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HomeReviewNothing Phone (2) review: Not just another flashy phone

Nothing Phone (2) review: Not just another flashy phone

Overview, Glyph Interface

Note: This review was first published on 19 September 2023.

Nothing Phone (2), Glyph Torch turned on.

Same same, but different

It was a little underwhelming when the Nothing Phone (1) was released. Not only was it running on a mid-range chipset, but itsGlyph lighting system on the back was rather gimmickywith limited practicality. Thankfully, the Nothing Phone (2) is much improved on all fronts.

Not only is it still a good-looking phone with that unique Glyph Interface LED lights on the rear, but the phone is now using a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1flagship-tier chip, a new LTPOAMOLED display that can get up to 1,600 nits peak brightness, a larger 4,700mAh battery with faster 45W wired charging and more.

The TL;DR verdict:Nothing listened to its fanbase.The important changes made Phone (2) more powerful and useful while keeping the price under S$1,000.

Nothing Phone (2).

However, all those improvements come at a cost. It has a higher starting price of S$999 compared to the Nothing Phone (1)’s S$749. The Nothing Phone (2)'s new price tag pits it againsttheSamsung Galaxy S23 (S$1,038) and the Oppo Reno10 Pro+ 5G (S$1,149), which both scored well in our reviews.

Would the Nothing Phone (2) be worth its price? Can it hold up against comparable phones from big brands? Is the Glyph Interface lighting system better now? Let’s find out.

Nothing Phone (2)
Nothing Phone (2)
Launch SRP From S$999
Operating system Android 13 (Nothing OS 2.0)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Built-in Memory 12GB RAM
Display 6.7-inch, flexible LTPO AMOLED display, 1~120Hz adaptive refresh rate, HDR10+, 2,412 x 1,080 pixels resolution
Camera Rear:50MP main camera, OIS+EIS, f/1.88, 1.0μm50MP ultra-wide, EIS, f/2.2, 0.64μm, 114 ̊ FOVFront:32MP, f/2.45, Advanced HDR
Video Support 4K60FPS recording
Connectivity LTE / 5G (NSA, SA, NR)Wi-Fi 6, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.3GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC, SBASNFC
Storage Type 256GB512GBNo MicroSD slot
Battery 4,700mAh45W Fast Charging (PPS)15W Wireless Charging (Qi)5W Reverse Wireless Charging
Dimensions 76.4 x 162.1 x 8.6mm
Weight 201.2g

Still the same design, but more comfortable

Nothing Phone (2).

At first glance, Nothing Phone (2) looks very similar to its predecessor. It's a different story in hand. You’ll notice that you can wield itmore comfortably, thanks to the new curved edges of the glass back.

This phone is quite possibly one of the most ergonomically friendlyphones I’ve had the pleasure of using this year. Coming from an iPhone, it’s definitely a very nice change.

With Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back sandwiching an aluminium frame, the phone stays light at 201g. The rear glass is prone to fingerprint smudging (black colourway), but a quick wipe occasionally helps keep it clean.

Nothing Phone (2) display under bright 2pm summer sun in Tokyo, Japan.

The display was also upgraded, with a slightly larger 6.7-inch 1080 x 2412 LTPO AMOLED panel with HDR10+ supporting a120Hz dynamic refresh rate thatcan drop to 1Hz when idle.What's great is the new peak brightness of 1,600 nits and automatic brightness of 1,000 nits outdoors.

Nothing also packed an under-display fingerprint reader, but itfeels misaligned on the screen. It's placed quite low, so you might have to stretch your thumb to reach it when holding the phone normally. The fingerprint scanner is quick and accurate, so there are no problems there.

Nothing Phone (2).

The buttons follow a conventional iPhone layout.On your right is the power button, with volume buttons to the left rim. The bottom rung holds its USB-C charging port. There’s also IP54 dust and water resistance, so don't worry if the phone gets splashed with water.

Now, we can talk about the most visually striking aspect of the Nothing Phone (2), and that’s the Glyph Interface. Several features use thepatterned LEDs. We’ll go through them in no particular order.

More than just flashy lights

Nothing Phone (2) with Essential Notifications notification lit up.

The first is notifications. This feature was present on the Nothing Phone (1), but it’s improved here by addingEssential Notifications. Apps can now be designated as “essential”, getting priority over others. When a selected app gets a notification, the LED strip on the top right of the phone’s back lightsup. It stayslituntil the notification is read, or dismissed.

This is really handy if configured well. For instance,it lets you ignore notifications from social media while you’re in the middle of churning out work. You are still visually alerted to important messages from your family or other important notifications come in.

To set this up, you must head to the Settings app, look for the Glyph Interface section,and then go to Notifications to designate apps as essential.

While I haven’t found a way to mark individual contacts as essential for notifications, I can still set custom ringtones for them through the Ringtones section in Glyph Interface. There are a total of 20 custom ringtones provided by Nothing. Also, you can create your own Glyph pattern for a truly unique and recognisable notification.

Custom Glyph Interface notifications thanks to the Glyph Composer on the Nothing Phone (2).

Custom LED patterns were made possible thanks to the Glyph Composer. It's a standalone app pre-installed on the phone. It allows you to createGlyph patterns via five buttons that correspond to its lighting zones: the "C" around its cameras, the diagonal strip on the top right, the "G" around the wireless charging coil, and the exclamation mark at the bottom is split into two zones.

I’m sure other users can create exciting light arrangements that look pleasing. I’m more practical, so I designated each zone to an important contact, limiting to just five contacts so that I'd always know who was looking for me.

Turning on the Glyph Torch.

If you need more light in a pinch, I’ve found the Glyph Torch function to be excellent in providing a softer cone of pure white light in contrast to the yellow, warm light from the normal flash.

Additionally, you can use Glyph Interface as a fill light when you'refilming videos on the phone.Tap the flash setting until the Glyph Interface turns on. There’s also a hidden red recording light on the rear that triggers when recording videos, although this can be turned off in the settings.

These lights can also be a volume indicator. As seen in the GIF above, you geta visual cue of yourvolume level when adjusting it via the LED lights at the back. Do note that this doesn’t work if the phone is locked and face down on a surface.

Glyph Timer ticking down. Note the decreasing amounts of LED.

This same part of the Glyph Interface is used for the Glyph Timer, which shows a visual countdown. The LED strip is fully lit at the start, with the LEDsfading off in sections as time ticks away.

To get easy access to Glyph Timer, ensure its tile is pinned to Quick Settings. Long tap and hold the tile to set the duration. Once you’re happy, tap on the tile, and the timer will after you flip the phone face-down.

The strip will start blinking once time’s up and can only be turned off by unlocking your phone and tapping “Finish” on the Glyph Timer notification.

Nothing Phone (2)'s Flip To Glyph.

Nothing probably believes that toggling a mute switch is passé. Nothing Phone (2) lets you flipyour phone over to immediately silence it and use the LEDsto indicate whether you’ve got notifications.

Flip to Glyph is Nothing’s flashier version of Google's "Flip to Shhh" feature for Pixel phones. Flipping a Pixel sets it in Do Not Disturb mode. For the Nothing Phone (2) and its Glyph Interface, you get a cool light animation flashing from bottom to top to indicate that Do Not Disturb is on.

Thanks to the LEDs flashing on the rear, you can still see notifications coming in. While that might still be distracting if you’re in a meeting, it’s certainly better than missing out on an important call.

Another excellent quality-of-life Glyph feature is the ability to check on your phone’s charging progress by looking at the exclamation mark's LED. Once you plug in, the strip fills up to indicate the current battery level. Whenever you shake the phone, the strip lights up again.

This means you can estimate your charging progress by simply shaking, instead of having to trigger the display for an exact charging percentage.

There’s also the Glyph Progress feature. Unfortunately, it only works with the Uber app right now. It shows a progress bar for apps, similar to Apple’s Live Activities integration. On the Nothing Phone (2), the lights indicate how far away your Uber driver is as he drives towards the pickup destination. It’s definitely a cool and useful add-on, if only more apps can support it.

We've talked a lot about using Glyph Interface in practical ways,but the lightsarebarely one part of the whole phone. On the next page, we look at Nothing's operating system, and how it helps to tie everything together.

< PrevPage 1 of 3 – Overview, Glyph InterfacePage 2 of 3 – Nothing OS 2.0, Imaging and photo samplesPage 3 of 3 – Benchmarks, Battery life, ConclusionPage 1 of 3 – Overview, Glyph InterfacePage 1 of 3 Page 1 of 3 – Overview, Glyph InterfacePage 2 of 3 – Nothing OS 2.0, Imaging and photo samplesPage 3 of 3 – Benchmarks, Battery life, ConclusionNext >

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