take into account is the commitment to the 120Hz refresh rate dynamically, thinking about preserving autonomy.

Excellent performance; own seal

For Carl Pei, head of Nothing, there is no point in having specifications that do not improve the experience. Each component is designed to contribute something essential to how the user is going to use the phone, not for marketing, and in this Phone (2a) it continues to be another maxim. For the first time, Nothing comes out of Qualcomm’s coattails to use a MediaTek chip, specifically the Dimensity 7200 Pro, a processor customized with the development team to replicate that experience of the older brothers in a lower-range phone. And he gets it.

 

The Dimensity 7200 Pro gives us a fluid and capable phone, with higher performance than we would expect in a price range between 329 and 379 euros —depending on the version we buy—. The alliance between Nothing and MediaTek has achieved that the customization of the 4 nanometer processor has improved energy efficiency, is faster and has higher performance than the Nothing Phone (1). Specifically, the company explains that it is 13% more capable and 16% more efficient than its first phone launched in 2022.

In addition to the improvement in energy efficiency of the chip, the Phone (2a) integrates a 3,200 square mm vapor chamber with the idea of ​​being able to offer all the possible performance without the phone moving in the slightest. The truth is that during the weeks that we have been testing it we have subjected it to the same workload that we usually do with high-end phones and it has behaved without suffering any type of delay.

 

The chip has also allowed Nothing to develop a series of its own functionalities such as Smart Clean, which regularly cleans those files that the mobile no longer needs to use; RAM Booster, uses virtual RAM to facilitate when using multiple applications at the same time; HyperEngine 5.0, a mode that improves video game stabilization and reduces battery consumption; as well as NTFS optimization, which allows you to optimize moving files between Android and Windows. It is the file system used by Windows computers.

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This fluidity of the system is crystallized in a key point that puts the icing on the cake of the experience sought in a brand device: Nothing OS. The phone thus arrives with Android 14 and the company’s layer of customization system that seeks a unique design, total cleanliness and fluidity, as well as a customization that – ironically – seeks to make us spend less time using the phone. It is favored with a black and white interface and a series of widgets that seek maximum utility. This identity of Nothing is transferred to a hundred visual elements that, in no case, sacrifice fluidity.

 

All advances in the system and components have a clear objective: autonomy that goes beyond the day. It incorporates a 5,000 mAh battery, the largest that a smartphone from the brand has ever had, which has allowed us to last around two days with intense use. It has a 45W fast charge with which a 50% charge is completed in 20 minutes; Of course, in this mobile what we will not have is the ability to have wireless charging, an understandable loss in the price range we are in.

An excellent camera

The Nothing Phone (2) surprised by the good performance of its cameras, and in this model the good work and calibration of the company in the development of software solutions is once again noticeable. In part it is due to the growth of the team of engineers and developers who have focused on making the maxim that less is more. And the truth is that the two sensors show that better quality does not mean having more cameras.

 

At the camera level, this phone has a clear rival, the Pixel 7a. The Google phone is that bargain mobile for those who want a cheap smartphone with which to take spectacular photographs. Here Nothing does not have the enormous processing power of the Mountain View company, but it manages to get excellent performance from two cameras with a 50 megapixel sensor.

Specifically, the main camera is a 50 megapixel angle with an aperture of F/1.88 and OIS and EIS stabilization; while the other lens that accompanies it is a 50 Mpx ultra wide angle with F/2.2 and a field of view of 114 degrees. If we shoot in a resolution of 12 megapixels we can have a 2x crop zoom, but if not in practice it will be like going with a single main lens and a wide angle.

 

More than for its versatility, the camera stands out for its ability to bring out vivid details, with accurate textures and transfer what we see to the camera quickly, easily and accurately. It does this thanks to using its TrueLens Engine technology, which uses a series of algorithms seeking that realism and fidelity. This includes Ultra XDR technology, developed jointly with Google to ensure a more accurate representation of highlights and shadows in each photo. It consists of capturing 8 frames with different exposure levels in RAW format and then adjusting the brightness of each pixel up to 5 times to show the most faithful result to reality.

On the other hand, the camera also allows us to take dynamic shots with Motion Capture, shoot in night mode or a neat portrait mode that works quite well. It also has the ability to record in 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps and make slow motion video at 1080p with 120 fps. Regarding the main lens, located in the center of the screen, we have a 32 megapixel sensor with an F/2.2 aperture that also performs very well, better than other models in the price range.

I buy it?

The Nothing Phone (2a) arrives to answer the eternal question of ‘what good, beautiful and cheap mobile phone to buy?’. If you want an above-average phone, with a unique and careful design that performs well on all fronts, it is, without a doubt, a master purchase. It comes to compete with the best in the sector like the Pixel 7a, which starts at almost 200 euros more (509 euros). So it also enters directly into the battle against Xiaomi, realme or Samsung in a price range to which it had not yet dedicated so much attention.

 

In short, the Nothing Phone (2a) performs more than it costs. The 329 or 379 euros (8 GB and 128 GB or 12 GB and 256 GB versions, respectively) become one of the great bargains to take into account if we are looking for a phone that has everything at a reasonable price.

The experience during these weeks of use has been excellent, it has become our main phone leaving aside the high ranges that we usually use and serves to meet the demands of users who are looking for something more than the bargain phone. It is a round smartphone that I will not tire of recommending.

 

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise