Carl Pei’s Nothing Phone 2: Premium flagship coming for the Pixel 7’s head
For one, the smartphone market is more saturated than ever, but second, giants like Samsung, Apple, Google and Xiaomi look so comfortable where they are that it’s crazy to think they could be challenged by another, smaller phone-maker, let alone a newcomer. And last but not least, what the heck is a “Nothing Phone” and why does it have Christmas lights on its back?
At least that’s what I thought until I ran through a few (OK, a ton) Nothing Phone long-term reviews by various users. Turns out people like the Nothing Phone 1! On top of that, apparently Carl Pei & Co are rather serious about the Nothing project.
Sure, the Phone 1 didn’t launch without some bugs – although those seemed mild compared to what Pixel 6 users had to cope with (considering Google’s been making phones forever).
The more exciting news? Unlike the Nothing Phone 1, the Nothing Phone 2 is coming to the US – an event that Pei deems to be a very key moment for the small company, which could be looking at increasing its sales by at least 30%.
So, let’s have an early conversation about the Nothing Phone 2!
Watch out, Google! Nothing Phone 2 coming to the US; could be a direct Pixel 8 competitor; Carl Pei isn’t coming for Apple and Samsung yet
Hey, Google! Pixel 7a and Pixel 8 will have company, but it’s really Nothing to worry about!
I want to avoid calling the Phone 2 a flagship because that would mean that the Nothing Phone 1 was not a flagship. We’re developing a smartphone that’s more premium than the Nothing Phone (1) and software will be a big focus area for us.
Due to a number of political and economic reasons, smartphone sales are seeing one of the biggest declines in history, as people have less money to spend. On top of that (hot take alert), new flagship phones don’t seem to be offering a ton of exciting new features (if any). The iPhone 14 is basically an iPhone 13, just like the Galaxy S23 looks to be more or less the same phone as the Galaxy S22.
That’s because despite the fact that the mid-range segment is very saturated in markets like Europe, India and China, other regions like North America (and the UK) are in a dire need of more great but also affordable phones for those who can’t be splurging.
This could and should be Nothing’s plan for a “more premium” Nothing Phone 2; write that Nothing Phone 2 upgrade list down, Carl Pei
Premium 2nd take on the Nothing Phone is on the way.
Within our own portfolio of smartphones, the Phone 1 was very much a flagship in terms of the amount of care we put into the product. That’s why I used the word ‘premium’ [to describe the Phone 2] instead, which signifies that it’s a more premium step up, but it’s still a flagship just like the Phone 1.
But what would make for a Nothing Phone 2 that’s more premium than the Nothing Phone 1 (as Pei promises); premium enough to compete with a phone like the Pixel 7, but also not that premium so it doesn’t cost $800?
- A brighter, more energy-efficient 120Hz display, with thinner bezels (the Phone 1’s 120Hz panel is good but not amazing)
- Faster charging (the Phone 1’s 33W wired charging is slow by today’s standards)
- Better speakers (the ones in the Nothing Phone 1 aren’t anything special)
- Maybe (just maybe) IP67 dust and water resistance (up from the IP53 splash protection on the Phone 1)
Of course, I left out the elephant in the room, which is the SoC that would power the Nothing Phone 2, so let’s take some time to talk about it…
“Premium but not too premium” Nothing Phone 2 needs a processor that’s “powerful but not too powerful”; Qualcomm is the obvious choice but MediaTek – the better one
NanoReview’s processor performance ranking shows the Dimensity 8200 might be the best chip on the market when it comes to value-performance ratio!
When it comes to the processor of the Nothing Phone 2 (an area where the Nothing Phone 1 lagged behind), I really do wish Pei & Co went for a MediaTek chip – specifically the Dimensity 8200 (expected to power the OnePlus Nord 3).The Dimensity 8200 might be the best SoC on the market right now, at least if we look at price-performance ratio, as processors like the Snapdragon 778G (Nothing Phone 1), Tensor/Tensor G2 (Pixel 6A, Pixel 7), Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 don’t come close to the Dimensity 8200 in CPU or GPU performance which affects everything you do on your phone (we’re talking a massive 50-60% difference).
MediaTek’s Dimensity 8200 is on par with “more premium” chips like the A15 Bionic, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and Exynos 2200 powering phones like the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22, and almost as strong as the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 found in phones like the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 4.
The ideal compromise here would be to get a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip inside the Nothing Phone 2, which despite being last year’s flagship chip, isn’t very far from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 when it comes to overall performance and efficiency (in case you’re wondering, the 8 Gen 2 is completely out of the question here as it’s too pricey).
In a nutshell, right now (emphasis on “right now”), the most likely candidates to power the Nothing Phone 2 are the unreleased Snapdragon 7 Gen 2 and the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Of course, the Dimensity 8200 is a very viable option, but that’s only if Nothing wants to optimize the Phone 2 for a different platform.
People needs more affordable (flagship-grade) phones and Nothing likes to Think Different (too); OK, Apple?
The current state of the smartphone market is telling us people have less cash to spare, so cheaper phones should be more apetizing than ever
If Carl Pei & Co manage to deliver a premium mid-range Nothing Phone 2 with the improvements mentioned above, as well as a powerful enough chipset that’s some 40-50% better than the Snapdragon 778G found in the Phone 1, and sell this phone for no more than $650, we might be looking at a legitimate Pixel 7, Pixel 8, OnePlus 11 competitor! On top of all, the Nothing Phone 2 will likely look far more special than those devices. In the end, let’s not forget the design wildcard – that’s Nothing’s “whole deal”, right?
As Pei said, the Nothing Phone 2 wouldn’t directly compete with the likes of the Pixel 8 Pro, iPhone 15, or Galaxy S23 series, which (if my prediction for the Phone 2 pans out) should be noticeably more expensive phones – whether you look at US prices or those overseas.
Again, the current state of the smartphone market is telling us people have less cash to spare, so cheaper phones should be more apetizing than ever, and here comes Nothing…