Nothing Phone (2a) features some surprise upgrades over flagship Phone (2)

The mid-range Nothing Phone (2a) actually has two surprise features that better than flagship Phone (2)

Nothing Phone (2a) from official Nothing YouTube unboxing
(Image credit: Nothing)

It's hardly been top secret that the Nothing Phone (2a) was imminent: the London-based brand even showed the device off at a party at Mobile World Congress just last week. What might come as more of a surprise, however, is that the new mid-range Nothing handset actually betters the step-up Nothing Phone (2) flagship in some areas.

I've had the Nothing Phone (2a) in hand for over two weeks now, so have been quietly experiencing Nothing's new Phone (1) replacement – yes, the original's time is up now – and more budget offering for a decent period of time. I think it's going to hit really well in certain markets – India is a major target, with a Mumbai launch event also happening – but at this kind of price point it's got plenty of obvious appeal. 

1. Display

Believe it or not the Nothing Phone (2a) has a kind of screen upgrade compared to the Nothing Phone (2). Which seems like an oddity, sure, but in the interests of progress I suppose that promises that the as-yet-unannounced Nothing Phone (3) will be a major step forward again. 

So how does Phone (2a) better its flagship brother? Well, the 6.7-inch AMOLED panel used here has less bezel to the edges, which gives this little device an even more screen dominant look. Both panels offer the same 120Hz refresh rate and resolution (1080 x 2412), too, so the supposedly lower-spec phone is very close to the flagship – although marginally less bright, at 1300 nits (down from 1600 max).

2. Battery

Despite being the lightest phone that Nothing has ever produced – it's 190g, which, yes, is only three grams lighter than the original Phone (1) – the Phone (2a) also manages to cram in the most capacious battery in the company's line-up to date. 

The 5000mAh cell on board promises even better battery life as a result, with support from a customised MediaTek Dimensity 7200 chipset (built on TSMC's second-gen 4nm process) promising great longevity per charge. 

The battery is cycle tested to 1000 charges, with Nothing claiming it'll still be good to 90% of its original capacity after that time – meaning close to three years of use with daily charging to net that result. 

However, while the Nothing Phone (2a) might squeeze in 300mAh capacity more than the Nothing Phone (2), it doesn't feature wireless charging. That's one of the bigger losses when moving down from the flagship to mid-range model. Still, with 45W wired charging it's quick enough when at the plug. 

3. Price 

This one is likely obvious, but worth pointing out nonetheless: the Nothing Phone (2a) won't cost nearly as much as the flagship Phone (2). At launch the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage (2a) will set you back £319. The step-up 12GB RAM and 256GB storage is only a little more, at £349. Australian pricing is TBC. 

Interestingly, despite the brand moving into the USA in 2023, the Phone (2a) isn't slated for that territory just yet (maybe at all?). Those Stateside on a developer programme can request a model, but that's only going to be app developers and other companies, not consumers so much. 

As for on-sale: the Nothing Phone (2a) is available to pre-order now, with in-store drops (for those who like to queue) on 9 March, and general in-store/online from 12 March. 

4. But inevitable downgrades too

While I can big up the Nothing Phone (2a) in plenty of areas, it's no secret that it's a downgrade over the Nothing Phone (2) in lots of inevitable areas. I don't even mean that in a bad way, it's just an obvious position for a more affordable phone. 

The (2a) ditches the glass back for a plastic finish instead; there's no wireless charging (as I've mentioned); the Glyph lighting interface, while still present, is simplified to three lights (and with no charging indicator). But as a general summary, given those are the key 'less good' points about Nothing's new phone – I think the brand is onto an affordable winner. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.