Sometimes you just have to break the rules and go for it. I attended Nothing’s New York City product launch last week and got my hands on the Nothing Ear 2s and the Nothing Phone 2. Now, I’m a longtime Verizon customer, which seemed like a huge hurdle to testing this phone and its flashy glyphs. At one point, Nothing mentioned “limited” support for Verizon on its website, but the company has since dropped the carrier altogether from its tech specs — never a good sign.
But as far as I’ve been able to find out, as long as you have an active SIM card that was already in another Verizon-certified phone, you can throw it into the Nothing Phone 2 and continue without any immediate headaches. When I tried doing this, the phone’s cellular data turned on, calls and texts worked fine (including RCS messages), and so far I’ve avoided any hangups. The automated SMS reprimanding me for using an unauthorized device never came.
During the week or so of trying the Phone 2 as my full-time device, I noticed the network indicator showing 4G, 4G Plus, 5G and 5G Ultra Wideband. Even the VoLTE (voice over LTE) icon is present almost at all times. I’m a little unclear on what 4G Plus translates to in Verizon parlance; maybe it’s LTE Advanced, or maybe the phone is just messing around with the network it’s on. But she’s rolling with the punches either way. I’ve traveled through Manhattan and Brooklyn with no noticeable service interruptions so far. But this is NYC we’re talking about; 5G, as overwhelming as it often is, can be found everywhere.
The experience can be a little more unpredictable elsewhere. And in the case of the Nothing Phone 2, that’s because it completely lacks support for Band 13. This frequency band is pretty vital to Verizon’s 4G LTE network. For much of the country, it is essential. So if you’re far from a crowded city or suburb and start to drift away from 5G coverage, you’re likely to start hitting some pain points and losing signal — which is why Verizon is unlikely to fully certify the latest Nothing phone.
I think there just might not be rules
I’m a tech reviewer and usually have several different phones at my disposal. So I’m not spending my time putting Nothing’s $599 phone through its paces around town. But if I were to drive seven hours upstate to visit my dad in New York’s North Country, there’s no way I’d gamble and keep my SIM on this thing.
Do I consider the glyph system to be cheating? For the most part, yes. I have the top right LED set to Messages, and it’s definitely nice to know when I’ve received a message if my phone is back. Outside of the lights and network limitations, I’m a fan of this phone overall. The Phone 2 manages what I would consider excellent battery life, has a very nice and vibrant display – I’m tearing about screens, people — and I love the software changes that Nothing has made.
Being able to make quick settings changes right on the lock screen is surprisingly useful. I’m running pretty basic at the moment and I’m sure I can do more, but so far so good. The Phone 2 hums along and I barely noticed a single hiccup during my time with it. And the footage I’m getting from the camera is satisfactory more often than not.
All of this is to say that if you have Verizon and are curious about giving the Phone 2 a shot, it’s possible. You will receive your messages and calls. Data works pretty well. But you don’t have to DEPENDING on the device of Nothing in this scenario. Outside of 5G coverage areas, you’re unlikely to get as strong a signal as you would on other phones that support Verizon’s full range of bands. So, keep another certified phone nearby if you decide to buy this new gadget.