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Home / Features / Nothing Phone 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: the two smartphones compared

Nothing Phone 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: the two smartphones compared

Which premier phone is worth your money?

Nothing 2 vs Galaxy s23

When deciding between the Nothing Phone 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, it’s crucial to consider one key factor: how important is the “cool factor” to you? While both are some of the best smartphones around, the former boasts some unique features.

The Nothing Phone 2 has received impressively high ratings for what’s only the firm’s second stab at a smartphone, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra is comfortably Samsung’s top-rated flagship right now. Both are big, powerful handsets with multiple cameras, but one costs more than twice the other. Is the S23 Ultra really double the phone? Let’s compare the benefits and drawbacks of each to determine which is more suitable for you.


Nothing’s Phone 2 is a visually impressive device, thanks to that transparent back panel which hints at the phone’s inner workings. 2.5D curved glass on the back and skinnier bezels up front elevate it over the more affordable Phone 1, and the 6.7in display is a fair big bigger too. The glowing Glyph lighting only adds to its uniqueness, lighting up for incoming notifications and more. It’s safe to say that there’s nothing quite like the Phone 2 on the market.

The S23 Ultra, meanwhile, follows Samsung’s established (and more conventional) design. A metal frame, matte glass rear and a bulging array of camera lenses make it a real head-turner. It’s huge, too, at 6.8in, which leaves plenty of room inside to stash the signature S Pen digital stylus. The curved-edge display is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2.

Features & hardware

One of Phone 2’s standout features is its “glyph interface” lighting, composed of a customisable LED light grid. This interface displays various information, such as charging status, notifications, and volume control. Nothing has added extra features this time around, so it can now do countdown timers and show when your Uber will turn up.

Inside, Phone 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, paired to either 8 or 12GB of RAM. 128, 256, and 512GB storage options are available, with no microSD expansion. The 4700mAh battery supports 45W wired and 15W wireless charging, and is good for a full day of heavy use before you’ll need to plug it in. The wireless charging coil can also top up other gadgets, like true wireless earphones. It runs Android 13, with the NothingOS 2.0 interface on top. This monochrome UI adds a handful of useful homescreen widgets, and has more lock screen customisation than you’ll find from most rival Android phones.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra has the performance lead, with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy CPU. This Samsung-exclusive chip has been customised by Qualcomm to run a little quicker than the regular version, and it’s paired with either 8 or 12GB of RAM. 256GB, 512GB and 1TB storage tiers are on offer, depending on your budget. Samsung’s handset has a bigger battery (5000mAh) but is tied on charging speeds at 45W.

It launched with Android 13, with Samsung’s One UI 5.1 interface on top. It’s quite the visual overhaul, and adds plenty of extra features that major on multitasking and productivity. Most notably, the S Pen stylus can be used for navigation as well as note-taking, and split view lets you run two apps simultaneously.

Screen and sound

With a 6.7in OLED, the Nothing Phone 2 has a very tidy touchscreen. The 2412×1080 resolution is detailed without demanding too much from the CPU, and the 120Hz refresh rates guarantees smooth and seamless visuals. It’s officially rated for 1600 nits peak brightness, which is easily high enough for clear use under blazing sunshine, and will give HDR content plenty of depth. An always-on display option highlights the time, date, and notifications even when the phone is locked.

The Samsung goes much further upmarket, with a 6.8in, 3088×1440 AMOLED that produces rich colours and deep blacks. A density of 500 pixels per inch (PPI) means you won’t spot individual pixels without a microscope. The adaptive 120Hz refresh rates ensure smooth scrolling, and the 1750 nits peak brightness is even more retina-searing.

In terms of sound quality, Phone 2 has stereo speakers positioned at the top and bottom of the phone, tuned by Teenage Engineering and with Dolby Atmos support. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a similar setup and also supports Dolby’s spatial audio tech, with AKG providing the fine-tuning.


Nothing hasn’t mixed things up too much for Phone 2’s camera system, using a similar setup to the more affordable Phone 1. That means a 50MP, f/1.88 main shooter based around a Sony IMX890 sensor, with phase-detect autofocus and optical image stabilisation. While photos are downscaled to 12MP, you can toggle 50MP stills within the camera app.

It’s paired to a 50MP ultrawide secondary, which also has autofocus in order to double as a macro snapper. Up front, the 32MP, f/2.45 aperture selfie cam supports 1080p video recording. The rear cams can handle 4K recording at 60fps, and have a bunch of modes including slo-mo, time-lapse and action mode for stabilised clips. Nothing has improved its image processing algorithms compared to Phone 1, but it can’t quite match the nuance or colour control of Samsung’s phone.

The Galaxy S23 also has Phone 2 licked on hardware. The lead lens has a huge 200MP sensor, which uses 16-into-1 pixel binning for noise-free night time shots. There’s also a 12MP ultra-wide, and two 10MP telephoto lenses – one is set for 3x optical zoom and the other for 10x, with optical image stabilisation on hand to eliminate camera shake. Up front there’s a 40MP selfie camera, with f/2.2 aperture lens.


Your budget will almost certainly be the deciding factor when picking between the Phone 2 and Galaxy S23 Ultra. Nothing is the clear winner for those looking to keep costs down, starting from $599/£579 with 128GB of storage. The most affordable S23 Ultra costs a wince-inducing $1200/£1249, although you do get double the storage.

For a comparable Phone 2 with 256GB of storage, you’ll need to spend $699/£629.

Nothing Phone 2 vs Samsung S23 Ultra verdict

If you’re looking for a smartphone that will impress your mates but also save you some cash, the Nothing Phone 2 is definitely worth considering. It looks sharp, has a beautiful screen, is plenty powerful and that custom UI is genuinely among the best you’ll find on any Android phone.

However, a few factors might make the higher price of the Galaxy S23 Ultra worth it. Samsung’s model has a bigger, higher-res display, a larger capacity battery and a more potent processor. The S Pen delivers an easy win for productivity, and the cameras are a league ahead of Phone 2’s for both versatility and image quality.

Regardless, the Nothing Phone 2 shouldn’t be considered a bad choice, as its specs are still impressive — mainly because of its price.

Profile image of Bryan M. Wolfe Bryan M. Wolfe


Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including iMore, TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education.

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