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The Nothing Phone (2) isn’t exactly an expensive phone by modern flagship standards, with prices starting at $599. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for something a little cheaper.

A few days ago the Nothing team confirmed that a new Nothing Phone (2a) is on the way, and that it would put an emphasis on core functionality rather than “the latest and greatest specs.” Now a series of leaks give us a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming phone. Update: The initial leak turned out to be wrong, but @evleaks has shared another image that could be closer to the actual design. 

Nothing Phone (2a) image via @evleaks

The picture that was first leaked by Smartprix and @OnLeaks showed a phone with a radically different design from the original Nothing Phone (1) and Nothing Phone (2). The biggest difference? There were no LED lights on the back of the phone for Nothing’s signature “light glyph” feature that allows lights to glow in different patterns for notifications.

But that image, shown below, turns out to have been a picture of a different phone that Nothing designed… but never released. The actual Nothing Phone (2a) is expected to have a new camera setup that puts the phone’s dual cameras in a horizontal position closer to the center top area of the phone, rather than stacked vertically along one side.

Nothing Phone (2a) – inaccurate image from @OnLeaks and Smartprix

Earlier leaks had suggested that the phone’s primary camera would be have a Samsung S5KGN9 50MP image sensor, while the secondary camera would be a 50MP Samsung S5KGN1 camera, as well as a MediaTek Dimensity 7200 processor, a 2412 x 1084 pixel, 120 Hz OLED display, and a 32MP front-facing Sony IMX615 camera.

I’d take all of the leaked information with a grain of salt until the phone is officially announced, but we might not have to wait long for that announcement – rumor has it that Nothing could introduce the Nothing Phone (2a) on February 27th during this year’s Mobile World Congress event.

This article was first published February 5, 2024 and most recently updated February 9, 2024. 

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  1. Sorry, maybe I’m too old to get it, but what the hell are “light glyphs” and why should I care about that?

    1. The 1 and 2 models have this light gimmick on the back, a design feature to make them stand out in the overcrowded Android market. That’s it.

    2. If you’re playing FFX,you need to get all the glyph lights right to get the destruction sphere. Here, I’m not sure why you need it.

  2. 600$ is at least 200% too expensive for such a standard android e-waste. The fact that it doesn’t have light glyphs is the only useful improvement as it is one less useless feature I have to turn OFF.

    1. Hello Mr. (or Mrs.) e-waste. I recognize your posts. Totally agree with you by the way, just saying, no need to be “anonymous” here. Why not stick with a single user name?

      1. Because I’ll probably forget my user name as well as the email I used.. I always do.
        Just because I call the phone ewaste doesn’t mean it is a bad phone or doesn’t look cool/different. I simply don’t like paying more than 150$ for any phone and don’t like to be tempted to buy more phones than I actually need or could possibly use.

    1. TLDR:
      Carl Pei made a mistake. His previous successes came from exploiting a niche in the market: phones were cluttered, slow, and not supported well. This niche has been covered well by competitors during OnePlus decline, and the birth of Nothing. Now the market has open niche for other types of devices; the power-user or enthusiast. Devices like the Samsung Note 4-Exynos are very different to the likes of Samsung S20 Ultra. Carl Pei could have targetted this niche instead. Unless he does something drastic, I believe his company will flounder and sizzle. Not much different to the Essential PH-1 phone that is in the graveyard.

      rant:
      I don’t think there is much to like about this phone and this brand. The target landscape has changed.

      The Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 were great Android Phones, that wore the moniker “flagship killer”. Sure they weren’t as good as the Samsung, LG, Sony, or HTC flagships… but they offered blazing performance, simpler software, and decent all-round experience. On the back of this, was OnePlus One born. It came with CyanogenMod, fair prices, and the hallmarks of “flagship killer”. Things changed a bit with the discontinued 1+2, and the now “mass available” 1+3. The value proposition improved with the 1+3t at the end of 2016. Then in 2017 they released the 1+5 which was a rebadged Oppo Phone, it heavily copied rival iPhone and HTC phones, and lost much of its identity. It also came with price rises and didn’t stack up to the competition quiet as well as it’s predecessors. With the 1+5t the company was now chasing trends, fads, and hypes from other companies. Something had changed. You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain. The 1+6 lineup was disastrous, the 1+7 had a brief excitement for no notch, the 1+8 greatly improved at the expense of price, and the 1+9 didn’t improve and had efficiency issues. The 1+10 was un-launched, and 1+11 had many problems. The current 1+12 solves some but it still falls short of its glory days (OnePlus One, 3, 3t, and maybe the pre-order discounted OnePlus 5).

      Carl Pei was the CEO, but it’s unknown how much influence he had within Oppo and it’s offshoot OnePlus company. He started his own electronics design company (Nothing) with the ethos of simplicity, and tried to win some praise and nostalgia of the flagship killer. As an analogy, it would be like the car market, and having a porsche (sleek, fast, pretty).

      The problem is that people already have a very similar device with the “Pixel 6a” and later models, in this midrange premium tier. And the Pixel 7 Pro (and later models) already supply a mostly bare Android Software at the flagship/high-end tier. Whilst Samsung now offers 7 Years of Support for the luxury tier.

      So the market already has better, cheaper, and more available options. What it lacks is a true flagship, one that is not stripped off its features. Basically throw the kitchen-sink too type of device. The last true option was the Samsung Note 4-Exynos. The ZTE Axon 7 and Samsung S7+ although are also contenders for this title. Things just slowly slid downwards in the years, with others still clinging onto their Samsung S10+ phones, as that is when a sharp decline happened. The Sony Xperia 5 mk 2 (and later models) got close, offering flagship experience but with more features available. It has its downsides, mostly to do with Camera Software (affecting overall P’n’S quality) and display (not as dim, as bright, as dynamic as others), and battery life. Biggest problem for me is their unavailability, warranty, and prices. They’re too much compromises to make when having certain features back.

      I currently say it is the Samsung xCover 6 Pro, it is the phone with the least downsides. If it were a car, it would be analogous to a Jeep. It’s QSD 778 chipset is far from the current QC 8g3, it’s camera system compared to the S24 Ultra is bland, and it’s screen is nowhere near as rich. But that screen does not have burn-in, and it’s flat. The device is rugged to last the decade. And to top it off, the internals are easy to fix AND it has much superior battery life thanks to the User Removable Battery. Just match the Processor and Camera, and you have something better than the S24U the luxury option. But for the S24U to match the xCover 6 Pro, it needs a lot of changes, for battery, durability, ports, and feature set. The reason Samsung can sell both phones, is because the other phone is targeting the enterprise market for businesses and workers, whereas the S24U is for mainstream, and has all the marketing budget behind it.