The Nothing Phone 1 was among the most impressive phones to launch in 2022. While the device failed to find a spot in our list of the best budget phones, it stood out with its unique and premium design. Considering the Phone 1 was Nothing's first smartphone, the company managed to nail a lot of things, including the bloatware-free experience and performance. This does not mean the phone is perfect, though: its sub-par camera performance, limited availability, and other minor issues negatively affect the overall user experience.
For 2023, the Carl Pei-founded company is gearing up to launch the Nothing Phone 2, its second smartphone. Learning from its mistakes, Nothing should get a lot more things right this time around. This could make the Phone 2 among the most impressive phones to launch this year. With an announcement finally on the horizon, here's what we know about the Nothing Phone 2 so far and what you should expect from it.
Nothing Phone 2: Design and specs
The Nothing Phone 1's unique design is its key selling point. Transparent rear glass gives you a look inside the phone, but unlike the Nothing Ear 1, the company covered all individual components with white or black plates. This is a better approach than exposing all the internal components, as it gives the back a cleaner look. And then, there are the LED strips that Nothing added to the rear of the Phone 1 to make it stand out.
Leaked renders of the Nothing Phone 2.
For the Phone 2, we're expecting the company to continue with the same design language without making any significant modifications. There have not been any rumors or leaks on this front so far. In an interview in January 2023, though, Nothing CEO Carl Pei revealed that the Phone 2 will be more "premium." That's not to say nothing is new this year, of course. Rather, Nothing is focusing on refining the look and feel is debuted last year. Considering most US consumers never got the chance to see this original model, it makes plenty of sense.
In comparing the original model with leaked images of the Nothing Phone 2, you'll notice some slight changes, including dual LED placements around the camera placement — compared to a single C-shaped LED on the original — and multiple Glyph pieces surrounding the center of the phone, presumably for additional color effects.
A leaked image of the Nothing Phone 2 compared to its predecessor.
If you're looking for something new, though, consider this USB-C cable, which has been made transparent this year to better match the phone.
Internally, the Phone 1 is a midrange device featuring a Snapdragon 778G+ SoC, 8GB RAM, and a 4,500mAh battery. This year, Nothing has confirmed its plan to use a Snapdragon 8 series chipset on the Phone 2. While the company did not reveal the exact chip's name in its announcement, a Qualcomm executive inadvertently referred to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 on LinkedIn, something later confirmed by Carl Pei himself.
While not Qualcomm's latest and greatest SoC, the 8+ Gen 1 is the company's 2022 flagship chip and is still found inside some of the best Android phones, including new devices like the Moto Razr+. Plus, it performs substantially better than Nothing Phone 1's Snapdragon 778G. This move will also allow Nothing to price the Phone 2 much more competitively than if it had used Qualcomm's newest flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
A leak suggests the Nothing Phone 2 could feature a bigger 5,000mAh battery along with 8GB or 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. For comparison, the Nothing Phone 1 has a 4,500mAh battery, with only its top-end configuration shipping with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
Nothing Phone 2: Cameras
The Nothing Phone 1's cameras were never its strong suit. While the young company has rolled out multiple software updates to improve the camera performance, it is nowhere near as good as the Phone 1's primary competitors, the Google Pixel 6a and the Samsung Galaxy A53, to say nothing of their more recent successors. The rear shooters fall apart while capturing photos in challenging situations, including low-light environments.
Since Nothing plans to make the Phone 2 a more premium offering, the company must focus on its camera performance. There's no information on the phone's camera setup yet. However, the more powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, a faster ISP, and optimized image processing should allow the Phone 2 to capture notably better photos than its predecessor.
Nothing Phone 2: Software
Besides its unique design, Nothing's Glyph interface remains among the key selling points for the Phone 1. At launch, the Nothing OS experience was quite buggy, but the company has worked on resolving all the reported issues with software updates.
The Phone 2 should continue to run on Nothing OS, but expect major improvements in tow. While an outsourced development team made the initial Nothing OS builds for the Phone 1, Carl Pei has hired many of the OxygenOS team from OnePlus to work on Nothing OS. The results of Nothing getting a dedicated team to work on Nothing OS are already visible. Despite coming nearly six months after the OS's public release, the Phone 1's Android 13-based Nothing OS 1.5 update delivers a more stable experience with improved battery life.
This bodes well for the Nothing Phone 2 and its software experience, too. You can expect the phone to pack several new software features, deliver a more stable, bug-free experience, and offer improved software support. A leak says the phone will have a virtual RAM-like feature where you can use a part of the internal storage as swap memory.
Nothing Phone 2: Price and release date
The Nothing Phone 1 debuted in mid-July of last year, and it looks like its successor is headed for a similar announcement. The company confirmed plans to showcase the Nothing Phone 2 on July 11th, 2023 at 11AM ET, likely with a livestream hosted on its website. Presumably, it's here where we'll learn everything about the phone, including its price point, which remains a number shrouded in mystery.
As for availability, one of the issues with the Phone 1 was its limited availability. It officially launched in the UK, Europe, Japan, and India. If you are in the US, Nothing launched a beta membership in January 2023 through which you could get your hands on the Phone 1, but the device lacked the necessary 5G bands.
For the Phone 2, Nothing's CEO Carl Pei has confirmed that a US launch is in the cards. An official US release also means you should be able to enjoy 5G connectivity on the phone, at least on certain networks. Additionally, with the company now having the required resources, the Phone 2 could launch in more regions, including some carrier stores. We'll have to wait until July to learn more.
After months of radio silence, we've finally started hearing rumors surrounding its pricing, and unfortunately, it seems like the move upmarket will also bring a price hike along with it. A French publication claims the phone will start at €729 (around $800), while the more expensive 512GB model could cost €849 (or $932). That's a pretty penny for a phone running on 2022 specs, especially when compared to last year's €549 entry-level price.
Nothing Phone 2 has some stiff competition
If you think the Nothing Phone 2 will not live up to its hype, or could be too expensive in your country, consider checking out the Google Pixel 7a. Google's mid-range Pixel packs significant upgrades this year, including a new 50MP primary camera, a more efficient Tensor G2 chip, and a 90Hz OLED panel. It's a tough time to be a fresh competitor in the midrange space, but if anyone can handle the heat, it's Nothing.