Being a smartphone startup is difficult, significantly while you’re up towards tech giants like Apple, Google and Samsung. However after promoting greater than 500,000 Telephone 1s final 12 months, Nothing has returned with a sequel: the Telephone 2. And whereas it seems to be just like the earlier mannequin, it appears like Nothing is lastly determining its groove. Not solely does it have a considerably sooner CPU, its cameras have been improved, and we’re lastly seeing Nothing’s imaginative and prescient of a extra considerate and deliberate UI. Even the telephone’s most distinctive function – its Glyph interface – presents enhanced customization and added performance. However maybe most significantly, the Telephone 2 will formally be accessible within the US. And whereas this added sophistication comes at an elevated value, it’s nonetheless very reasonably priced at $600. In a sea of Android telephones that usually mix collectively, getting an eye catching machine for an affordable value is certainly one thing notable.
In comparison with most telephones which are clad in a clean sheet of glass, the Telephone 2 (which is out there in white or a brand new grey shade) is a stunner. Its clear Gorilla Glass again reveals a monotone assortment of elements, permitting you to see issues like its magnetic charging coil, energy cables and extra. It’s not messy, although. Every part is buttoned up simply sufficient, and there are human touches like arranging among the elements to seem like an elephant. I’ve been informed there are different creatures hiding as effectively, however I haven’t noticed them but. It’s like having a cyberpunk artwork set up in your pocket.
In fact, there’s additionally the Glyph interface which consists of plenty of LED strips that pulse, strobe and glow. For this mannequin, Nothing greater than doubled the variety of lights from 5 to 11, whereas additionally including assist for addressable zones, which permits for gradient results. Sadly, there’s nonetheless just one shade to select from: white.
As for the remainder of the machine, it’s similar to the Telephone 1 together with a metallic body with flat boxy sides and an iPhone-like button structure for energy and quantity. The one huge change is that Nothing used 2.5D glass with rounded edges in again which sports activities curves that sit extra naturally in your hand with out digging in.
In the meantime, its 6.7-inch OLED show delivers wonderful brightness (with peaks of effectively over 1,000 nits in my testing), wealthy colours and a speedy 120Hz refresh fee. You additionally get an in-screen fingerprint reader for easy and safe biometrics which is each quick and correct.
The Telephone 2 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 8GB or 12GB of RAM and as much as 512GB of storage. Positive, its chip is a 12 months outdated, nevertheless it dealt with video games and modifying images with no trace of lag. When mixed with speedy UI animations and a light-weight Android pores and skin, the Telephone 2 feels extremely responsive and snappier than some flagship telephones that value an entire lot extra. Moreover, whereas the telephone is just accessible as an unlocked mannequin, it has been licensed to work on each T-Cell and AT&T’s networks (sorry Verizon people), so it’s fairly versatile in the case of bringing it over to your provider.
Tuning a telephone’s cameras and picture processing might be extraordinarily tough while you don’t have the identical degree of sources as a trillion-dollar megacorp. And whereas the Telephone 2’s 50MP foremost cam and 50MP ultra-wide cams are first rate, they’re nonetheless a tier or two under what you get from a Pixel 7. Through the day, the Telephone 2 captures photographs with vibrant, wealthy colours and good sharpness. It’s solely while you zoom to 100% that you simply discover issues like shade fringing and worse dynamic vary. Nothing has a tough time maintaining with Google’s Night time Sight mode in low gentle too, generally struggling when making an attempt to nail white stability whereas additionally preserving element. Nonetheless, coming from the Telephone 1, it’s a giant enchancment and if you happen to aren’t an avid photographer, the Telephone 2 continues to be serviceable.
In comparison with the earlier mannequin, the Telephone 2’s software program could have the most important variety of enhancements. This time as an alternative of a barebones model of inventory Android, Nothing has included its Monochrome UI which consists of latest widgets, wallpapers, icon packs and extra that create a particular expertise that ties into the telephone’s exterior design. Not solely does it look nice, you may as well make all of the app icons grayscale and even take away the title of the app completely. The thought is that, by making apps a contact tougher to seek out, you’re pressured to be extra deliberate about how and while you use your telephone. That’s a refreshing change from simply reflexively doom scrolling by way of social media each time you’ve gotten a spare minute.
Gallery: Nothing Telephone 2 digital camera samples | 8 Photographs
Gallery: Nothing Telephone 2 digital camera samples | 8 Photographs
Nothing additionally added a brand new tab within the settings menu for its Glyph interface so you may get extra granular management over all these LEDs. Options vary from easy issues like utilizing its hind lights to point out battery standing or quantity to extra refined issues like what Nothing calls “Important notifications.” That permits you to set particular apps to activate LEDs on the again of the telephone. This fashion, you’ll be able to put the telephone facedown on a desk and actually take note of the individuals you are with. This was handy for me as a result of since my spouse and I appear to be the one individuals we all know that use Google Chat, I set that as my important notification so I by no means miss her messages.
And whereas it’s restricted to a single app for now, Nothing is even integrating its Glyph interface with a third-party app in Uber, so you’ll be able to see a real-time arrival estimate for a automotive simply by trying in the back of the telephone. It’s a neat trick that would have a ton of potential. As an alternative of utilizing a particular API, the LEDs are merely getting data out of your notifications to replace the lights. That makes it simpler to develop extra customized Glyph integrations without having to associate with each single app developer. So whereas third-party app integration continues to be a piece in improvement, it’s off to an fascinating begin.
Lastly, whereas it’s not fairly so long as what you get from Google or Samsung, Nothing is promising three years of OS updates together with 4 years of normal safety patches.
I wasn’t positive what sort of endurance I used to be going to get from the Telephone 2 between its 4,700 mAh battery and barely older, much less power-efficient chip. However on our video rundown check, Nothing crushed it with a time of 24 hours and 25 minutes. That’s the second longest time we’ve seen in latest historical past, solely behind the Samsung’s Galaxy S23+ (25:02). On prime of that you simply get 15-watt wi-fi charging, 45-watt wired charging and 5-watt reverse wi-fi charging.
In a time when new generations of telephones by no means appear fairly as thrilling because the final, Nothing has nonetheless managed to make the Telephone 2 stand out. Its eye-catching design captures among the greatest qualities of clear plastic devices from the ‘90s, like Gameboys and Nintendo 64’s, however in a way more refined method. In the meantime, Nothing’s Monochrome UI asks customers to be extra considerate about how they use their machine whereas giving them instruments just like the Glyph interface that may floor data and notifications in novel methods. And although its specs don’t leap out at you, it by no means felt gradual and it’s well-equipped with useful options like reverse wi-fi charging.
That mentioned, for $600, the Pixel 7 continues to be the higher worth. It’s bought a more recent chip together with a way more refined software program package deal which incorporates options like Name Screener and strong language detection, and its cameras are in a category of their very own. However its display is smaller and its battery life isn’t fairly as lengthy. And you realize what, that’s completely superb as a result of the Telephone 2 isn’t for everybody. It’s a telephone that desires you to assume otherwise about how you employ your machine whereas supplying you with the instruments to take action. It’s the offbeat selection, and for individuals who need to be excited by their telephone once more, it’s positively an fascinating mainstream different.