November 17, 2020
The OnePlus Nord represent an represents the emphatic return to budget-friendliness with one of the best-value 5G phones you can buy today.
It offers an almost-flagship experience, with a combo of style and features distilling blending premium design, great screen, enough power under the hood, fast charging, plenty capable cameras, all wrapped up in a package that cloaks its affordable price.
Design and Display
Over the years, OnePlus has rolled out a lot of attractive design with a visual identity that ties all of OnePlus’ phones together.
The OnePlus Nord has the same design accent as OnePlus flagships, with same premium build and finish as that on the OnePlus 8 series.
The slightly curved sturdy Gorilla Glass back is made of glossy finish rather than the matt frosted glass of its elder siblings and and metal, and a sprinking of plastic mid-frame having a chrome accent meant to mimic a metal-feel.
Its smooth glossy glass finish means it could be slippery at times and smudge-prone.
The most prominent feature on the back is a raised oblong-shaped quad-camera bump moved to the top left corner rather than central on OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. There’s also a an LED flash beside the bump, the OnePlus logo and the OnePlus branding.
Front-on, the Nord has a flat display making it the only OnePlus smartphone in 2020 to do so. This is followed by a 6.44-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ 1080 x 2400 resolution, 408ppi density, 20:9 aspect ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate in contrast to the cheaper Realme X50 5G with 120Hz display but it won’t be AMOLED.
The screen is interrupted by a pill-shaped punch-hole cut-out for dual selfie camera, which is the first from OnePlus to pack two cameras, also flaunting an in-display fingerprint scanner and it’s framed by minimal bezels with thick chin at the foot.
With 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm dimensions, it is roughly the same size with the OnePlus 8, about 1.9mm shorter, marginally wider, and 0.2mm thicker than it. It is also heavier at At 184g, it is heavier but the weight distribution is ideal, so you won’t necessarily feel the heft.
On the sides, the buttons are made out of metal, with the power button and always-welcome notification toggle on the right while the volume rocker is placed on the left.
At the bottom, there’s a centralized USB-C port flanked by a speaker grille and the dual SIM card port.
On the negatives, there’s no headphone jack, no wireless charging and no official IP rating for dust and water resistance.
But the company claims, the smartphone has been submerged into 30cm of water for 30 seconds and survived, but take caution.
It is available in two finishes, the classic “Grey Onyx” and the stunning “Blue Marble” variant.
The OnePlus Nord is OnePlus first smartphone with a total of six cameras, in contrast to the five cameras on OnePlus 8, a bit weird, I guess? But note, having plenty sensors doesn’t translate to better camera performance.
The four rear cameras is headlined by a 48MP Sony IMX586, the same as the OnePlus 8, with EIS and OIS image stabilization which by default capture 12MP detailed shot, not far off from Google Pixel 4 and 4a.
This is accompanied by a trio of other cameras, comprising of an 8MP, 119° ultra-wide-angle lens, 5MP depth sensor and finally a 2MP macro camera.
It comes with a bunch of shooting modes, including HDR, portrait, panorama, nightscape, super macro and videos slow-mo at 240fps and 4K recording at 30fps rather than 60fps.
To address this shortcoming, the front camera offers 4K recording at 60fps but it lacks autofocus.
Up front there’s a 32MP Sony IMX616 primary snapper accompanied by an 8MP wide-angle camera with 105° field-of-view for selfies.
Hardware and Software
The device like the cheaper Mi Note 10 Lite and Samsung Galaxy A51 5G, it offers an upper mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset with Octa-core SoC and Adreno 620 GPU.
The Nord breathes on OxygenOS 10.0 user interface with Android 10 underneath.
It comes in three variants comprising of 6GB/64GB model that’s exclusive to India, 8GB/128GB version, and a 12GB/256GB option. All three models featuring LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.1 storage rather than the latest LPDDR5 or UFS 3.0 tech.
Rounding out the connectivity, you get 5G support, a USB-C (2.0) port, WiFi, dual band GPS, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC.
The Nord’s 4115mAh battery lasts all day without any issues, even though it’s a little smaller than the OnePlus 8’s. Supported by Warp Charge 30T which will refill from 0 to 70% in just half an hour.
OnePlus Nord Pricing and Availability
The OnePlus Nord is priced at £379 / €399 / $480, AU$680 for the 8GB/128GB which comfortably beat the pricer Oppo Find X2 Lite at £399.
This translates to 186,679 Naira in Nigeria, 2,865 GHC in Ghana and about 53,320 KSH in Kenya.
The OnePlus Nord was announced on July 21, 2020, and was available for purchase on August 4th, 2020.