Since its inception, OnePlus has established a reputation of delighting its customers with flagship smartphones packed with the latest specs at a ridiculously unbelievable pricing. For today’s millennials that are dominant technology users, the OnePlus has a very native appeal with its clean build, and swift performance. Over the past five years, OnePlus has moved up, and up the price ladder. With the OnePlus Nord, OnePlus goes backs to its roots. The OnePlus Nord mostly checks all the specs that one needs.
The Nord is roughly the same size as the OnePlus 8, with curved edges and a lovely, ceramic-looking color on the back. In my case, it was what OnePlus calls a ‘Robin Egg Blue’. The all-screen display is attractive and modern. The display is flat, and unlike the premium curved ones that flagship Android phones have.
It has the same screen as the one that the OnePlus 8 sports: a 6.4-inch, 2,400-by-1,080 OLED panel. It very much encapsulates the same DNA, looks and specs that its elder siblings sport, with the exception of the processor. The Nord comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, and works well for those looking for a nifty, smooth, swift and responsive daily driver.
The speed and responsiveness of the 6.44-inch OLED panel on the OnePlus Nord comes from the 90Hz display refresh rate. The OS on the Nord is the same as the ones that the flagship phones from OnePlus have. This translates into a smooth and intuitive experience for users. The many meaningful customizations to the OS make the experience on Nord great.
That said, the chassis is made of plastic. The all-glass design is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 on both front and back, safeguarding the phone from scratches. Additionally, there is no water resistance rating. One needs to be careful, and not get the Nord wet.
The camera system on the Nord comprises of six cameras, including a 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP depth sensor and 2MP macro camera on the back. There is a 32MP main camera and 8MP ultra-wide selfie camera on the front.
While six cameras may make for good optics, the reality is that only two of those cameras the main front and back camera, are good and needed. The main rear camera is a 48MP Sony IMX f/1.8 lens, very much similar to the one in OnePlus 8 Pro. The 32MP camera also delivers good. However, the depth and macro cameras do not serve any purpose. In fact, I struggled with the macro camera and the depth-sensing was not really perfect. In fact, other brands have demonstrated that there is no need for such cameras.
A 4,115mAh battery powers the Nord. While this is reasonable for the price point, it is not really exceptional. The Nord easily lasts the day, and was able to cope with my routine of close to 10 hours of screentime, including work collaborations over Zoom and WhatsApp, consuming content on Twitter and YouTube, and checking emails.
There is no wireless charging, and the device hits 100% under an hour.
All said, the OnePlus Nord is an affordable smartphone that will attract those who covet the OnePlus brand.
The product itself is not perfect. Mind you, it ticks all the right specs (well, mostly), has a wide camera array system, and a big high refresh rate display. The battery life and the cameras just about pass the test. However, the saving grace is the display, overall performance and gaming experience on device.
For someone seeking an affordable OnePlus, these shortcomings and compromises may not mean much. An affordable smartphone may not tick all the features one would expect in a flagship phone.
The Nord is available in Grey Onyx and Marble Blue. It is a good, affordable phone that does mostly everything, but is not akin to a OnePlus flagship.