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Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: Don’t get the wrong one

The Nothing Phone 2a and the Nothing Phone 2 with Glyph Lights active.
Nothing Phone 2a (left) and Nothing Phone 2 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Nothing has created a buzz in the tech community with its innovative smartphone designs. After successfully releasing its first phone in 2022, the Nothing Phone 2 hit the scene in 2023 to rave reviews. Fast forward to 2024, and we now have the Nothing Phone 2a.

Both phones offer unique aesthetics and powerful performance, but how do they compare to each other? In this article, we’ll compare the two Nothing Phones by examining their design, performance, camera capabilities, battery life, and more.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: specs

  Nothing Phone 2a Nothing Phone 2
Weight 190 g (6.70 oz) 201.2 g (7.09 oz)
Dimensions 161.7 x 76.3 x 8.6 mm (6.37 x 3.00 x 0.34 in) 162.1 x 76.4 x 8.6 mm (6.38 x 3.01 x 0.34 in)
Screen size, specs
6.7-inch flexible AMOLED display
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Outdoor fullscreen brightness: 1100 nits; HDR peak pixel brightness: 1300 nits
6.7-inch flexible LTPO AMOLED display

Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Outdoor fullscreen brightness: 1000 nits; HDR peak pixel brightness: 1600 nits

Screen resolution 2412 x 1084 pixel resolution at  394 ppi

30 – 120Hz adaptive refresh rate

2412 x 1080 pixel resolution at 394 ppi

1Hz – 120Hz adaptive refresh rate

Operating system Nothing OS 2.5 Powered by Android 14

Three years of Android updates

Four years of security patches every two months

Android 13, upgradable to Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Three years of Android updates

Four years of security patches every two months

Storage & RAM 8GB RAM + 128GB storage

12GB RAM + 256GB storage

8GB RAM + 128GB storage
12GB RAM + 256GB storage
12GB RAM + 512GB storage
Processor MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro (4 nm Gen 2 TSMC process) Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (4nm TSMC process)
SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Camera
50MP main, ƒ/1.88
50MP ultra-wide, ƒ/2.2
32MP front
50MP main, ƒ/1.88
50MP ultra-wide, ƒ/2.2
32MP front
Video 4K recording at 30fps, 1080p recording at 60 or 120 fps

4K recording at 60 fps

1080p recording at 30 or 60 fps

Live HDR at 4K 30 fps

Glyph interface 26 individually addressable zones

Three light strips

33 individually addressable zones

11 light strips

Authentication Fingerprint and facial recognition Fingerprint and facial recognition
Resistance IP54 – splash, water, and dust resistant IP54 – splash, water, and dust resistant
Battery

5000 mAh

45W wired charging

No wireless charging

4700 mAh

45W wired charging

15W Qi wireless charging

5W reverse charging

Charging port USB-C USB-C
Colors  Black

White

Milk

Dark Grey

White

Price Starting at $405 Starting at $699
Availability U.K. and India Worldwide

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: design and display

The Nothing Phone 2 was launched worldwide in mid-2023, and the Nothing Phone 2a was revealed and released on a limited basis in March 2024. The former is a mid-priced smartphone, while the latter is more affordable. The price difference means the Nothing Phone 2 has more features and capabilities than the budget model, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Building on the groundwork laid by the Nothing Phone 1, the Nothing Phone 2 elevates the design aesthetics to a new level. It enhances the transparent back design with more visual elements to show and integrate with the phone’s functionality – like visual notifications and charging indicators. The build quality is upgraded with premium materials, including aluminum and Gorilla Glass, offering a more sophisticated feel.

The Nothing Phone 2 without the NothingOS 2.0 icon pack active.
Nothing Phone 2 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Nothing Phone 2 features an impressive 6.7-inch flexible LTPO AMOLED display. It offers a peak pixel brightness of 1,600 nits and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate that can go down to as low as 1Hz. This feature is great for conserving battery life and is perfect for displaying static content like images and menus or reading text. The phone also has a pixel resolution of 2412 x 1080 and a pixel density of 394 ppi.

Nothing’s phones are known for the Glyph interface, which is present in this model. The interface consists of LED lights on the back of the phone that display various notifications, battery status, musical visualization, and other relevant information. The Nothing Phone 2 has 33 individually addressable zones and 11 light strips, an improvement from the first Nothing Phone.

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

The Nothing Phone 2a retains the signature design elements that made its predecessor stand out, including the transparent back that showcases the device’s inner workings. However, it introduces slight tweaks to provide a fresh look while maintaining a sturdy build. The frame is constructed from a durable polymer compound, contributing to the phone’s lightweight feel without compromising strength.

The Phone 2a features a 6.7-inch flexible AMOLED display protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Although it has a slightly lower peak brightness (1,300 nits) and a worse minimum refresh rate (30Hz) than the Nothing Phone 2, it still delivers an impressive 2412 x 1084 pixel resolution with 394 ppi.

The Nothing Phone 2a’s Glyph interface has 26 individually addressable zones and three light strips, which still provides a pleasant experience, although perhaps not as enjoyable as the Nothing Phone 2.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: performance and battery

Nothing Phone 2a
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Nothing Phone 2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, making it a strong contender among flagship devices. This powerful processor delivers seamless performance, making it capable of handling heavy gaming, multitasking, and high-performance applications without any issues.

On the other hand, the Nothing Phone 2a is powered by the midrange MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor, designed to balance performance and efficiency. It can easily handle everyday tasks such as browsing social media and light gaming.

The Nothing Phone 2a has a slightly bigger battery, 5000 mAh, compared to the Nothing Phone 2’s 4700 mAh battery. However, both phones can last up to a day on a single charge. While both models support up to 45W wired charging, only the Nothing Phone 2 supports wireless and reverse charging.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: cameras

Close-up view of the camera on the Nothing Phone 2.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Nothing Phone 2 and Nothing Phone 2a have almost identical camera systems inside, with a 50MP primary camera, a 50MP wide-angle camera, and a 32MP selfie camera. However, the physical locations of the back camera systems of each phone are different.

The Nothing Phone 2 has a dual rear camera system arranged vertically on the left side, while the Nothing Phone 2a has its rear cameras in the center of its back. Neither phone will blow you away with its camera performance, but for everyday, casual shooting, they can each hold their own just fine.

It should be noted that flagship devices such as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, Google Pixel 8 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra each feature triple camera systems on the back side, giving users more options than those using either Nothing Phones.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: price and availability

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

The Nothing Phone 2 comes with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage, plus 8GB or 12GB of RAM. It is available in black or white and can be shipped to various regions worldwide, including the U.S. The phone’s price starts at $599, though you may be able to find discounts.

The newer Nothing Phone 2a offers 128GB or 256GB of storage and 8GB or 12GB of RAM. It’s initially only available in the U.K. and India, with a starting price of around $405. The phone comes in black, white, and a third color called “milk.” Nothing is technically offering the Nothing Phone 2a in the U.S. through a developer program, though this is intended solely for app developers wanting to adapt their apps for Nothing’s Glyph Interface.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: verdict

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

The Nothing Phone 2a may become available worldwide in the future, but currently, it’s harder to obtain than the superior and more expensive Nothing Phone 2. Nonetheless, both phones have received positive feedback for their distinctive appearance, impressive internal components, great camera systems, and more.

If you’re in the market for an Android phone not made by Google or Samsung, you’ll be pleased with either of the Nothing phones discussed here. If you desire all the features that Nothing has to offer, then the Nothing 2 is the perfect choice. It has a better processor, is made with more premium materials, supports wireless charging, and has a slightly improved display. Depending on where you live, it may also be the only one you can easily purchase.

However, if you reside in an area where the Nothing 2a is available and want to save some money, it’s an equally great option to consider. If not, the Nothing Phone 2 is your default choice.

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Bryan M. Wolfe
Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.
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