Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: should you upgrade?

Nothing, having initially bypassed the United States for its smartphone debut, has now made its way to American shores with its latest device, the Nothing Phone 2. Despite entering a competitive and saturated market, the Nothing Phone 2 exudes confidence. This cutting-edge phone boasts impressive specifications, such as the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, a dynamic refresh rate ranging from 1 to 120Hz, and, most notably, the Glyph lighting system. While some may consider this unconventional utilization of the phone’s rear as a gimmick, it undeniably adds an element of enjoyment and is likely to resonate with a wide audience.

Although the Nothing Phone 1 was not officially available in the U.S., it could still be imported, and for good reason. Boasting the same impressive Glyph lighting system as its successor, the Nothing Phone 1 also delivers outstanding performance, thanks to its long-lasting specifications. However, with the release of the second iteration, the Nothing Phone 2, the question arises: should current Nothing Phone 1 users make the switch? The allure of upgrading is always strong, but is it truly worth it in this case? To uncover the answer, we conducted a thorough examination.

Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: specs

Nothing Phone 2
Nothing Phone 1
Size 162.1 x 76.4 x 8.6 mm (6.38 x 3.01 x 0.34 inches) 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.3 mm (6.27 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches)
Weight 201.2 g (7.09 oz) 193.5 grams (6.84 ounces)
Screen size 6.7-inch OLED (1-120Hz) 6.55-inch OLED (120Hz)
Screen resolution 2412 x 1080 pixels (394 pixels per inch) 2400 x 1080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 13, Nothing OS 2 Android 12, Nothing OS 1.1.0
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+
RAM  8GB, 12GB  8GB, 12GB
Camera 50-megapixel wide, 50MP ultrawide, 32MP front 50MP wide, 50MP ultrawide, 16MP front
Video 4K at up to 60 frames per second, 1080p at 60 fps 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.3 Bluetooth 5.2
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes, in-display Yes, in-display
Water resistance IP54 IP53
Battery 4,700mAhFast charging (45W)

Wireless charging (15W)

Reverse wireless charging (5W)

4,500mAhFast charging (33W)

Wireless charging (15W)

Reverse wireless charging (5W)

App Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Colors Dark gray and White Black and white
Price $599 ~$480

A Comparison: Design, Display, and Durability – Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1

Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: design, display, and durability

The design of the Nothing Phone 1 is truly distinctive, resembling nothing else available in the market, except for its successor, the Nothing Phone 2. While the two phones may appear quite similar at first glance, there are notable differentiating factors. Nothing has refined the sharp edges of the Phone 1, resulting in a significantly more ergonomic feel for the second phone. Described by Nothing as “pillowed,” this peculiar characterization accurately captures the unique texture of the glass construction.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Nothing Phone 1 boasted an impressive 6.55-inch OLED display with a 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, and it’s noteworthy that Nothing managed to enhance it even further in the sequel. The Nothing Phone 2 features a similar OLED display with a 1080p resolution, but with an increased size of 6.7 inches. Additionally, the refresh rate has been upgraded to a variable rate ranging from 1Hz to 120Hz. The ability to adjust between higher refresh rates signifies a potential reduction in battery strain.

The Nothing Phone 2 also takes the lead in terms of durability, as it has received an upgrade to an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance. This improved rating means that the Phone 2 can withstand more splashing water compared to its predecessor, making it slightly more resilient.

Overall, the Nothing Phone 2 emerges as the clear winner in these aspects.

Winner: Nothing Phone 2

Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: performance, battery life, and charging

Reverse charging with Nothing Ear 1 headphones
Reverse charging with Nothing Ear 1 headphones

Equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ processor and up to 12GB of RAM, the Nothing Phone 1 delivers impressive performance. During our testing, it remained smooth and responsive, although it did experience some heat buildup when playing demanding games like Asphalt 9: Legends or Diablo Immortal.

However, the Nothing Phone 2 surpasses its predecessor in this regard. It incorporates the more powerful Snapdragon Qualcomm 8+ Gen 1 chip, offering a significantly smoother gaming experience while eliminating any heat buildup issues. Moreover, the Nothing Phone 2 provides an option to upgrade to 512GB of internal storage, whereas the Nothing Phone 1 was limited to 256GB.

In terms of battery life, the Nothing Phone 1 could last approximately a day on a full charge, showcasing good endurance. Yet, the Nothing Phone 2 surpasses it once again. With light to moderate usage, it’s possible to achieve a day and a half, or even two days, on a single charge with the Nothing Phone 2. While it is still feasible to drain the battery within a day, it requires intensive usage.

Both phones offer identical wireless charging and reverse wireless charging rates, but the Nothing Phone 2 takes another leap forward with a 45W wired recharge, a significant upgrade over the Nothing Phone 1.

In summary, the Nothing Phone 2 triumphs with its superior performance, faster charging capabilities, and significantly improved battery life. It serves as a solid all-around upgrade over the Nothing Phone 1, making it the clear winner in this comparison.

Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: cameras

Nothing Phone 1

Both the Nothing Phone 1 and Nothing Phone 2 feature similar camera setups, with dual-lens rear suites comprising of a 50-megapixel wide-angle main lens and a 50MP ultrawide lens. On the front side, the Nothing Phone 1 is equipped with a 16MP selfie camera, while the Nothing Phone 2 boasts a higher resolution 32MP selfie lens.

Although the hardware remains largely unchanged, Nothing has made significant improvements to the camera software, and the results are noticeable. While the Nothing Phone 1 captured decent photos, the Nothing Phone 2 provides an overall more enjoyable photography experience. Color reproduction appears more pleasing, there is improved consistency between the main and ultrawide cameras, and the 2x zoom mode, which utilizes the main camera, performs surprisingly well. Both phones struggle in low-light conditions, but apart from that, the Nothing Phone 2 represents a solid upgrade in various aspects.

Once again, the Nothing Phone 2 emerges as the victor in this comparison.

Winner: Nothing Phone 2

Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: software and updates

Nothin Phone 2 with NothingOS 2.0 icon pack

A major selling point for the Nothing Phone 1 was its highly acclaimed “Nothing OS” – a minimalist interpretation of Android that eschewed the customary manufacturer reskins and extraneous features. In practice, it resembled a clean version of Android often found on Pixel phones, albeit with a slightly distinctive style. This approach proved to be a commendable achievement for a brand-new manufacturer. With the release of Nothing OS 2, there haven’t been significant departures from the original version. However, users now have the option to select between standard Android icons or Nothing’s proprietary icons, significantly altering the overall aesthetic throughout the software.

Considering Nothing’s relative newness in the market, it’s challenging to predict how well the brand will perform with updates. The Nothing Phone 1 received a stable update to Android 13 in February 2023, which, while not the fastest update speed, is still commendable given the considerable work involved in adapting Nothing OS for a new Android version. It is reasonable to expect a similar update pace for the Nothing Phone 2. Additionally, the Phone 2 will likely receive more software updates compared to the Phone 1, primarily because it is a newer model. However, this factor alone is not sufficient to declare it the winner. Therefore, in terms of software and updates, we can consider it a tie between the two phones.

Winner: Tie

Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: special features

Both the Nothing Phone 1 and Nothing Phone 2 share a standout feature that defines the Nothing Phone series: the Glyph Interface. This interface encompasses a combination of sounds, haptic feedback, and a unique lighting system located on the back of both phones. While the Glyph Interface may be seen as a gimmick, it proves to be more useful than expected. The Glyph lights up to indicate notifications, charging status, and when the Google Assistant is active, but its potential goes beyond that. There are 10 different sets of customizable ringtones and alerts available, each accompanied by distinct patterns of vibration and light flashes. Furthermore, it can even serve as a camera flash.

The Nothing Phone 2 continues to offer the Glyph Interface with notable enhancements. The arrangement of the lights has been modified, and now users have the ability to customize their own combinations of lights and sounds for different types of notifications. The functionality has been expanded as well, allowing the Glyph lights to serve as a timer or volume indicator. Additionally, the Glyph Interface can be integrated with third-party applications like Uber, which was lacking in the Nothing Phone 1. Lastly, the Glyph light is now capable of adjusting its brightness, adding an extra touch of utility.

In summary, the Nothing Phone 2 takes the victory in this category. With improved customization options, added functionalities, and an enhanced brightness feature, it provides an enhanced experience compared to the Nothing Phone 1.

Winner: Nothing Phone 2

Nothing Phone 2 vs. Nothing Phone 1: price and availability

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