OnePlus made its identify undercutting flagship telephones, however over time the model slowly grew to become precisely what it had initially set its stall towards. I liked the OnePlus Eight Professional, however – like many others – famous that it’s a flagship by way of and thru, with the worth to match.
Enter the OnePlus Nord. A lot has been product of the corporate’s return to the mid-range market – even Apple couldn’t generate this a lot hype round an inexpensive cellphone when it launched the iPhone SE – and it’s honest to say that expectations have been excessive.
So has OnePlus executed it once more? Effectively let’s put it this manner: I moved from the OnePlus Eight Professional to the Nord for this assessment, and regardless that that cellphone prices greater than twice as a lot, I’m in no rush to return.
The infamous flagship killer has killed once more.
Design and construct – Seems to be the half
The most effective factor I can say in regards to the design of the Nord is that completely everyone I’ve proven it to has been shocked after I inform them it prices simply £379.
The Nord seems to be and feels similar to another OnePlus cellphone – which is saying one thing, provided that OnePlus’s flagships are among the many finest designed on the market. It runs somewhat smaller, however not by a lot – I really want they’d shrunk it down additional, however OnePlus doesn’t actually make small telephones.
Obtainable in two finishes – Blue Marble and Gray Onyx – the Nord seems to be totally different to the flagships, however no much less polished. There’s a shinier end, quite than the matt frosted glass of its huge brothers, however that makes it look totally different – not worse. Anticipate fingerprints although.
The rear digicam module has moved to the nook, however in any other case issues look very similar to the corporate’s flagships. You get the identical controls: energy button, quantity rocker, and the always-welcome notification toggle, nonetheless uncommon on Android telephones.
OnePlus has basically made two concessions to cost right here. The primary is the body, which is plastic quite than the steel of the flagships. I’ll be sincere, I didn’t even discover this till it was identified to me, and if I hadn’t simply informed you I think you wouldn’t have seen both. It might have some influence on the cellphone’s sturdiness in fact, however the Gorilla Glass 5 end on the rear & display ought to assist considerably.
The larger change is the transfer to a flat show. That is actually a matter of style, and I do know loads of individuals who want a flat display to a curved one, so it’s onerous to chalk this up as a lot of a downgrade both.
There’s additionally no official waterproof score for the cellphone, however OnePlus does declare that it’s going to survive being submerged for as much as 30 seconds in 30cm of water, which is longer than I ever intend to maintain it underwater. I’ll admit I haven’t dared check that declare myself although.
Lastly, as per standard there is no headphone jack. There’s additionally solely mono sound by way of the audio system, however that is par for the course at this value.
Show – Curves are overrated
Let’s discuss that show. At 6.44in it’s a contact smaller than the OnePlus 8, however it’s roughly comparable. Meaning it’s nonetheless a reasonably sizable display, although the 20:9 facet ratio and slim bezels hold it usable.
The core specs are onerous to complain about: FHD+ (2400×1080) with a pixel density of 408ppi, a 90Hz refresh price, and AMOLED as well. To be blunt, this can be a higher display than some flagships are transport with – I’m taking a look at you, LG Velvet – and is sort of probably the perfect you’ll discover wherever close to this value.
Sure, you may get a 120Hz refresh price display for much less within the Realme X50 5G, however it received’t be AMOLED. Few individuals will discover or respect the leap from 90Hz to 120Hz, however the color depth, brightness, and accuracy of AMOLED is instantly obvious. OnePlus has made the fitting compromises right here.
Specs – The velocity you want
Talking of creating the fitting compromises, the most important downgrade the Nord will get is in its chipset – and it actually doesn’t matter in any respect.
The Nord makes use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G chip, which brings with it the identical 5G help you’ll discover on flagships – although no Wi-Fi 6, sadly. OnePlus pairs it with both 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or a souped up mannequin with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage – the one I’ve been testing.
Sure, there’s a efficiency hole between the 765G and the flagship 865, and it seems to be stark in benchmarking comparisons to the OnePlus 8. However until you’re enjoying absolutely the most demanding cellular video games round, you merely is not going to discover whilst you’re really utilizing the cellphone.
The Nord is simply as quick, responsive, and dependable as any cellphone you should buy proper now for day-to-day utilization, and can outpace many at this value.
Digital camera – Received it the place it counts
If there’s one space the place the Nord’s price range limitations present by way of, it’s within the digicam. Not as a result of it’s dangerous, however as a result of it’s a decidedly blended bag.
First up, the primary lens is a 48Mp, f/1.75 shooter utilizing the favored Sony IMX586 sensor – the identical sensor OnePlus has utilized in telephones for the reason that 7 Professional, although this 12 months’s Eight Professional upgraded to the extra spectacular IMX689.
This principal lens is the place the Nord shines. OnePlus has had the good thing about the perfect a part of two years optimising its software program for this particular sensor, and the outcomes converse for themselves. This received’t fairly match a Pixel – and even the equally priced iPhone SE – for sheer point-and-shoot efficiency, however it’s fairly darn shut.
Colors are shiny and correct, publicity is even, and there’s each element in distinction in spades. Particularly when you issue within the value, this digicam is a transparent winner.
As for video, it will deal with 4K footage at 30fps – disappointingly not at 60fps, although the selfie digicam will – with OIS and EIS to maintain issues regular.
Issues get somewhat murkier as soon as you progress to different lenses and capturing modes nevertheless. The 8Mp, f/2.25 wide-angle inevitably loses some element, however greater than that the color steadiness and distinction are off. Photographs expose darker than by way of the primary lens, with further shadow consuming up that element much more. The outcomes aren’t dangerous, however they aren’t nice both.
These two lenses are bolstered by a depth sensor to assist with portrait photographs, and a 2Mp macro digicam that’s clearly solely right here to make up the numbers. Like most low-megapixel macro cameras, that is completely horrible, with low element, terrible publicity, and de-saturated color. There isn’t a conceivable circumstance by which you’d ever wish to use this digicam, however the excellent news is that you simply don’t must: take a shot with the primary lens, crop in, and you may get a implausible close-up shot that approach.
Low gentle photographs are first rate, however nothing to jot down residence about – I think the 765G is barely displaying its limitations right here. Nonetheless, my check photographs have been taken in close to whole darkness and the cellphone nonetheless managed to select colors spectacularly properly, even when superb particulars are lacking. Actual low gentle photographs exterior at evening or in dim bars ought to come out a lot better.
Lastly, the entrance. In an surprising twist you get two selfie cameras right here, a development that I assumed had died out. Along with a 32Mp principal lens you get an 8Mp ultrawide for group photographs – each f/2.45. Unsurprisingly the primary shooter wins on element and exposes for highlights somewhat higher, however I’m really impressed with the outcomes out of each lenses – this can be a nice digicam for selfie photographs.
Battery – Constructed to final
Battery life and charging velocity have lengthy been among the many stronger parts of OnePlus telephones, and the Nord is not any exception.
The 4,115mAh simply lasts a day’s use with room to spare, although it received’t fairly make it all through the following one.
That’s alright although, because the Warp Cost 30T quick charging was sufficient to prime the battery up by 68% in half an hour in my testing – which is mainly sufficient to final the day, when push involves shove.
There’s no wi-fi charging, however at this value the iPhone SE is just about the one cellphone on the market that does embrace the characteristic, in order that’s no actual shock.
Software program – Oxygen yet again
The Nord ships with Android 10, and runs the identical Oxygen OS 10.5 software program as the corporate’s different telephones.
When you haven’t used a OnePlus cellphone earlier than, Oxygen is arguably the perfect Android pores and skin round proper now. It’s clear and easy to make use of, however filled with customisation choices if you’d like them, together with just a few customized options just like the distraction-free Zen Mode and the Fnatic-sponsored gaming mode.
Disappointingly OnePlus nonetheless hasn’t added an always-on show to its OS, however the firm assures followers than one is on the best way, and it needs to be added inside the subsequent 12 months.
OnePlus has really stripped Oxygen again each so barely for the Nord by transport the cellphone with Google’s Messages and Cellphone apps, quite than OnePlus’s personal counterparts. It’s a small contact that avoids duplication and provides customers entry to options like RCS messaging.
There’s one ultimate space the place the Nord beats most of its Android rivals: updates. OnePlus is promising two years of software program updates and a 3rd 12 months of safety patches for the Nord, which is the type of dedication you’ll wrestle to search out exterior of Apple. It’s a promise that should you get a Nord, it ought to persist with you for not less than two years if you’d like it to.
Worth and availability
The OnePlus Nord is on the market to pre-order now, earlier than a full launch in Europe and India on Four August. You possibly can order it now immediately from OnePlus, or from Amazon or John Lewis, although it should even be obtainable from Three from August. There are presently no plans for a US launch, although that will change sooner or later.
The bottom mannequin – with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage – prices simply £379, leaping as much as £469 for the 12GB/256GB mannequin. That’s £220 beneath the £599 beginning value for the OnePlus 8, and fewer than half the £799 OnePlus Eight Professional.
It’s additionally impressively aggressive inside the wider market. Specs are much like the £399 Oppo Discover X2 Lite, however the Nord seems to be higher and comfortably beats the Oppo on show high quality.
The Realme X3 SuperZoom provides a stronger digicam setup and sooner processor, however you’ll must pay an additional £100 for the privilege, whereas comparable specs from the likes of Samsung or LG would price a number of hundred extra. Even the iPhone SE prices extra at £419, and that solely will get you 64GB of storage.
Take a look at our full mid-range cellphone chart for extra options, or our choose of the perfect OnePlus Nord offers to see if yow will discover it even cheaper.
The OnePlus Nord is the perfect mid-range cellphone on the earth proper now. It seems to be and looks like a cellphone twice its value, with a show and principal digicam lens to match.
The 765G processor greater than holds its personal, and all the digicam lenses are strong besides the forgettable macro shooter.
Extra importantly, you received’t discover higher at this value, or a greater choice of the precedence options for many customers on a price range, with luxuries like wi-fi charging or an OTT 120Hz refresh price ditched in favour of a deal with the basics.
The Nord can be a very good purchase at £100 extra – at this value, it’s a steal.
OnePlus Nord: Specs
Android 10 with Oxygen OS 10.5
6.44in Full HD+ (1080×2400) Fluid AMOLED Plus, 20:9, 90Hz, HDR10+
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-core processor
8/12GB RAM (DDR4)
128/256GB inside storage (UFS 3.0)
48Mp principal, PDAF, OIS
5Mp depth sensor
32Mp selfie digicam
8Mp ultrawide selfie digicam
Fingerprint scanner (in-screen)
11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
4115mAh non-removable battery
Warp Cost 30T (30W)
158x 73 x 8.2mm