Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone (2) — how the leaked specs compare

Nothing Phone (2) Glyph Interface lights turned on.
(Image credit: Future)

Nothing has been trying to build a name for itself in the smartphone space with high-end handsets that look and act the part. But a new budget-friendly Nothing phone could be on the way, after Nothing Phone 2a details leaked out this week.

From the sound of the Twitter post by serial leaker Yogesh Brar, we could be seeing the Nothing Phone 2a — or Nothing Phone (2a) if the phone maker sticks with its current naming convention — in the coming months. The leaker specifically flags February's Mobile World Congress in Spain as the likely launching pad for the new phone.

More details will surely emerge between now and then, but Brar provided enough of the likely specs for the Nothing Phone 2a to compare it to the company's current flagship, the Nothing Phone (2a), which came out earlier this year.

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The Nothing Phone (2) stands out from other Android phones with a Glyph interface on the rear panel. In essence, the Glyph interface allows for both first- and third-party apps to trigger an LED array that can light up at the same time or separately, depending on the setup. The idea is to let you know what’s happening on your phone if you have it lying face down; indeed, Nothing encourages users to set up notifications and other alerts that will trigger the lights to let them know what they’ve missed.

That Glyph interface is also slated to appear on the Nothing Phone 2a, according to Brar, though the budget phone reportedly will scale back that feature.

Brar, who has a solid track record of leaking mobile phone details, claims to have obtained a Production Validation Test (PVT) unit, suggesting the handset is getting close to launch. In addition to the Nothing Phone 2a’s specs leak, Brar also shared images of both the front and back. The front of the device looks similar to the Nothing Phone (2), though decidedly less sophisticated on the rear, owing in large part to the Glyph interface redesign.

Here's an early Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone (2) comparison based on Brar's initial round of leaked specs for the upcoming phone.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone price

The Nothing Phone (2) debuted at $599/£579/AU$1,049, a £180 markup from the cost of the Nothing Phone (1). (That original Nothing device didn't launch in the U.S.) From Brar's tweet, it sounds like Nothing hopes to go even further down the budget route with the 2a device — it's got a rumored price tag of $400.

If accurate that would undercut the U.S. pricing of such midrange U.S. phones as the Pixel 7a ($499), Galaxy A54 ($449) and iPhone SE ($429). However, the thing we're waiting to see is if Nothing finds wireless partners here in the U.S. to sell it budget model. If you want a Nothing Phone (2), you've got to buy it directly from the phone maker or from a few online retail sites.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone design and display

We've mentioned the redesigned back of the Nothing Phone 2a and how it will reportedly scale back on the Glyphs that have been the hallmark of Nothing's flagship phones so far. Apart from that, device details about the phone's design are scarce.

Oh the display front, Brar is tipping the Nothing Phone 2a to have a 120Hz OLED panel, and the fine print on one of the photos included in his specs post indicates the phone will have a 6.7-inch screen. If true, all of that would match the display specs found on the Nothing Phone (2), suggesting it there's a place where Nothing is cutting costs, it won't be on the phone's screen.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone cameras

Camera specs for the Nothing Phone 2a are fairly sparse at this point. All that Brar notes is that it will be a dual 50MP setup. That sounds suspiciously like the cameras on the Nothing Phone (2), which came equipped with a 50MP main camera and 50MP ultrawide shooter.

Brar didn't mention the front camera for the Nothing Phone 2a, but it would need a 32MP sensor to match what the Nothing Phone (2) offers. The photo in his tweet indicates a 16MP front shooter for the 2a, however.

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone performance and battery

Performance could be another major area where the Nothing Phone 2a departs from its predecessor. The Nothing Phone (2) shipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 — not Qualcomm's top-of-the-line chipset at the time of the phone's release, but not too far behind. It certainly provided more muscle than the silicon powering comparable midrange phones when we tested the Noting Phone (2).

Brar has the Nothing Phone 2a offering a MediaTek Dimensity 7200, which is a newer system-on-chip than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 series. However, it's not MediaTek's most powerful silicon and seems to be more comparable with less powerful chipsets in Qualcomm's lineup. We'd imagine that the Nothing Phone 2a is going to have a hard time keeping up with its sibling.

There's no word on the battery specs for the Nothing Phone 2a and how it might compare to the Nothing Phone (2)'s 4,700 mAh power pack. 

Nothing Phone 2a vs. Nothing Phone 2: Outlook

With a couple months before the Nothing Phone 2a's rumored launch, there's plenty of time for more concrete details to emerge about this lower-cost version of the Nothing Phone (2). Our interest is in confirming that rumored $400 price tag and finding out what sacrifices Nothing is making to shave around $200 off the cost of its flagship; we're also keen to learn more about the phone's availability.

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Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.