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Review of the Nothing Phone (2) in the UAE

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Nothing launched the new Phone (2) with much fanfare in Dubai a couple of weeks ago. We published a quick hands-on of the device on the launch day, as seen below:

I have been using the Nothing Phone (2) as my primary device for the past two weeks and in this review, I will talk about my overall impression of the premium iteration of the already successful Nothing Phone (1).

The Phone (2) builds upon the transparency of its predecessor. This cutting-edge device boasts significant improvements, including a better processor, enhanced main and selfie cameras, an upgraded battery, and an array of new Glyph functionalities. Aimed at premium phone buyers, the Phone (2) is priced at AED 2499 for the 12GB+256GB variant reviewed here. Nothing also offers a 12GB+512GB variant for AED 2799.

Left: Nothing Phone (1); Right: Nothing Phone (2)

With a sleek metal and glass finish and a transparent back design featuring rounded edges, the Phone (2) not only looks stunning but also offers a comfortable grip. Surprisingly, despite the transparent glass back, the phone is resistant to smudges and slips, providing a secure hold. The back showcases seven visible screws, a symmetrical whirlwind coil design, an LED flash, Nothing’s branding, and dual camera lenses. However, it is slightly heavier than its predecessor, weighing about 7.7 grams more.

Left: Nothing Phone (1); Right: Nothing Phone (2)

One of the standout features of the Phone (2) is its 11 customisable Glyph interfaces, now equipped with more LEDs for increased brightness. Users can assign personalised light and sound sequences to specific contacts and apps. Additionally, the phone serves as a progress tracker for rides or deliveries and offers other convenient functionalities, such as displaying charging progress.

Left: Nothing Phone (1); Right: Nothing Phone (2)

The placement of the power button on the right and volume rockers on the left ensures ease of use. The frame houses nine antenna lines, while the bottom contains the SIM tray, USB port, and mic. The Phone (2)’s display boasts thin bezels evenly distributed, providing ample space for content. The display is further protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

Left: Nothing Phone (1); Right: Nothing Phone (2)

The Phone (2) sports a 6.7-inch LTPO AMOLED panel, wider than that of Phone (1). With a pixel resolution of 2412-by-1080 and pixel density of 394 PPI, the display can achieve up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness outdoors and an impressive 1,600 nits in HDR mode. Its peak display performance rivals that of many smartphones in the market, showcasing more than 10 billion colours and offering an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz.

Whether under shade or direct sunlight, the Phone (2) excels in display performance. The vivid details enhance the viewing experience significantly, with HDR10+ support for content and games. However, one surprising omission is the lack of Dolby Vision support.

The standout enhancement lies in the chipset, as the Nothing Phone (2) now features the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, a substantial upgrade from the Snapdragon 778G+ found in its predecessor. This remarkable advancement elevates the Nothing Phone from the midrange category to the flagship league.

On the rear, the dual 50MP cameras bear a resemblance to those of the Nothing Phone (1), with wide and ultrawide lenses (including a macro option). However, official materials reveal that these cameras can now capture more data, thanks to the new ISP and advanced algorithms developed for this model. The 2x Super-Res Zoom feature is expected to benefit significantly from these improvements.

The Phone (2) also introduces a significant upgrade to its selfie camera, now featuring a 32MP resolution, doubling the capabilities of the Phone (1). Equipped with the Sony IMX615 sensor, the front camera performs admirably. In daylight conditions, it excels at capturing facial textures with precision, resulting in sharp and accurately coloured selfies. The front camera impressively delivers well-defined portraits with excellent background separation, ensuring a high-quality selfie experience.

The excellent quality of the cameras shows in the images we captured. Some of the samples can be seen below:

The larger screen and body of the Nothing Phone (2) have allowed for a slightly larger battery, boasting a capacity of 4,700mAh. Moreover, the wired charging capabilities have been enhanced, now supporting 45W charging compared to the previous 33W. The device still offers the convenience of 15W wireless charging and 5W reverse wireless options.

In addition to the visible upgrades, there is one final improvement that goes unnoticed by the naked eye. The ingress protection has been upgraded from IP53 to IP54, signifying that the Nothing Phone (2) can now withstand splashes of water for approximately 10 minutes, adding to its durability and reliability.

Left: Nothing Phone (1); Right: Nothing Phone (2)

Nothing’s primary mission has revolved around empowering users to take control of their phone usage, and the Phone (2) incorporates a blend of software and hardware adjustments to support this goal. On the hardware front, the focus is on glyphs, which have been further divided into additional sections, as mentioned before, enabling users to create personalised morse code-like combinations of blinks and bloops, using the Glyph Composer.

The practical Flip to Glyph feature is retained, allowing users to switch to using glyphs solely for notification alerts, muting other notifications. Additionally, a new feature called the “essential” Glyph has been introduced. With this feature, users can designate specific notifications as essential, and when such alerts arrive, a Glyph light remains illuminated to ensure users are aware. This proves useful when users wish to concentrate on their work but still want to be notified about important messages.

According to the latest update we received on the device, the Phone (2) runs on Nothing OS 2.0.1, built on the foundation of Android 13, offering a clean and streamlined experience. The all-new Nothing OS matrix theme is visually striking and immediately captures your attention. The monochrome layout further enhances the appeal, adding a unique touch to the dot matrix theme.

With the redesigned OS, you now have greater customisation options for widgets on both the home and lock screens, and they even have the ability to remove app labels, tailoring the interface to their liking. One of the standout features of Nothing OS is its bloatware-free approach, providing you with ample space and freedom to use your device as you wish. This more practical and minimalistic approach to the operating system ensures a seamless and clutter-free user experience on the Phone (2).

The Nothing Phone (2) stands out as an exceptional sequel and a compelling choice in an already crowded market. One of its unique features is the Glyph UI, providing a fresh and convenient way to stay informed about phone activities through expanded LED functionality, all without the need to glance at the screen.

The Nothing Phone (2) goes beyond hardware excellence, as its Nothing OS 2.0.1 is a true standout – clean, simple, and fast, providing a fluid and delightful user experience. If you seek a truly innovative device in an otherwise mundane market, look no further than the Nothing Phone (2).

Price: AED 2499

Photography by Ryan Chris

Nothing Phone (2) AED 2499
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

Aimed at premium phone buyers, the Phone (2) is priced at AED 2499 for the 12GB+256GB variant reviewed here. Nothing also offers a 12GB+512GB variant for AED 2799.

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Gadgets

Acer Launches Chromebox Mini

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As the digital landscape evolves, businesses are increasingly seeking ways to engage with audiences. Digital signage and interactive kiosks are at the forefront of this trend, with the market expected to reach $30.56 billion by 2028. Acer addresses this demand with mini-PCs designed for digital signage and kiosks. Their Chromebox Mini CXM1 is a secure and reliable mini-PC that can drive up to three displays simultaneously. It’s compact, silent, and features the latest connectivity options like Wi-Fi 6E and Gigabit Ethernet.

Powered by ChromeOS, the Chromebox Mini CXM1 offers fast deployment, automatic updates, and long-term support. Additionally, the cloud-based Google Admin console allows for remote management and customization. The Chromebox Mini CXM1 complements Acer’s existing line-up of digital signage solutions, including Large Format Displays (LFDs). Acer offers LFDs in various configurations, from high-resolution 4K displays to interactive whiteboards. These LFDs seamlessly integrate with the Chromebox Mini CXM1 using a VESA mounting kit.

Acer’s large format displays are designed for consistent performance and stunning clarity. They cater to various needs, including promotional signage, education, and corporate collaboration. With robust management tools and automated security, Acer displays require minimal maintenance, allowing businesses to focus on creating engaging content. Acer’s Chromebox Mini CXM1 and LFDs provide businesses with a comprehensive suite of tools for impactful advertising, information sharing, and customer interaction.

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Creator Tools

Sony Unveils Next-Gen ZV-E10 II Vlogging Camera with New Lens Kit

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Sony Middle East and Africa has launched the ZV-E10 II, the successor to their popular ZV-E10 vlogging camera. The new model builds on the strengths of the original while adding improved performance and features for content creators. The ZV-E10 II boasts a new 26-megapixel sensor and the latest BIONZ XR image processing engine for better image quality. Autofocus and video capturing have also been enhanced, with features like a new vertical format user interface and improved battery life.

The camera offers two key functions for creating professional-looking content: Creative Looks and Cinematic Vlog Setting. Creative Looks provides a variety of presets for different looks, while Cinematic Vlog Setting automatically adjusts settings for a cinematic feel.

Key Highlights:

  1. Upgraded 26MP Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ XR processor
  2. Improved autofocus and video capturing
  3. Cinematic Vlog Setting for Automatic Video Optimization
  4. Vertical shooting mode with a rotating user interface
  5. Upgraded battery for extended recording time
  6. Compact and lightweight design

The ZV-E10 II camera body will be available in selected countries from July 2024. Sony also announced the E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS II lens, a compact zoom lens ideal for the ZV-E10 II. This lens is lightweight, offers good image quality, and features built-in image stabilization. The E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS II will be available in black in selected countries from July 2024.

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Gadgets

CMF by Nothing Phone 1 Review: A Budget-Friendly Contender with a Twist

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In a market saturated with high-priced flagships, the CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a breath of fresh air. Priced at a staggeringly affordable AED 749 onwards, it aims to deliver a compelling user experience without breaking the bank.

Design
One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

However, “conventional” doesn’t equate to boring here. The phone comes in various vibrant, almost playful colours, reminiscent of the early days of mobile phones. This playful aesthetic extends to the unique selling point of the CMF Phone 1: swappable back covers.

The CMF Phone 1 allows users to easily unscrew the stock black back and replace it with other colours such as orange, blue, and light green. This injects a degree of personalisation often missing in today’s homogenised phone market. Build quality feels solid despite the plastic construction, and the phone boasts an IP52 rating for basic dust and water resistance. CMF by Nothing also offers a bunch of other accessories that sweeten the deal. There’s a card case that can take in three credit cards, a kickstand, and a lanyard.

Display and Performance
The CMF Phone 1 sports a large, 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. This translates to a vibrant viewing experience, with excellent contrast levels and sharp visuals for everyday use. Watching videos and scrolling through social media feels fluid and enjoyable.

Under the hood, the phone is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 chipset. While it won’t win any performance benchmarks, it offers sufficient processing power for most daily tasks such as browsing, social media, and light gaming. Multitasking feels smooth, and the phone rarely stumbles during regular use.

Software
The CMF Phone 1 runs Nothing OS 2.6, a near-stock Android experience with a minimalist aesthetic. This translates to a bloatware-free interface that prioritises user experience. The software feels clean and responsive, with subtle animations and a focus on functionality.

Notably, the playful design elements found in the Nothing Phone (2a)’s software, such as the Glyph interface, are absent here. This might disappoint some users who enjoyed the unique character of the Nothing brand. However, the focus on a clean and efficient experience remains a positive aspect.

Camera
The camera system of the CMF Phone 1 is a bit of a mixed bag. The main attraction is a 50MP Sony sensor backed by a depth sensor for portrait shots. In well-lit conditions, the camera captures decent photos with good detail and colour reproduction. Even in low light, the performance is pretty good with the night mode turned on.

The 16MP front-facing camera is adequate for video calls and casual selfies but won’t impress photography enthusiasts. Overall, the camera system is functional but falls short of what some users might expect, even at this price point.

Battery Life and Connectivity
The CMF Phone 1 packs a sizeable 5000mAh battery, which translates to excellent battery life. You can easily get through a full day of moderate use on a single charge and we were able to stretch it to two days on some occasions. The phone supports 33W wired charging, which helps top the battery up quickly when needed.

However, wireless charging is noticeably absent. In terms of connectivity, the phone offers standard options such as dual SIM support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Notably, it also boasts 5G capabilities, making it future-proof for next-generation networks.

The Verdict
The CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a compelling option for budget-conscious users who prioritise a clean software experience, vibrant display, and long battery life. The swappable back covers and the accessories add a unique touch of personalisation, while the overall design is refreshingly colourful and playful.

Ultimately, the CMF Phone 1 succeeds in its core mission: delivering a good user experience at an unbeatable price point. If you’re looking for a powerful flagship killer, look elsewhere. But if you prioritise everyday usability, clean software, and a touch of design flair without breaking the bank, the CMF Phone 1 is a strong contender.

Price: AED 749 onwards

CMF by Nothing Phone 1 AED 749 onwards
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

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