The prices of OnePlus flagships have been rising year after year, so the company decided to add a mid-ranger to its roster – the OnePlus Nord. The phone brings many of the company’s trademark features while switching some things up to hit its €400/£380 price tag. It’s INR 28,000 in India and if you’re patient, you can get one for INR 25,000 in September.
Let’s get the chipset out of the way first, it’s a Snapdragon 765G. It doesn’t have the CPU or GPU computing power of the 800-series chips, but it does support 5G. That matters in some European countries and may matter elsewhere too, assuming more 5G networks sprout over the next 2-3 years.
That’s how long the phone will be supported – 2 years of OS updates (it starts with Android 10) and one more year of security patches. OnePlus phones typically get 3 years of OS updates, e.g. the OnePlus 5 and 5T from 2017 got Android 10 recently.
The company didn’t skimp on RAM and storage – the base version is configured with 8/128 GB and you can get 12/256 GB. That cheaper version for India we mentioned will be 6/64 GB and will launch exclusively on Amazon in September.
The screen is a 6.44” Fluid AMOLED panel with 90 Hz refresh rate and 1080p+ resolution. It’s basically a slightly smaller version of what the OnePlus 7T and 8 have. Well, except for the pill-shaped punch hole, OnePlus’ first dual selfie camera.
Comparing selfie cameras, the Nord wins over its siblings. The main front cam has a 32MP sensor (compared to 16MP on the OP8 and OP8 Pro) and there’s an 8MP 105° ultra wide camera next to it. The main cam can record 4K at 60 fps, while the others can’t even do it at 30 fps.
The 48MP camera on the back is essentially the same as the OP8 camera – 1/2.0” sensor, f/1.8 aperture and OIS + EIS. There’s no zoom module like on the 7T, instead the phone relies on the high res sensor to provide 12 MP 2x zoom shots.
The 8MP ultrawide camera is a downgrade, the OP8 has a 16MP sensor. Neither can focus at close distances (like on the 7T duo), so both phones have a dedicated macro cam with a measly 2 MP sensor. The 5MP depth sensor added to the Nord is technically an advantage over the OP8, but not a huge one.
OnePlus released the OxygenOS 10.5.1 update just after the phone itself, enabling 4K/60 fps video recording with the rear camera, matching the 8-series. You’ll have to wait for our review to find out if the S765G chipset leads to different image quality of EIS stability.
Finally, the Nord has a 4,115 mAh battery, only slightly smaller than the 4,300 mAh power cell inside the OP8. Both support Warp Charge 30T and both lack wireless charging.
So, there’s not much to separate the OnePlus Nord and the 8. Well, except for price, the 8 is still €700. Is that Snapdragon 865 really worth the €300? Before you answer, let’s have a brief peek at the non-OnePlus competition.
The Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G will launch in India on July 31. We still don’t know the price, but this one has a 6.55” 90 Hz AMOLED, the same S765G chipset, a 13 MP telephoto (2x) camera and 65 W fast charging. It uses ColorOS instead of OxygenOS, which some may consider a downside.
The Realme X50 5G (aka X50m) is similar too, except it trades the AMOLED for a 6.57” 120 Hz LCD. This one is already available in Europe, priced €350 for the 6/128 GB model. Again, Color OS instead of Oxygen.
The Motorola Moto G 5G is another S765G phone and costs €400 if you want the 6/128 GB model. It runs clean Android 10 (with My UX enhancements), displaying it on a 6.7” 90 Hz LCD. The camera department is very similar to the Nord, the battery is larger (5,000 mAh) but charges slower (20 W).
So, is the OnePlus Nord your first pick for a mid-range phone? Or did the company overhype it?