Phone (2a) is most affordable Android phone from Nothing yet, boasts two day battery and trademark lightshow

a man wearing a grey t-shirt holds the nothing phone 2a towards camera

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Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 05/03/2024

- 12:34

Updated: 05/03/2024

- 13:20

Third smartphone released by London-based start-up is guaranteed four years of security updates

  • Phone (2a) starts from £319, rising to £349 for the maxed-out model
  • It has a unique new design with the dual-camera system resembling eyes
  • Glyph Interface uses flashing LEDs to alert you who is calling or texting
  • You can create your own custom patterns for certain apps or people
  • Nothing says Phone (2a) has a two-day battery life and 45W fast-charging
  • There's no wireless charging because the rear case is made from plastic

British start-up Nothing has taken the wraps off its third smartphone, the Phone (2a), which offers the same screen size and trademark lightshow as its flagship handset — but at its lowest price yet.

Starting from £319, Nothing Phone (2a) has been created by the London-based team with the goal of shaking up the mid-range smartphone market. It’s only been two years since Nothing, which was co-founded by Carl Pei — the former CEO of industry disruptor OnePlus, launched its first smartphone.

With the arrival of its latest model, Nothing sells the Phone (2), Phone (2a), and Phone (1), although we’d expect the latter to vanish from shelves in the coming months.

Phone (2a) shares a lot of DNA with the pricier Nothing Phone (2), which cost £579 at launch in July last year — although is now regularly on sale for £499. However, the company has made several thoughtful cuts to keep that starting price below even the £399 price tag of the original Phone (1).

nothing phone 2a pictured in black in a spotlight

Nothing's all-new Phone (2a) is available in three colours — Black (pictured above), White, and Milk


On the front, you’ll find the same 6.7-inch AMOLED screen size as the top-of-the-range Phone (2), which can reproduce 1.07 billion colours and hits a peak brightness of 1,300-nits. The latter should be bright enough that you can comfortably use the Phone (2a) outdoors on a bright day without issue.

The panel offers up to 120Hz high refresh-rate, so system animations like scrolling will be buttery-smooth and responsive. That refresh-rate can also drop to 30Hz to conserve battery too.

Meet Phone (2a)

Phone (2a) includes the thinnest bezels in Nothing’s smartphone line-up, measuring just 2.1mm around all four sides of the screen. This results in an impressive 91.65% screen-to-body ratio, so you won’t have to worry about Phone (2a) being too much of a palm-stretcher, despite its generous screen size.

On the back, you’ll find the lightshow that’s become synonymous with the Nothing brand. Known as the Glyph Interface, this relies on patterns of flashing LEDs — seen through the transparent rear case — to alert you about incoming text messages, phone calls, app notifications, and more. The LEDs can also be used to show a countdown, like the time until your Uber driver arrives.

Nothing believes the Glyph Interface offers a way to keep your phone face down on the table, so you’re more engaged with the people around you. With a quick glance, you’ll be able to work out who is calling you and whether an incoming notification is urgent and requires immediate attention.

the glypth interface pictured illuminated around the camera module on the back of the phone 2a

The trademark Glyph Interface can flash to indicate who is calling or texting you. The unique patterns can also alert you about different app notifications


Nothing has released an app, dubbed Glyph Composer, that lets you create your own unique patterns of flashes in the trademark pattern of LEDs on the back of the phone case. These can be assigned to specific apps or people in your contacts.

Unlike the pricier Phone (2), the new Phone (2a) swaps the Gorilla Glass from Corning in favour of plastic that wraps around the edges of the handset at a 90-degree angle — an industry first, the British company says. The dual-camera system is placed at the centre of the NFC coil, which enables contactless payments, to resemble a pair. Nothing says this gives the handset a friendly appearance.

But it’s not all about the looks. The new camera design makes the smartphone sturdier, with Nothing seeing a notable improvement on drop test results. The centred camera bump stabilises the handset when it's lying on a flat surface, helping when typing.

Battery life enjoys a boost with the £319 Phone (2a), which is fitted with the biggest cell ever shipped in a Nothing smartphone, tipping the scales at 5,000mAh. Nothing says that will comfortably deliver up to two days of use on a full charge, although we’ll need to test one to verify that.

Nothing says this impressive battery life claim is possible because it has managed to increase battery longevity by over 25% since its original Phone (1), which launched back in July 2022.

When it does come time to charge, Phone (2a) supports 45W Fast Charging, delivering 50% of power in 20 minutes. To keep costs down, Nothing has not included wireless charging — so you’ll need to spend more for the flagship Phone (2) to get Qi charging.

Phone (2a) has a pair of 50-megapixel sensors from Samsung to enable all of the usual photography tricks you’d expect at this price point, including Portrait Mode pictures with a bokeh-style blur behind the subject, ultra-wide shots to squeeze the biggest group shot or tallest skyscraper into the viewfinder, panoramas, and night mode to peer-through the gloom without relying on the flash.

a woman sits in a spotlight and uses the nothing phone 2a

NothingOS is a version of Android crafted by the design team behind the start-up's hardware with a focus on widgets — so you can't get the information you need with a glance


Nothing has worked with the engineers at Google to develop Ultra XDR, which is designed to ensure an accurate display of highlights and shadows in every shot. It works by capturing eight frames at different exposure levels in RAW format, and then adjusting the brightness of each pixel up to five times to display the most true-to-life result, Nothing says.

Powering the Phone (2a) is a Dimensity 7200 Pro chipset exclusively co-engineered with MediaTek. This marks the first time Nothing has switched from US manufacturer Qualcomm for its processors.

This chipset, built using TSMC’s latest second-generation 4nm process, can be paired with either 8- or 12GB of RAM and 128- or 256GB of built-in storage. There’s no microSD slot on the Phone (2a), so if you run-out of storage on the phone, you’ll need to start paying for a cloud subscription.

a grid of widgets designed by nothing for its android operating system

The latest version of NothingOS, version 2.5, arrives with a slew of new widget designs for your homescreen as well as the ability to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to craft unique wallpapers


Out of the box, Nothing Phone (2a) runs Android 14 ...although you might struggle to recognise it. The London-based designers at Nothing have developed their own Nothing OS that completely transforms the appearance of Google’s popular mobile operating system to better fit with the design language of the hardware — and enable a few unique tricks.

With Nothing OS 2.5, Nothing has expanded its library with even more Nothing-designed widgets, with swipeable views and animations for more levels of information and interactions on your home screen. Phone (2a) marks the launch of a new Recorder widget which allows users to create voice memos on-the-go. Plus, Nothing has introduced an AI-powered Wallpaper Studio, which enables unlimited personalised wallpaper options for your home and lock screen.

Nothing will guarantee three years of software updates and four years of security updates.

a close-up shot of the nothing phone 2a with a transparent back

In under two years, Nothing has cemented its brand with a trademark transparent design language and the flashing LEDs in the so-called Glyph Interface


Carl Pei, CEO and co-founder of Nothing, said: “This year is all about accelerating our progress, and Phone (2a) is our first big step forward.Phone (2a) is going to enable more people to experience the Nothing innovations that manyhave come to love, and we’re confident it will become our best-selling product ever.”

Phone (2a) is available to preorder now in Black, White, and Milk colour options. It costs £319 for the entry-level modelwith 8GB of RAM and 126GB of built-in storage. If you want more storage, Nothing sells an upgraded model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for £349.

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