OnePlus Nord is a $ 400 Android phone that asks you to reconsider whether you need to spend twice or three times your flagship cost.
If Google did so, the phone name could be “Google Nexus 2020”. It’s the same great idea reborn in many ways, from a clean version of Android to fast performance.
First, the size: Nord is not too big, but not too small. In fact, it’s a little narrower than most other XL phones, making it easier to grasp. The back is glass, but the sides are plastic. Right after unpacking, I threw it away and a small piece of plastic tore off, but to be honest, it’s good plastic and I don’t mind at all, in addition, it helps in receiving the signal.
The buttons are very neat and feel nice, which is important to me. The power button is on the right and the volume buttons are on the left, and then you also have a three-way mute on the right, which is another OnePlus touch that adds so much convenience. However, there is no headphone jack. I miss that, but while wireless headphones are much cheaper these days, I don’t think it’s a huge problem.
Not only beautiful colors are a killer feature here: the screen also supports the 90 Hz refresh rate option. The battery discharges slightly faster than the traditional 60 Hz refresh rate (you can return to this in the display settings), but we recommend that you leave the 90 Hz option on, as this significantly affects the smooth running of the phone.
Performance and interface
OnePlus Nord contains 4 beautiful animated live wallpapers
Instead of the flag chip, OnePlus Nord comes with a Snapdragon 765G processor. Even after using the phone for a long time, I noticed a difference. Yes, the occasional mild stuttering every once a month of the month, but whatever it’s worth, the phone runs as smoothly and quickly as the flagship phone.
I played a few rounds of Call of Duty Mobile and ran as smoothly as most of the flagships I tested without any problems. Note that the comparison score on this phone is actually lower than that of the competition, but in real life you will hardly notice any difference.
I should also mention that OnePlus Nord comes with the Android 10 out of the box in a form that is quite close to stock, clean looking system. By no means is it in stock for Android: OnePlus is proud of the many enhancements it has made to experience, from hundreds of small enhancements that improve system performance to other features. My favorites are the new live wallpapers that are animated so smoothly and nicely. You can only say that OnePlus sweats this data like no other company. And you can see this improvement throughout the interface.
Biometrics and haptics
Then I had other big worries: haptics. Vibrational feedback is usually very weak and weak on mid-range phones. I was almost sure that the OnePlus had a corner, but again, no, this phone has a very nice engine with sharp vibrations similar to that on flagship phones. You feel it most when writing and receiving notifications with a nice short report.
There are four on the front of the camera and two on the front. However, two of the rear cameras don’t really count: one is a macro lens that’s honestly close to nothing – the photos look muddy and lack detail, and you’re simply better with the main camera – and the other is a depth sensor. So there are two cameras left that you can actually use: the first is a 48-megapixel main shooter and the second is an ultra-wide 8MP camera.
The four cameras on the back are as follows:
- 48MP main camera Sony IMX 586 with OIS
- Ultra-wide camera with 8 MP resolution
- 2MP macro camera
- 5MP depth sensor
When it comes to selfie shooters, Nord has:
- 32MP main camera
- Ultra-wide camera with 8 MP resolution
Here’s the solution: it’s a good camera system, but not quite great. Why? Well, it’s mainly because of the colors. They look muted and a little boring, with a little pinkish tones for all shots. It’s not bad, just not quite great right from the gate. For example, the iPhone SE captures more vivid images, which in most cases look better, but then lacks an ultra-wide camera and several accessories, such as night mode.
Extremely wide camera
2x digital zoom
You have a wide-angle camera at the front and then an ultra-wide-angle camera. The extremely wide fits easily for a whole group of people, so you don’t have to carry a selfie stick, it’s a super sleek feature.
Wide Selfie with 32MP main camera
Extremely wide Selfie with 8MP secondary front cam
You can also record video with a video resolution of up to 4 KB. The quality you get is good, but again you’ll notice that the amount of distinct detail is not as good as on more expensive phones, and in the shots below, my white T-shirt was too bright and burned out. You have a separate “Super Stable” mode, which will also create this gimbal-like stabilization. The only thing you can’t do in a video is zoom out the ultra-wide camera if you started recording with the main camera. You can use an ultra-wide lens on a video, but you must select it before playing the video, and you can’t zoom in while using it. Here is a quick example of quality:
This phone makes one compromise: the speaker. It’s just one speaker located on the bottom of the phone and I thought I wouldn’t mind too much, but the reality is.
If you’re like me, you’re used to dual speakers on flag phones, they lack punch and clarity, it sounds average. In addition, it is so easy to mute the sound with your hands when watching videos or playing games. If you’re used to playing music or videos on YouTube without headphones, the quality and difficulty of muting the speakers will be annoying. However, the speaker becomes quite loud, so it’s a plus.
OnePlus Nord has a battery with a capacity of 4,115 mAh and in my experience the battery life was fine. I used the phone almost exclusively at a frequency of 90 Hz, thanks to which everything is so smoother in operation and the battery lasts all day of use, but no more. If you play a lot of games or have a habit of social media, you need to recharge before the end of the day. Thank goodness for a quick charge. Nord supports the same 30 W charging speeds as OnePlus phones, and unlike other brands, fast charging remains fast even if you use the phone while charging. You won’t get wireless charging, but with the fast charging available to me, I definitely don’t miss it very much.
This review will be updated shortly with the results of our battery tests.
And what about 5G? The phone supports 5G for markets where it is available. It doesn’t support these super fast mmWave 5G speeds, but honestly, these are available in so few places, it doesn’t matter. It supports low-band and mid-band 5G, the kind already available and the one that really matters. If you are in the US, where Nord is not officially available and you are trying to import it, you should know that a few irrelevant American bands are missing. You still get 4G LTE, but at lower speeds than other phones made for the US market.
So … it’s time to draw the proverbial line in the sand. Is OnePlus Nord good enough? And is he a “flag killer”?
So if you’re not behind the best camera, and if you care about a longer zoom range, you should consider OnePlus Nord completely. It does 90% of what a flagship does, but for a fraction of the price.
iPhone SE (2020)
If the iOS is more to your liking, the iPhone SE offers impressive camera quality and first-class performance at a slightly higher price. The downside is that it has an outdated design and lacks a wide angle and macro camera. The headphone jack is also missing.