Hey, Carl Pei! The Nothing Phone 2a is too “cool” for my grandma; too “mid-range” for me

Hey, Carl Pei! The Nothing Phone 2a is too “cool” for my grandma; too “mid-range” for me


So, the other side of the coin here is the younger audience, which (of course) is Nothing’s target market for the Phone 2a, and that’s where I come in. 27 is still considered young, I hope?Now, I must preface this by saying that I’m used to phones like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, Pixel 8 Pro and Galaxy S24 Ultra, which won’t be the case for anyone who actually considers buying the $330 Nothing Phone 2a (which is nearly $1,000 cheaper than the Galaxy S24 Ultra – let that sink in).

With that in mind, and given my conversation with Preslav (who tested and reviewed the Phone 2a), as well as tests I’ve seen, I must say that my initial appeal for the Phone 2a and its seriously attractive looks has been slightly toned down due to the clearly mid-range camera and performance.

  • In terms of cameras, it’s very hard to argue with the samples we have here, which show that the Phone 2a can most certainly take a great daytime picture, but indoor and low-light is where it will start showing why it doesn’t cost as much as a flagship

  • However, even a bigger dealbreaker for me (and I believe many non-grandmas) will be the fact that the Dimenity 7200 Pro in the Phone 2a isn’t enough to make it as snappy as my old iPhone 13, or a $500-600 phone you can get

To the point of performance, I don’t refer to “heavy gaming”, or anything like that. For example, the Phone 2a seems to give you a black screen before opening the camera, and just takes a few extra seconds to complete normal tasks, which happen instantly on phones that cost some $200 more.

Opening and reopening applications can also be a bit slow, especially if you’re jumping from app to app, playing videos, other multimedia, etc. Something else I’ve noticed is that scrolling on the Phone 2a can be a bit more jittery compared to a more expensive phone.

Are $300-400 phones worth it if $200 more gets you a much faster phone, with flagship-grade cameras?

So, yes – the different strengths and weaknesses of the Phone 2a package makes it quite tricky to say if it’s a “grandma” or a “teenager” phone. And I don’t know about you but this makes me ask myself if $300-400 phones are even worth it for most people?

For example, a brand new Galaxy S23 FE goes for only $550 right now, and apart from the display, and battery (which are comparable to that of the Phone 2a), Samsung’s affordable flagship simply walks all over the mid-ranger in every single way:

  • The Galaxy S23 FE has flagship-grade cameras, including a 3x zoom snapper
  • Flagship-grade SoC, which doesn’t hang when performing simple tasks like opening the camera, or doing heavy multitasking (switching through apps)
  • Faster, more reliable software support/updates
  • IP68 water/dust resistance, wireless charging – it’s all there if you need it
  • Samsung’s brand promise, which, let’s be honest, is sort of absent with a device like the Phone 2a, since Nothing is still a relatively new company – I’m not saying that’s going to be the case at all, but what if Carl Pei left Nothing to start another phone brand?! It’s not like he hasn’t done that before!

I’d trade the second camera in the Nothing Phone 2a for one great camera and a faster chip

In the end, I love the design of the Phone 2a, and buying one for me… sorry, for my grandma, is something I do actually consider.

But the two main questions I brought up still stand:

  • Who is the Nothing Phone 2a for? Because it seems to have a chip powerful enough for my grandma, and a camera that’s good enough for taking pictures of her tasty dishes; but then it looks so cool that it makes me want to use it; but then I don’t, because of the performance and camera limitations…

  • Are $300-400 phones far less appealing given that $500-600 phones seem to give you a more future-proof package?

Or is it just that I should buy my grandma a Pixel 7a (instead of a Nothing Phone 2a), giving her another phone with mediocre battery life and display like her old Huawei Nova 5T?


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