The OnePlus Nord CE represents an emphatic return to the mix of favor, features, and affordability that made the brand stand out when it arrived on the smartphone scene in 2014 with the OnePlus One.
It offers an almost-flagship experience, at a comfortably cheaper price tag than the OnePlus 8 series, blending premium design, slick performance, and great cameras for a heady mixture of smartphone satisfaction.
The phone comes into being a replacement line of handsets from OnePlus, with the Nord N10 5G bringing its features to a fair cheaper price point, and a Nord 2 rumored to get on the horizon too.
The difference between 2014 and 2020 however, is that the market has moved on significantly, and OnePlus isn’t any longer the challenger brand looking to upset the apple cart. The OnePlus Nord CE finds itself during a crowded mid-market full of equally feature-rich devices, making it tougher for the phone to square out.
With rival devices like the Google Pixel 4a, Poco F2 Pro, Realme X50 5G, Moto G 5G Plus, and Mi Note 10 Lite, there’s never been a more robust time to be within the marketplace for an inexpensive flagship device – and it makes the Nord’s job that much harder.
The OnePlus Nord CE price is eye-catching though, and also the handset offers plenty for your money. OnePlus says the Nord is “pretty much everything you’ll ask for”, and it’s got to some extent.
There’s a sizable display offering a smooth user experience, enough power under the hood, and many cameras, all bound up during a premium design. it’s good, it feels good within the hand, and it performs superbly.
With such a big amount of cameras – OnePlus has possibly gone a touch over the highest here – you get a large range of photography options from portrait and macro to ultra-wide and nightscape modes, plus 4K video at 30fps with both the front and rear cameras. There’s also up to a 10x zoom, plus slow-motion video at 1080p and 240fps.
Here are the points we are going to cover for Oneplus Nord CE 5G Review:
OnePlus Nord CE price and availability:
The OnePlus Nord price starts at £379 / €399 (around $480, AU$680), a competitive price point that undercuts rival phones from Apple, Google, and Samsung.
That’s for the 8GB of RAM / 128GB storage model, with the 12GB / 256GB OnePlus Nord price coming it at a still-affordable £469 / €499 (around $590, AU$850).
Those prices mean the OnePlus Nord is cheaper than the new iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy A51 5G, Mi Note 10, LG Velvet, and Motorola Edge.
The Realme X50 5G and Mi Note 10 Lite are cheaper than the Nord, and both those phones include the identical Snapdragon 765G chip, but make some small compromises in other areas to realize their lower prices.
It also means the OnePlus Nord CE price is significantly under the OnePlus 8, which launched at £599 / $699 (around AU$1,100). The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, launched after the Nord, costs £329 (around $430 / AU$595), and also the Nord N100 is even cheaper.
The OnePlus Nord CE is on the market within the UK and 27 other European countries, plus India, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
The OnePlus Nord CE release date was June 10, 2021. within the UK the OnePlus Nord CE is accessible from the OnePlus website, John Lewis, Three, and Amazon
OnePlus Nord CE Design:
The OnePlus Nord CE measures 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm and tips the scales at 184g, which suggests it’s shorter than the OnePlus 8 but ever slightly wider, thicker, and heavier.
Its smooth glass finish means there’s little within the way of natural grip, and that we found that the Nord CE might be slippery sometimes.
The good news for people who are a bit more clumsy, or who prefer to sling their smartphone into a bag, is that there is a slimline silicone case included within the box. this provides you some instant grip, plus protection against small knocks and drops.
The power/lock key on the correct falls nicely under your thumb or finger and sits slightly below OnePlus’ now-familiar alert slider, which helps you to quickly switch between silent, vibrate, and loud modes.
The volume rocker sits on the alternative side, while on the bottom you will find a centralized USB-C port flanked by a speaker and therefore the dual SIM card port; there is not any headphone jack on the OnePlus Nord, however.
That down-firing speaker is that the only external audio output on the Nord CE, there aren’t any stereo speakers here – and that we found it may be easily covered when holding the phone in landscape. This ends up muffling the sound, which may be troublesome when watching videos or playing games.
The phone is out there in two colors, and while the grey Onyx finish is comparatively run-of-the-mill, the second option is probably going to be more appealing – it’s called Blue Marble, and it certainly makes a press release, as you’ll be able to see in our pictures.
OnePlus says the Nord does have water resistance, but it doesn’t carry a politician IP rating, which might guarantee its dust- and water-repelling abilities.
It’s one in all the ways OnePlus has kept the worth of the Nord down, and while it claims the handset has been plunged into 30cm of water for half-hour and survived, you would possibly want to be a bit careful.
Round the back, the most feature is that the large, oblong camera bump that houses the OnePlus Nord’s four rear cameras. this is often raised by a pair of millimeters from the rear of the handset, as on the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, but unlike on its more premium siblings, the camera block is within the left corner, instead of central.
It means when placed screen-up on a surface the Nord doesn’t sit flush with the surface, and thanks to the slight protrusion in one corner it wobbles once you tap the display. It also doesn’t want it to do the camera glass any good, although applying the in-box case does alleviate the difficulty.
OnePlus Nord CE Display:
The OnePlus Nord CE features a 6.44-inch AMOLED display with a 20:9 ratio, Full HD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution, and a 90Hz refresh rate for fluid scrolling performance. The screen fills the front of the handset, with minimal bezels – the thickest one is at the foot of the display. the sole interruption to the screen is that the punch-hole cutout within the top-left corner housing the twin selfie cameras.
These cameras don’t tend to urge within the way, but they are doing limit the number of notification icons that may be displayed within the top bar, which can irk some users.
The Nord CE comes with a factory-fitted screen protector to administer you some additional protection against scratches. Those with a watch for uniform design might not take care of the extra ridge this creates around the screen and camera punch-hole, and it will be easily peeled off if you do not just like the look or feel.
The display is bright and clear, but unlike the screens, on the 8-series phones, the Nord’s is flat, instead of having curved edges which spill over the perimeters of the phone. Without these curves to the front edges of the handset, the Nord does feel barely chunkier within the hand.
There’s HDR10+ support included too, so if you stream content from services like Netflix or Prime Video, or watch your own HDR video content, it’ll look good on the Nord’s display.
When you’re watching the video, the section of the screen where the notification bar resides isn’t used, to stop the selfie camera punch-hole from moving into the way.
Watching movies and television shows may be a pleasant experience, but the colours don’t appear to be as rich as on some handsets. the marginally muted tones are more natural, but they don’t seem to be as visually arresting as displays that pack a more colorful punch.
A fingerprint scanner is embedded within the screen, allowing you to register your prints for security. The scanner works reasonably well, and allows you to register multiple points – we’d suggest both thumbs and forefingers – although it isn’t the quickest sensor we’ve used.
One way to hurry up the unlocking process on the OnePlus Nord CE is to pair the fingerprint recognition with face unlock. The Nord can combine both biometric security measures simultaneously after you come to unlock, and it can produce a faster result.
OnePlus Nord CE Camera:
The headline feature of the OnePlus Nord CE is its ‘flagship’ camera setup. There are a complete of six cameras on the handset, four on the rear and two on the front, the foremost OnePlus has ever placed on a smartphone.
The main camera on the rear is indeed borrowed from a flagship phone – the OnePlus 8. it is a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor (with EIS and OIS image stabilization) teamed with an f/1.57 lens, which may take 48MP images, although by default it’s set to 12MP.
This is because the 48MP images are around thrice the dimensions of the 12MP shots, which suggests your storage would replenish lots quicker if every shot you took was at the upper resolution.
You’ll find that 12MP is mostly adequate for social posting, and therefore the 48MP mode is best if you’re planning on printing the image out, or making detailed enhancements thereto in an exceeding photo editor.
That’s in the middle of a trio of other cameras, comprising a 5MP depth sensor, 2MP macro camera, and an 8MP, 119-degree ultra-wide-angle snapper for those sprawling landscape shots.
There’s a bunch of shooting modes, including portrait, nightscape, super macro, and pro, plus Full HD, slow-motion video capture at 240fps, and 4K recording at 30fps.
The main rear camera could be a capable shooter and performs well in good light both indoors and out. The default 12MP images it captures have a decent level of detail, and also the auto HDR helps to forestall images appearing too dark or overexposed.
You have the choice of a 2x zoom via an icon on the screen – give this a faucet and you may be brought closer to your subject with minimal loss in image quality. It works well outside, but zoomed shots indoors can appear a bit grainy and dark if the lighting isn’t perfect.
OnePlus Nord CE Battery life:
The OnePlus Nord CE comes with a 4,115mAh battery, which may be a reasonable size and can provide you with each day of standard use from fully charged. Battery life overall is suitable, but it can be better.
The Nord lasts longer than the new iPhone SE, about the identical because of the iPhone XR, but not as long because of the OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro.
With general use, including four to 5 hours of music streaming, three hours of sunshine gaming, regular email and social media usage, a pair of calls, some camera action, and diverse text conversations, we were progressing to bed at around 11 pm most nights with the battery percentage within the teens, having taken the phone off charge at around 7 am.
If you watch plenty of video on your phone, enjoy extended gaming sessions, or play lots of graphically intensive titles like Fortnite and PUBG, the OnePlus Nord will need a top-up to come back mid-afternoon.
On lighter usage days, where we bog down our gaming and social media usage, the OnePlus Nord would make it through the 7 am to 11 pm stretch with around 30% of juice left.
What you are not visiting get from the OnePlus Nord battery is multi-day use from one charge, so you will need to stay the charging cable handy daily.
There’s support for OnePlus’ Warp Charge 30T charging, which gets you from 0% to 70% in half-hour using the bundled cable and power adapter within the box. This does work, and it’s useful if you’re getting ready to head out on a protracted journey and wish to invigorate the Nord quickly before leaving.
There’s no wireless charging support, however – it’s another area where some corners had to be move to keep the value down.
OnePlus Nord CE Performance and software:
Under the hood, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G chipset sits at the center of the OnePlus Nord CE, and while it is not the identical flagship chip as found within the 8-series phones, it performs well here, because it has in other handsets like the LG Velvet and Motorola Edge.
The 765G is complemented by an honest slug of RAM moreover, with 8GB and 12GB variants of the OnePlus Nord available.
This makes for a handset that’s responsive under the finger, with apps loading quickly, and therefore the Nord handles HDR video playback and intensive games with aplomb for a mid-range smartphone.
We were ready to play PUBG with HD Graphics with the frame rate set too high (HDR and Ultra HD modes were unavailable), and you’ll be able to also prefer to put on OnePlus’ Fanatic Mode, which channels more power to your gaming experience, switches on ‘do not disturb’ so that notifications don’t appear before of gameplay and prioritizes signal to the sport to cut back latency.
The 90Hz refresh rate display on the OnePlus Nord CE also enhances gameplay, providing sleeker graphics and motion in games, additionally improving the experience of using OnePlus’ Oxygen OS 10.5 interface, which sits over the highest of Android 10.
With a high refresh rate like this, scrolling becomes smooth, with no stutter as you flick through Twitter and Instagram feeds.
You can drop the refresh rate right down to 60Hz, which implies things are less smooth – although, if you’re upgrading from a handset that’s some years old, the likelihood is that you’re already acquainted with this – but more importantly, it’ll also extend battery life a bit.
As for raw power, unsurprisingly the OnePlus Nord CE doesn’t match its flagship siblings, with our 12GB of RAM model averaging a multi-core score of 1,877 on Geekbench 5. That’s considerably below the 12GB RAM versions of the OnePlus 8 (3,401) and OnePlus 8 Pro (3,305), both of which pack the Snapdragon 865 chipset.
It shows that if you are doing choose the costlier OnePlus handsets you’re getting more power, which successively will provide a slicker user experience and better handling of intensive tasks.
We also ran the benchmarking app on the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition (Snapdragon 855+, GB) and OnePlus 6 (Snapdragon 845, 8GB), and both scored better than the Nord, at 2,677 and 2,232 respectively.
CPU benchmarks only tell a part of the story though, and also the software and hardware integration on the OnePlus Nord is extremely good, meaning that for several users the OnePlus Nord performance is quite sufficient.
Of course, you’ll need space to store all of your apps, games, photos, and video, and also the excellent news here is that the Nord comes well equipped during this department because it mirrors the OnePlus 8 Pro for RAM moreover as storage offerings.
The 8GB RAM model gets you 128GB storage, which is superb for the value point – the entry-level iPhone SE is dearer, and you get just 64GB. Our review handset was the 128GB / 256GB model, with around 236GB of that storage available for you to use.
128GB (and thus the cheaper OnePlus Nord) will likely be quite enough for several, and therefore the additional RAM within the 256GB Nord is probably going to only inherit its own during intensive gaming sessions, therefore the differences between the 2 configurations won’t be discernible by most users.
The OnePlus Nord CE comes with 5G support, which suggests you’ll cash in of next-generation network speeds after they become available in your area if 5G hasn’t extended for you only yet.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Nord CE comes with Google’s Android 11 software system, overlaid with OnePlus’ OxygenOS 10.5. This UI provides a wider assortment of customization options than stock Android while retaining a well-known look and feel, and OnePlus says it also includes over 300 separate software optimizations.
We didn’t experience any obvious slowdown or issues during our fortnight using the OnePlus Nord, which was after filling it up with apps, photos, and videos, and spending many hours playing games and watching endless episodes of All or Nothing, Good Girls, and Community.
OnePlus promises that the Nord will get a minimum of two years (from launch date) of software updates – which suggests it’ll be in line for the Android 11 update and Android 12 in 2021 – plus three years of security updates.
There’s currently no word on when Android 11 will arrive on the OnePlus Nord CE, but we’ll update this review after we know. OnePlus has pushed out some software updates to the handset since launch addressing small issues including improvements to Bluetooth and voice call stability and macro camera image clarity.