Nothing Phone 2a: release date, price, specs and latest news

Nothing Phone 2a review.
(Image credit: Future)

The Nothing Phone 2a is official and it's the company's first budget phone. While the two previous flagship Nothing phones gave other mid-range handsets a run for their money, the Nothing Phone 2a takes it to a whole other level with its lower price. 

Indeed, the company is expected to announce the Nothing Phone 3 later this year, but its cheaper alternative, the Nothing Phone 2a, is the device to bridge the gap in the meantime. Most budget alternatives tend to feature less premium designs and underperform in key categories such as battery life and camera performance. But that's not the case for the Nothing Phone 2a.

In fact, it's a worthy best cheap phone contender much like the Google Pixel 7a. We've rounded up all the Nothing Phone 2a details about the it below, so you can judge for yourself. In our Nothing Phone 2a review, we get into more detail and compare it with other phones like the iPhone SE (2022).

OnePlus 2a: Specifications

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Nothing Phone 2a
Starting price$349 / £319
Display size and resolution6.7-inch 1084 x 2412 AMOLED
Display brightness, refresh rate30-120Hz adaptive refresh rate
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro
Storage128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras50MP (f/1.88) main, 50MP (f2.2) utra wide
Front camera32MP (f2.2)
Battery size5,000 mAh
Charging speed45W
Size6.36 x 3 x 0.33 inches
Weight6.7 ounces
ColorsBlack, Milk

Nothing Phone 2a: Price and release

Nothing Phone 2a review.

(Image credit: Future)

Pre-orders are available right now, while general availability rolls out to most global markets starting on March 12. In the U.S., it's only available through a developer program — where it fetches for $349 for the 12GB/256GB version.

In other markets, like the U.K., the Nothing Phone 2a starts at £319 for the 8GB/128GB version, while the 12GB/256GB model costs £349. It's available in two color options: black and milk.

Unfortunately, there is no indication that the Nothing Phone 2a will get a broader release in the U.S. outside of this developer program.

Nothing Phone 2a: Design

Nothing Phone 2a review.

(Image credit: Future)

One of the best aspects about the Nothing Phone 2a is how it shares the same design DNA as previous Nothing phones. Meaning, it features a translucent back casing that lets you see some of the components inside of the phone, along with its iconic Glyph Interface on the back of the phone.

These are fewer LED light strips this time that make up the Glyph Interface, but they still light up to correspond to different notifications, which can be further customized in the settings of the phone. Interestingly, the Nothing Phone 2a is nearly the same size and weight as the Nothing Phone 2. Furthermore, it also shares the same IP54 water resistant rating.

Nothing Phone 2a: Display

Nothing Phone 2a review.

(Image credit: Future)

There's a 6.7-inch AMOLED display on the Nothing Phone 2a with a resolution of 1,084 x 2,412 pixels. While Nothing has it listed to reach a peak brightness of 1,300 nits, our own benchmark testing reveals it to reach 990 nits — which is actually better than the Nothing Phone 2’s 960 nits reach.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Max brightnesssRGBDCI-P3Delta-E (lower is better)
Nothing Phone 2a990 nits147.1 (Alive) / 118.3 (Standard)104.2 (Alive) / 83.8 (Standard)0.22 (Alive) / 0.23 (Standard)
Nothing Phone 2960 nits145.5 (Alive) / 108.5 (Standard)103 (Alive) / 76.8 (Standard)0.05 (Alive) / 0.13 (Standard)
Pixel 7a1,024 nits129.8 (Adaptive) / 111.7 (Natural)91.9 (Adaptive) / 79.1 (Natural)0.05 (Adaptive) / 0.11 (Natural)
iPhone SE (2022)596 nits114.781.20.21

For a budget phone, it's almost expected to find a 60Hz display refresh rate. However, the Nothing Phone 2a takes the next logical step of offering a 30-120Hz adaptive refresh rate to smooth out the fluidness of the display while watching  videos and movie trailers. In the settings, you can choose to keep the adaptive refresh rate, or dial it down to your standard 60Hz rate.

Nothing Phone 2a: Cameras

Nothing Phone 2a review.

(Image credit: Future)

One of the biggest changes we have seen with the Nothing Phone 2a is the movement of the camera to the middle of the back of the phone. This is a major change from the Nothing Phone 2, which had dual cameras located in the top corner.

Its dual-camera arrangement breaks down to 50MP main and 50MP ultrawide cameras, while a single LED is nearby. You have access to many of the usual shooting modes you’d expect, like time-lapse, pano, slow-mo, but it also comes with an ‘expert’ mode for manual controls. You can see how its cameras handle different compositions in the gallery above, so you can judge if it's a good camera phone or not.

Video recording tops out 4K 30fps, which is good enough for a budget phone. Unlike most phones, though, you're locked into recording with just a single camera — so you can't switch between the main and ultrawide cameras once you hit record. Above, you can watch a video sample taken with the Nothing Phone 2a.

Nothing Phone 2a: Performance

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PhoneGeekbench 6 (single/multi-core)Wild Life Original Unlimited (fps)Adobe Premiere Rush (seconds)
Nothing Phone 2a1,103 / 2,586 25.461:40
Nothing Phone 21,381 / 4,00458.90:46
Pixel 7a1,401 / 3,36841.070:56
iPhone SE (2022)1,718 / 4,48250.030:27

Under the hood, the Nothing Phone 2a is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro chip and paired with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM. Running GeekBench 6, it puts up single and multi core scores of 1,103 and 2,586, while running at about 25.64 fps on 3DMark's Wild Life Extreme test. In comparison, the Nothing Phone 2 results in a smoother 58.9 fps rate running the same test.

Nothing Phone 2a: Battery Life and charging

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PhoneChipsetBattery sizeBattery life (Hrs:Mins)
Nothing Phone 2aMediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro5,000 mAh 15:00 (120Hz)
Nothing Phone 2Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 14,385 mAh 14:21 (120Hz)
Pixel 7aTensor G25,500 mAh 10:05 (60Hz)
iPhone SE (2022)A15 BionicN/A7:38

There's a 5,000 mAh inside of the Nothing Phone 2a, which is technically a little larger than the one in the Nothing Phone 2.  In Tom's Guide battery benchmark test, the Nothing Phone 2a achieves a time of 15 hours on a single charge — making it a contender in our best phone battery life list. That time easily beats key rivals like the iPhone SE (2022) and Pixel 7a, as well as the Nothing Phone 2.

Nothing Phone 2a: Outlook

There's a lot to love about the Nothing Phone 2a. Not only does it have a brilliant looking screen, extra long battery life, good cameras, and even retains the iconic design that has made the series memorable over other phones, but it's a testament to what we expect out our budget phones.

The only drawback is that much like the original Nothing Phone 1, it has a limited release in the U.S. — with no indication of a time frame when we could see expanded availability beyond its Developer Program.

Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.