OnePlus has been on a roll just lately with its inexpensive mid-range choices, which have persistently delivered strong specs for the worth even because the lustre of its flagships has arguably begun to wane.
I’m happy to report that the Nord CE 2 isn’t any exception. Sure, eagle-eyed trade watchers could word that that is in all probability only a re-packaged and re-branded spin on the Reno 7 5G from mum or dad firm Oppo (evaluating the spec sheets is an particularly difficult recreation of spot-the-difference), however for anybody really contemplating shopping for the cellphone this merely doesn’t matter.
On the finish of the day, the Nord CE 2 presents robust specs and a potent digital camera at a worth that’s exhausting to beat – and appears the half too.
Design and construct
Curved digital camera module design
Slim, gentle, and splash-proof
In case you’ve seen any of the latest Nord telephones, the Nord CE 2 will look… acquainted. The corporate has settled right into a rhythm right here in the case of tough dimension and form, which isn’t any unhealthy factor, although the design is a transparent step up from the unique Nord CE.
With a 6.43in show the CE 2 is nearly precisely the identical dimension as its predecessors, and bang on the common for a contemporary Android gadget. The corporate has nonetheless labored to maintain the cellphone skinny at 7.8mm, and lightweight at 173g, which hold it comfy within the hand.
It’s that gentle partially as a result of each the body and again of the cellphone are comprised of plastic, somewhat than metallic or glass. At this worth these supplies are typical sufficient although, and naturally a plastic again is extra sturdy than your common glass end.
It helps that OnePlus has labored to make that plastic look good. Out there in both Grey Mirror or Bahama Blue, the cellphone has a shimmering, clear high layer that then rises as much as curve spherical the principle digital camera. It’s harking back to the far more costly Oppo Discover X5 Professional, and strikes the fragile steadiness of wanting each uncommon and enticing.
There’s no IP ranking for mud or water-resistance, however OnePlus does declare the cellphone is splash-proof – so it’s high-quality within the rain, however possibly don’t use it within the bathtub too typically.
Lastly, in step with the opposite Nord units however not like OnePlus’s flagships, there’s no alert slider toggle on the cellphone’s facet – one of many distinctive OnePlus touches that I do miss right here.
Show and audio
Mid-sized display screen
3.5mm headphone jack
OnePlus has used the identical show in many of the latest Nord handsets, however for good cause.
The 6.43in AMOLED show right here presents a 90Hz refresh charge and nice color vary. It’s not a flagship-level display screen by any means, nevertheless it’s nonetheless one of many higher panels round this worth.
In some unspecified time in the future OnePlus must make the bounce to the sooner 120Hz refresh charge on these cheaper Nord telephones, however for now 90Hz feels high-quality. It nonetheless retains animations and scrolling quick and fluid, and in all honesty no-one besides aggressive avid gamers will actually see that a lot profit from a sooner refresh than this.
The display screen additionally comes coated in Gorilla Glass 5. Once more, that’s not the highest tier model, nevertheless it’s adequate to carry off most nicks and scratches, with a pre-applied display screen protector including one other layer of help.
Audio isn’t unhealthy both. There’s no signal of stereo audio system, however the output right here continues to be pretty punchy and crisp by smartphone requirements. The inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack doesn’t damage both, giving a better possibility for wired headphone use without having for a USB-C dongle.
Specs and efficiency
Some stuttering and gentle efficiency issues
Solely 128GB storage – however expandable through microSD
There’s no getting round the truth that the MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset contained in the Nord CE 2 isn’t any powerhouse, nevertheless it in all probability presents loads for the common consumer.
Over per week or two of utilizing the cellphone each day I’ve solely observed very occasional lag, freezing, or stuttering, principally when loading new apps or in heavy multitasking. There’s sufficient energy for first rate cellular gaming too, although this received’t hit the excessive graphics settings on extra demanding titles.
Within the UK and Europe OnePlus is just providing the cellphone with 8GB of RAM (which is the mannequin I’ve been testing), although in India there’s a less expensive model that drops to 6GB – although this can exacerbate the minor efficiency setbacks in multitasking.
Storage is mounted at 128GB both manner, but when that’s not sufficient then the corporate has included a microSD slot. Even higher, this comes alongside (somewhat than as an alternative of) the second SIM slot, which means you could possibly run two SIM playing cards and a microSD storage enlargement in case you felt the necessity.
These SIMs might be 5G in fact, and the cellphone additionally helps Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC – making it fairly absolutely featured in the case of connectivity.
Battery and charging
Full-day battery life
Quick 65W wired charging
No wi-fi charging
OnePlus has at all times been pleased with its battery and charging tech, so it’s no shock to see a wholesome 4500mAh battery included right here. I’ve discovered the cellphone can comfortably final a full day – even a reasonably intense day of utilization whereas travelling overseas – and would in all probability hit two full days for lighter customers.
65W wired charging will hold it topped up too. OnePlus claims it could ship a full cost in 32 minutes, and our testing exhibits it’s fairly shut – the cellphone hit 58% battery after a 15-minute cost, and 93% after half an hour.
As you’d anticipate given the worth, there’s no wi-fi charging in any respect.
Digicam and video
Spectacular daytime efficiency
High quality drops in low gentle
Common selfie digital camera
Digicam is without doubt one of the first compromises in cheaper telephones, and understandably OnePlus has stripped issues again somewhat right here in comparison with its premium telephones. Nonetheless, the digital camera will ship the products when the lighting circumstances are proper.
You get a 64Mp, f/1.Eight foremost shooter with digital picture stabilisation (EIS). In daytime or shiny indoor lighting this produces nice outcomes, with vivid color and loads of element. I’ve managed just a few photographs which can be genuinely fairly lovely, and infrequently felt I used to be lacking out by not having a costlier cellphone in my pocket.
Outcomes drop off in dim gentle, which is the place the bigger sensors and optical stabilisation of high-end telephones make the true distinction. Nonetheless, for easy photographs this does the job, and can solely actually drop the ball in critical darkness.
The 8Mp, f/2.2 ultrawide that comes alongside isn’t unhealthy – it lacks somewhat in dynamic vary and there’s a particular drop intimately, however it could nonetheless ship some first rate photographs in the proper lighting. A 2Mp macro digital camera rounds out the set – that is high-quality, however unremarkable.
On the entrance, the 16Mp, f/2.four selfie digital camera is the same story. In the proper lighting it really works nicely sufficient, although photographs are somewhat gentle. Portrait mode can ship a blurred bokeh background, however the edge detection wants work – blurring bits of hair whereas leaving spots within the background untouched.
You’ll be able to document 1080p video at as much as 120fps, or 4K at 30fps. Outcomes aren’t unhealthy, although with solely EIS included this received’t be the most effective digital camera for steady vlogging or the like.
Software program and updates
OxygenOS is enticing and simple to make use of
Ships with Android 11
Solely assured two updates
Software program is a little bit of a blended bag.
For one, the cellphone ships with Android 11 – somewhat than the more moderen Android 12 – with OnePlus’s personal OxygenOS pores and skin on high.
Anybody who follows telephones carefully will know that OxygenOS – as soon as the darling of the Android press – has now mixed codebases with Oppo’s ColorOS, sparking fears of a decline in high quality.
Aesthetically, little has modified, and the common consumer in all probability received’t discover the distinction. Customers of different latest OnePlus units have bemoaned a rise in bugs nonetheless, and I need to admit that each time the cellphone stuttered I questioned if the shift in programming was accountable.
OnePlus can be proudly boasting that the cellphone comes with two years of Android updates and a 3rd of safety patches. Because the cellphone has shipped with an older Android model, that sadly means it’s solely prone to obtain Android 13 – due later this yr – and by no means get a full Android model replace after that.
In equity to OnePlus, few different telephones at this worth provide a lot better ensures for software program help, nevertheless it nonetheless doesn’t really feel adequate. At a time when the (admittedly far more costly) Samsung Galaxy S22 collection guarantees updates by to Android 16 in 2025, and Apple’s newest iPhones will probably be up to date even longer, the OnePlus promise isn’t sufficient.
Value and availability
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is launching broadly throughout Europe, in addition to India, however is just not set to hit North America as issues stand. Take a look at our information to the place to purchase the Nord CE 2 for more information and the most recent offers.
Within the UK and Europe, the only 8+128GB model is accessible to pre-order now from OnePlus or Amazon for £299/€349, and can formally go on sale on 10 March.
In India, there’s a alternative of a 6+128GB mannequin for ₹23,999, together with the 8+128GB mannequin which prices ₹24,999. Each are in the stores now from OnePlus or Amazon.
The pricing places the Nord CE 2 into the decrease finish of what we at Tech Advisor think about a mid-range cellphone. Competitors right here is fierce OnePlus’s personal wonderful Nord 2 prices just a bit extra, whereas the Xiaomi Redmi Notice 10 Professional and Poco F3 additionally provide choices across the similar worth.
Take a look at our rating of the most effective mid-range telephones to see how all of them evaluate, or our decide of the most effective mid-range cellphone offers for even higher financial savings. We’ve additionally ranked the most effective OnePlus telephones if you wish to understand how the Nord CE 2 stacks up.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is a formidable inexpensive mid-ranger, with only some flaws. In reality, maybe its greatest problem is solely that spending solely somewhat extra would web you the even higher Nord 2.
Efficiency, battery, and charging all impress for the worth, and the design is slick sufficient to outgrow its humble plasticky origins.
The digital camera has its flaws, however is typical for the worth, with a foremost digital camera that’s good in the course of the day, and different lenses which can be no less than serviceable. The most important draw back is basically OnePlus’s lacklustre dedication to software program updates, which can probably see the cellphone out of updates by the top of subsequent yr.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G: Specs
Android 11 with Oxygen OS 11
6.43in Full HD+ (1080×2400) Fluid AMOLED, 20:9, 90Hz, HDR10+
MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor
128GB inside storage (UFS 2.2)
64Mp, f/1.Eight foremost, PDAF
8Mp, f/2.2 ultrawide
2Mp, f/2.four macro
16Mp, f/2.four selfie digital camera
Fingerprint scanner (in-screen)
Gorilla Glass 5
4500mAh non-removable battery
65W SuperVOOC wired charging
160.6 x 73.2 x 7.8mm