Published On: Tue, Mar 5th, 2024

Nothing debuts cheap new Android phone to challenge Samsung and Google


UK tech startup Nothing has just unveiled its latest smartphone the Nothing Phone 2a, an Android device with the same bright white lights on the back as its previous phones but with a much more attractive price of just £319.

It follows the Nothing Phone 2 from last year as a cheaper alternative in the firm’s range, with a mid-range processor, plastic rather than glass build, fewer ‘Glyph’ lights on the back, and only three years of Android updates.

But that £319 price means the phone, called the Nothing Phone 2a, undercuts its Android rivals considerably. The Google Pixel 7a and Samsung Galaxy A54 – comparable mid-range Android phones – cost £449 and £499 respectively.

The new device packs in a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with protective Gorilla Glass 5 and an adaptive 120Hz refresh to keep things looking smooth while saving precious battery life from the large 5,000mAh cell. It’s powered by the MediaTek 7200 Pro chipset, and Nothing said it worked with MediaTek to tune it specifically for the Phone 2a.

You also get three Glyph light strips on the back to program for incoming calls and notifications, as well as countdown timers and other functions such as a ringtone composer. Add to that 5G compatibility, dual stereo speakers, Hi-Res music playback and dual 50MP cameras and you’ve got a fully featured mid-range phone.

You can read Express.co.uk’s full review of the Nothing Phone 2a here.

Nothing has only been around since 2020 but has made a name for itself by designing tech products with an eye-catching transparent look and charging less than the competition. The Nothing Phone 2a comes in see-through black or white, with the rear plastic casing showing internal components such as the NFC coil for contactless payments sitting around the central dual cameras.

The company’s marketing suggests those two cameras look like eyes, a playful take on product design that makes the product feel a little more friendly than its stark look first suggests.

While the phone might turn heads for its design, Nothing’s secret weapon on its first two phones, Phone 1 and Phone 2, is its software. Compared to the busy and complicated software on Samsung phones, Nothing lets you create a very minimalistic look, with slick and fun widgets, a clean home screen look with no app names, and a black or white icon pack to keep things looking tidy.

Unfortunately, Nothing says it will only give the Phone 2a three years of Android updates – it launches with the latest Android 14, which is good to see, but will only reach Android 17 in 2027. You do get security updates till 2028 though, and something’s got to give when the phone is this cheap.

Smartphones are getting increasingly expensive, with even the stripped back OnePlus 12R costing £599 and the Google Pixel 7a at £449, the most an A-series Pixel has ever been. It’s good to see Nothing hit £319 for the Phone 2a and give UK Android phones a little more choice aside from premium priced handsets.



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