OnePlus Nord review: A great-value mid-range 5G smartphone Review

OnePlus has gone back again to its roots with the new OnePlus Nord, which aims to provide a blend of capabilities and efficiency at a reduced cost than you may count on. The Chinese corporation isn’t really abandoning the flagship handset sector, which it at the moment serves with the OnePlus 8 and 8 Professional but with a starting off cost of £379 (inc. VAT), the OnePlus Nord is incredibly substantially a mid-sector contender.

The Nord is a 5G-prepared twin-SIM handset that arrives in two variants. The entry-amount model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of inner storage expenses £379, whilst the prime-finish 12GB/256GB version expenses £469. OnePlus at the moment has no programs to launch the Nord in the US.

Equally the entrance and back again of the Nord are glass, and the back again arrives in two colours, Grey Onyx and Blue Marble. I was sent the prime-finish spec in blue for evaluate. This won’t have the type of multi-tone complete you may count on from the use of the phrase ‘marble’ — as an alternative, the complete is somewhat pearlescent. The blue color is substantially paler than you may believe, and incredibly exclusive.


The 6.44-inch OnePlus Nord is run by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 5G chipset with 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of inner storage. It expenses £379 for 8GB/128GB or £469 for 12GB/256GB. Revealed right here is the Blue Marble variant.

Visuals: OnePlus

The back again is fairly slippery and could easily slide off the arm of a chair or couch — it surely did on mine. It will need a wipe from time to time to get rid of fingerprints, but this is less of a dilemma than on some handsets. 

The back again of the handset has a tall lozenge in the prime still left corner housing the primary quad-digicam array. You can find a silver OnePlus logo in the center, and the corporation name is spelled out at the base for fantastic measure.

The sides are shiny and reflective, and badly color-matched to the back again, which mars the industrial design rather. Also, whilst the facet buttons are metallic, I suspect the sides them selves may be plastic.  

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It can be fantastic to see that OnePlus retains its notify slider on the appropriate edge. This permits you to rapidly flick among ring, vibrate and silent modes. The handset won’t have an IP score for water/dust resistance, and there is certainly no 3.5mm headset jack. You could be tempted by the OnePlus Buds — the 1st OnePlus correct wireless earbuds — which introduced along with the Nord and price tag £79.


The Nord sits easily in the hand, whilst the glass back again is rather slippery.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Nord is cozy to keep — not far too huge for my fingers and whilst tall, not unduly so. For the report, the handset’s proportions are 73.3mm huge by 158.3mm tall by 8.2mm thick, and it weighs 184g.

The 6.44-inch display screen is a flat AMOLED panel. Moving away from the curved panel applied on the OnePlus 8 and 8 Professional is a smart move as it will save production expenses. OnePlus has reached a nominal-bezel design, with a respectable display screen-to-entire body ratio of 86.two%. And whilst some could uncover the in-display screen entrance digicam lozenge in the prime still left corner frustrating, I failed to uncover it so. 

The display screen provides a obvious, sharp and readable impression with two,400-by-one,080 resolution (408ppi), and can be configured for a default 90Hz or 60Hz refresh fee. If you opt for 90Hz the handset will mechanically swap among 90Hz and 60Hz depending on the use scenario. I had no challenges observing video clip, reading web-sites, perusing e mail and social feeds with that self-toggling location.

I was pleased to see that OnePlus incorporates its Reading Manner on the Nord. This is aspect of its OxygenOS overlay for Android ten, and it sends the display screen into possibly mono or a chromatic color manner depending on your preference. It can be set to kick in when you launch precise apps, or can be toggled from the pull-down menu. I uncover it excellent for book reading periods.

Seem high-quality from the speaker isn’t really terrific. You can find plenty of quantity, but sound will become distorted as it receives louder. The speaker grille is very small, and gamers will need to be primarily very careful not to cover it, because if the grill is obscured, sound won’t just muffle — it all but disappears. 

OnePlus takes advantage of the very same 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor from the OnePlus 8 for the Nord’s main rear digicam, which has an f/one.seventy five huge-angle lens and OIS. The quad rear array is completed by an 8MP f/two.25 ultra-huge-angle (119°) digicam, a 2MP f/two.4 macro digicam and a 5MP f/two.4 depth sensor.

There are two entrance cameras: a 32MP f/two.45 Sony IMX616 (the highest resolution entrance digicam OnePlus has ever executed) and an 8MP f/two.45 ultra-huge-angle (105°) digicam to assist you cram far more into selfies. The back again and entrance cameras both shoot 4K video clip.

The primary rear digicam shoots its stills at 12MP resolution by default, with 48MB becoming an optional location. Even in 12MP manner I observed daily examination photographs — taken in the restricted time I have had this handset so significantly — to be extraordinary.

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free of charge PDF) (TechRepublic)

I have had combined accomplishment with the ‘Nightscape’ manner, which OnePlus says takes up to nine images, mixing them collectively to improve reduced-light-weight efficiency. It can be been tough to get out and about to examination this thoroughly in the course of the evaluate time period, but I have observed that it takes seconds to get all the photographs in the bag, and a continual hand is demanded to get a sharp impression. Even then, the high-quality appears to count on the selection of light-weight sources the digicam can attract on.

The OnePlus Oxygen OS overlay that sits on prime of Android ten provides several Android tweaks, but these are subtly blended in somewhat than obtrusive, so the blend of Android and Oxygen is near-seamless and incredibly user-welcoming. On my 256GB evaluate device, 25GB was applied by the Android/Oxygen combo, leaving me 231GB free of charge for my own material. There is no MicroSD card slot for introducing external storage.

The OnePlus Nord is run by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 5G chipset. I failed to recognize stumbles or stutters in the course of the evaluate time period, and benchmark efficiency was fantastic, averaging 620 (solitary main) and 1951 (multi main) under Geekbench five (comparative scores right here).

Battery lifestyle was affordable but not outstanding: the 4,115mAh battery managed 11 hrs 27 minutes on the Computer Mark rundown examination, and dropped seventeen% from a total demand when requested to stream total-display screen video clip consistently for a few hrs. The Nord supports the OnePlus Warp Demand 30T program, having the battery from zero to 70% in thirty minutes. You can find no aid for wireless charging. 

The Nord has the OnePlus clever demand program on board. This is created to glimpse just after battery health by preventing overcharging. So, if you are in the habit of placing your handset on demand overnight, an AI component learns when you begin to use it in the morning, stops the battery charging when it reaches 80%, and permits charging to total in time for your morning begin. Individuals with erratic snooze designs will never truly feel the advantage.


The OnePlus Nord in Grey Onyx.

Visuals: OnePlus


OnePlus has carried out a fantastic job with the Nord. The Blue Marble version has a exclusive physical appearance, a terrific AMOLED display screen and fantastic entrance and rear cameras. These are all vital variables whatever your finances. In addition it supports 5G and two SIMs, the Oxygen OS is refined but completed, the rapid charging performs a address, and the notify slider is something just about every handset maker should emulate.

On the downside, battery lifestyle is typical, sound high-quality isn’t really terrific, and the speaker is easily muffled when you keep the phone in landscape manner, to the stage of getting just a faint murmur. Still, as reasonably priced telephones go, the OnePlus Nord appears to have acquired the blend just about appropriate.

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