July 17, 2024
This quirky telephone continues to be certainly one of 2023’s greatest smartphone buys
This quirky telephone continues to be certainly one of 2023’s greatest smartphone buys
A person holding the Nothing Phone 2, showing the back panel.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

Nothing has not had the tip to 2023 it maybe hoped for — largely because of the Nothing Chats app turning right into a debacle somewhat than a PR win. However what about its bread-and-butter tech product, the Nothing Telephone 2?

Nothing made the correct determination to launch its second smartphone within the U.S. earlier this 12 months, and it was an actual winner after we final hung out with it. However how does it fare after six months?

A enjoyable piece of {hardware}

The back of the Nothing Phone 2, resting on a plant.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

The great factor is, the Nothing Telephone 2 has misplaced none of its allure or sense of enjoyable because it was launched. It’s nonetheless distinctive and crowd pleasing and gained’t be mistaken for the rest. The lights and sound results make the Nothing Telephone 2 particular, and I don’t suppose they’re a gimmick. That is the one telephone I make an effort to pick a hoop and notification sound for after which depart them lively. I’ve gone for the bizarre Wizard ringtone and the Cuckoo notification sound this time. The brilliant flashes when the telephone is facedown are actually noticeable.

It’s additionally a refined and dependable piece of {hardware}, with the in-display fingerprint sensor reacting immediately and the battery lasting for 2 days of use on common. The display could be very brilliant and colourful, and the facet buttons have a lovely, costly really feel. The clear rear panel seems good, and the telephone has attracted numerous seems as folks attempt to work out what it’s. This wouldn’t occur with an iPhone 15 or a Galaxy S23.

Nevertheless, the Nothing Telephone 2 is a energetic little factor, and it’s eager to slide off most surfaces, a consequence of the graceful, barely curved glass rear panel. It seems unbelievable, however you both must be very conscious of the place you set it down or cowl all of it up with a case. Sadly, it isn’t fairly as snug to carry because the equally formed iPhone 15 Professional Max or the iPhone 15 Plus, with the sharp edges being very apparent if you grip it tightly.

Utilizing the software program and digicam

The screen on the Nothing Phone 2.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

The Nothing Telephone 2 is a superb piece of {hardware}, however the software program isn’t fairly as up-to-date accurately. It’s nonetheless working Android 13, and though Nothing has launched a number of beta variations of Nothing OS primarily based on Android 14, the ultimate launch hasn’t arrived on the time of this writing, It will possibly’t be distant, although, given the variety of beta variations. Nothing is likely one of the few manufacturers that does software program updates effectively, so I’m wanting to see the ultimate launch.

What about Nothing OS? Just like the {hardware}, it has its personal distinctive fashion, however it was a little bit of a ache to set the telephone up. It didn’t sync all my contacts routinely and required further effort to make them seem. Including the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Professional took a number of tries and restarts for it to pair and function. By default, the Nothing Telephone 2 covers the principle residence display in widgets after which provides app icons to different screens. A number of of the widgets carry out the identical perform; it takes time to wash up the opposite residence screens, and the Fast Settings aren’t populated, so you need to add the choices you need instantly. It’s fairly time-consuming.

As soon as the Nothing Telephone 2 was up and working and I’d made it my very own, I didn’t have every other issues with it. There are numerous apps and options — such because the Glyph Composer, AirPods help, and the choice to hook up with a Tesla automobile — however these aren’t pushed on you. I did discover that the digicam app will be gradual, and I missed my “best” picture a number of instances as a result of shutter taking a beat too lengthy to activate.

Except for its pace typically irritating me, the digicam is as a lot enjoyable because the Nothing Telephone 2’s exterior. It has a stunning tone that jogs my memory of the OnePlus 11, and it captures colours and balances the picture in a approach that actually pops, however continues to be real looking sufficient that photographs don’t look overly processed. Modifying is carried out in Google Pictures, so there’s loads of room for adjustment. The digicam is a excessive level of the Nothing Telephone 2, however the app does want optimizing.

The Nothing Telephone 2 nonetheless deserves consideration

The Nothing Phone 2 with Nothing Chats installed.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

The quirky, particular person, and highly effective Nothing Telephone 2 is likely one of the greatest smartphones of 2023. It’s not good, and although it suffers from a number of downsides that generally have an effect on many different telephones, none of those points are dealbreakers. It feels completely different and distinctive sufficient that I’m proud to take it out and use it, which may’t be stated for a lot of non-folding telephones. There are numerous personalization choices within the software program to essentially make it your personal, but none are thrust upon you as a necessity. It’s a really pleasant telephone to make use of and personal when you’re previous the preliminary setup.

The Nothing Telephone 2 launched at $599 within the U.S., however proper now, it’s on supply for $549 by way of Nothing’s on-line retailer, making it a little bit cheaper than certainly one of its major rivals as we close to 2024, the Google Pixel 8. Each are wonderful and fortunately have their very own id, which suggests one will possible attraction greater than one other — a development we’ve seen lots in 2023. That’s nice information for you, and even with out the worth lower, it’s completely nonetheless price shopping for.

A person holding the Nothing Phone 2.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

The Telephone 2 can also be proof that Nothing ought to be sticking to telephones and {hardware}, and nothing else. Nothing Chats was a severe misplay, Nothing Beer is a bit foolish, and Nothing Attire’s lab coat and cap are so weird; it’s like CEO Carl Pei is making an attempt to start out a bizarre cult the place everybody attire like they’ve personally assembled the {hardware} they’re utilizing.

Each you and Nothing ought to neglect about all this nonsense and simply think about the Nothing Telephone 2 and the Nothing Ear 2 earbuds, that are positively price your time, consideration, and cash. I’m hoping for extra {hardware} on the Nothing Telephone 2’s degree and fewer advertising performs like Nothing Chats from Nothing in 2024 — and that it stays one of the fascinating new telephone manufacturers to return out in years. With the Nothing Telephone 3 seemingly proper across the nook, we might not have for much longer to attend to see if Nothing can hold on the right track.

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