OnePlus Nord Review, Features, Price, US Release, Camera & 5G
OnePlus Nord is a definite change in direction for the whole brand. Since the launch of $299 priced OnePlus One in 2014, OnePlus phones have increased in price. The latest flagship phone of the company, OnePlus 8, starts at $699.
Why the OnePlus Nord happened?
(Photo Source: Carl Pei's Twitter)
One Plus launched its Nord phone in a bid to capture the increasing demand for a budget smartphone with competitive features. In an interview with Android Central, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei said his team had found "another portion of the market that wants something great at a more affordable price."
To cater to their price-conscious European and Indian communities, OnePlus brought in the Nord. In a podcast interview with YouTuber Marques Brownlee, Pei also disclosed that the "Nord" would be a separate "series" for consumers who want to shop in the budget-midrange price range.
Before the launch of the phone, the smartphone maker shared a docuseries 'New Beginnings' in which it advertised the phone as the company's fastest smartphone ever manufactured.
The prototype-to-market release cycle for the Nord was only about six months.
OnePlus Nord Features & Competition
OnePlus would have gone back on their 'Never Settle' identity if they had cut back on specifications with the Nord. But that isn't not the case here.
Specs such as 5G compatibility, 90hz refresh rate, and six cameras are almost 'overkill' given its affordable price. The Nord is a more-than-capable midrange smartphone that has nearly no faults when you consider its price. At the same time, One Plus didn't add too many features on the phone that it gave in its flagship series.
It was good to see that One Plus decided to include a few flagship features such as high refresh rate display and fast charging in the Nord. In doing so, they made the midrange segment highly competitive. Buyers now compare the phone to Google Pixel 3a and iPhone SE 2020 before purchasing it.
One Plus Nord Specifications
Full-Day Battery Capacity
The Nord already wins based on on-screen display, memory capabilities, network chips, and camera versatility if we compare it to budget competitors like Google Pixel 3a and iPhone SE 2020.
Especially, the battery capacity is also prominent at 4115 mAH, although it will be powering the 5G capabilities in cities with a 5G network. Also, the battery has to fuel the 90Hz refresh rate, but with OnePlus's 30W warp charging out-of-the-box, that does not matter.
The battery can last a day with moderate usage. And if the battery is low, one can get 70% with just 30 mins of charging. One front that the phone lacks is wireless charging. For argument's sake, the iPhone SE 2020 does have wireless charging.
Six Cameras in total
Apple and Google's budget phones both house one camera on the front and back, whereas the Nord has six in total. The 48 MP primary rear camera is the same one found on the OnePlus 8 lineup, which speaks for the camera quality in itself. One should take note that OnePlus is not mainly known for camera quality as opposed to Pixel and iPhone.
But OnePlus Nord also includes OIS similar to the Pixel 3a and iPhone Se 2020, which means it can take respectable videos and night photos. Night mode is something you cannot find on the iPhone SE 2020. While many would still prefer Pixel or iPhone captured images over OnePlus, the Nord wins with the inclusion of an ultrawide angle camera. The quality may only be 8 MP, but it is still better than not having the option at all (you know, like the two other phones in contention).
The front or selfie cameras are also winners. 32 MP primary selfie camera is sure to give you crisp selfies or high-quality video calling. The 8 MP ultrawide camera, on the other hand, has a whopping 105° field of view that will let you fit in your whole gang in the frame. The ultrawide capability is undoubtedly a feature more smartphones, not just mid-rangers, should copy.
Fast-refresh AMOLED screen
Similarly, the 90hz refresh rate is a welcome addition to the mid-range smartphone category. In comparison, the Nord already has an AMOLED panel over LCDs of the Pixel 3a and iPhone SE 2020. While the screen is not the same curved screen as found in flagship smartphones, the Nord provides a pleasant viewing experience.
Decent Processor with 5G compatibility
Also, the Nord is 5G compatible with the Snapdragon 765G.
5G compatibility is a feature that very few midrange smartphones provide, and neither Pixel 3a nor iPhone Se 2020 are 5G compatible. Samsung also offers midrange smartphones with 5G capabilities with the Galaxy A71 5G and the A51 5G.
The Snapdragon 765G is also the most significant downgrade the Nord has from the OnePlus 8 lineup, which carries the Snapdragon 865 chip. The difference in performance is noticeable when multitasking, even with the 90Hz refresh rate. With apps that use too much processing power or memory will stutter more than what you would see in flagships. However, these small caveats are standard in the price category. The difference in performance would be minimal for most users.
|Processor||Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 765G, 5G compatibility|
|Memory||6 GB (India exclusive) , 8 GB, 12 GB RAM|
|Storage||64 GB (India exclusive), 128 GB, 256 GB Internal, UFS 2.1|
|Screen||6.44inch 90hz AMOLED display, HDR 10+|
48 MP Sony IMX586 f/1.75 (OIS)
8 MP ultrawide
5 MP depth sensor
32 MP main selfie camera
8 MP 105° ultrawide selfie camera
|Battery||4115 mAH, 30W 'Warp' charging (charger included in the box)|
|Security||In-display fingerprint sensor, Face recognition|
|Color||Gray Onyx, Blue Marble|
Oxygen OS and Software Support
On the software front, OnePlus has clean skin over Android because of the Oxygen OS, which is very much loved by its users. OnePlus knows what its community wants, and their software strikes the right chords by adding features or tweaks it deems necessary on top of stock Android.
But Oxygen OS is not a whole different skin like Samsung's One UI, and also it does not come with bloatware. With the Nord, the OS becomes even closer to stock Android with Google's 'Dialer,' 'Messages,' and 'Duo' apps shipping out-of-the-box. OnePlus also provides two years of major software updates and three years of security updates.
Absence Of 3.5 mm Jack
The inclusion of a 3.5 mm jack is the only thing OnePlus did not address as per what many consumers wanted and missed. The port had been a mainstay in many midrange smartphones but is being slowly phased out by many companies.
Bluetooth earbuds are getting more affordable. That's why One Plus released OnePlus Buds alongside the Nord. The Airpods-like OnePlus Buds are the company's latest attempt into increasing its ecosystem, which already includes TVs.
We had speculated on OnePlus Nord's features when their 'Dear Past' promo launched. We were very much excited about the event, and we weren't disappointed.
One Plus Nord Variants and Prices
OnePlus unveiled the Nord phone variants during the world's first AR smartphone launch advertised by the company. Those who had compatible phones, they tuned into the event with Android or iOS versions of the OnePlus Nord AR App.
But those who didn't have an AR compatible phone, they experienced Nord on 21 July by tuning into Unbox Therapy or the OnePlus Nord AR page.
|One Plus Nord Variants||Price|
|OnePlus Nord (6GB RAM/128GB storage, India exclusive||24,999 Rupees (Exclusive Indian variant)|
|OnePlus Nord 8GB RAM/128GB storage||27,999 Rupees/£379/€399|
|OnePlus Nord 12GB RAM/256GB storage||29,999 Rupees/£469/€499|
OnePlus Nord Availability
The OnePlus Nord was made available for open sales on 4 August in Europe and India. Before that, the company launched online popup sales from 27 July to 30 July, where only those who got invitation codes participated. Those who purchased the Nord at the popup sales got a special OnePlus Nord Box with a Nord creator case and branded bottle or tote bag.
One Plus Nord is set to launch in the US later this year.
Ever since its launch, One Plus has added more pressure on the Google Pixel 4a, which was supposed to release before OnePlus confirmed the existence of the OnePlus Nord.