Tech reviews

Does it live up to expectations?

The tech firm based in London, known as Nothing, rolled out their latest Android offering, the Phone (2a). With a price tag of RM1,699, this intriguing phone seeks to bring a new dimension to the budget phone market, incorporating innovative design elements and features that were previously exclusive to the brand’s more expensive models.

Staying true to the unique aesthetics of the Nothing brand, the Phone (2a) features a distinctive design, characterised by a transparent plastic back cover that provides a glimpse into the intricate internals of the device. One of the phone’s most eye-catching features is the brand’s signature Glyph lights. These lights, which encircle a dual camera setup, illuminate for incoming notifications and also function as a constant nudge for essential notifications that need attention.

A review of the Nothing Phone (2a): Is it really worth the hype?

Unlike the Phone (2) model, which boasts a metal and glass construction, the Phone (2a) opts for a more budget-friendly plastic build. The LEDs or Glyph lights, in this case, are primarily situated around the camera module, but their functionality extends beyond aesthetics. They can exhibit complex patterns for ringtones, notifications, volume, charge percentage, timers, and a host of other features, including a fun music visualiser.

When it comes to hardware, the Phone (2a) does not disappoint. It is equipped with a 6.7-inch 120Hz FHD+ OLED screen, a hefty 12GB of RAM, and a generous 256GB of storage. The device runs on the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro processor and operates on Nothing OS 2.5, a system based on Android 14. The phone supports 5G connectivity and is fitted with a 50MP main camera, an ultrawide camera, and a 32MP selfie camera. An added bonus is the splash resistance of the phone, a feature not commonly found in the budget market.

In terms of performance, the Phone (2a) offers excellent value for its cost. The software is responsive, allowing apps to load swiftly and games to run smoothly. While the device does tend to heat up during gaming sessions, it manages to handle most tasks with efficiency. The battery life is commendable, offering approximately two days of usage with general use, inclusive of several hours spent on 5G each day.

The Phone (2a) also makes strides in sustainability, being partially constructed from recycled materials. The device has a carbon footprint of 52kg CO2 equivalent. The company takes further steps towards environmental responsibility by offering a trade-in scheme and publishing sustainability reports. However, the software support lifespan falls a bit short, offering only three years of updates and four years of security updates.

In terms of camera performance, it delivers results comparable to the pricier Phone (2) model. The main camera produces good photos but tends to over-sharpen details in bright light and has difficulty preserving detail in dim light. It is important to note that the absence of a telephoto lens means that images captured beyond 2x digital zoom are of lower quality. The ultrawide camera, however, does capture decent shots.

Other than that, the Nothing Phone (2a) breaks the mould in the budget phone market with its unique design and feature set. It delivers excellent value for money with a large, clear display, impressive battery longevity, solid performance, and a premium look at an affordable price. However, the plastic back does have a tendency to attract dust and scratches easily. Otherwise, the phone feels smooth and well made.

Where to get your hands on the Nothing Phone (2a) in Malaysia?

For those in Malaysia looking to purchase the Nothing Phone (2a), it is available at a price of RM1,699 from a variety of online platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, and SS Solution. The device can also be found in several retail outlets including DirectD, TMT, Urban Republic, Vivid Concepts, Tac Mobile, and the Nothing Image Store, located in Plaza Low Yat. The telecommunications company, Yes 5G, also stocks the phone.

(All images used courtesy of Nothing)


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