OnePlus Nord N100 – Brand-alien


The OnePlus Nord N100 is a budget smartphone from the Chinese brand OnePlus. For about 200 euros you can already have this smartphone with a 90 hertz screen at home. However, there are some things you should know if you are interested in getting the budget smartphone. You can read that in this OnePlus Nord N100 review.

OnePlus Nord N100

MSRP € 179, –
Color Gray
OS Android 10 (OxygenOS)
Screen 6.5 inch LCD (1690 x 720, 90 Hz)
Processor 2.1 GHz octacore (MediaTek Helio P70)
RAM 4 GB
Storage 64 GB (expandable with memory card)
Battery 5,900 mAh
Camera 13, 2, 2 megapixels (rear), 8 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 4G, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC
Format 16.5 x 7.5 x 0.9 cm
Weight 188 grams
Other Headphone port
Website www.oneplus.com/en
6.5 Score 65 Score: 65

  • Pros
  • Accessible price
  • 90hz screen
  • Battery life
  • OxygenOS
  • Negatives
  • Update Policy
  • Macro and wide angle camera
  • 720p screen

OnePlus has been trying to reach a larger target group for years, by releasing one top device every six months and (compared to other Android manufacturers) paying a lot of attention to the software and accompanying support. That turned out not to be a success formula, because the masses in the Netherlands still mainly buy Samsungs and iPhones. Even with a third major player, Huawei, disappearing, OnePlus still does not seem to really benefit. Just like smartphone brand Oppo, by the way, which has the same parent company (BBK Electronics). Perhaps this is the motive for OnePlus to be inspired by Samsung. By flooding the market with smartphones in all kinds of price ranges to appeal to a wider audience and to give the acclaimed OxygenOS Android shell more and more the familiar appearance of Samsung’s OneUI. Even confusing, meaningless device names, OnePlus can now put a tick behind it.

It’s a move that doesn’t really suit OnePlus. Yet we have arrived at this point. In the Nord series, OnePlus has launched two budget devices: the OnePlus Nord N10 5G (349 euros), which unfortunately came out poorly in our test, and this OnePlus Nord Nord N100 with a suggested retail price of 199 euros. It is striking that both devices are virtually identical to the Oppo A73 and the Oppo A53 respectively.

OnePlus N100
OnePlus N100
OnePlus N100

OnePlus Nord N100

For its price, the OnePlus Nord N100 has a few interesting features. Take the battery capacity of 5,000 mAh, for example. That is more capacity than the top devices, which often also have a somewhat less battery life due to the screen with high refresh rate. Such a higher refresh rate is also present on this budget device. Quite unusual in this price range. In any case, it is nice that even with the high refresh rate you have an excellent battery life of about two days.

The LCD screen is also fine in terms of color reproduction and the brightness is acceptable. Downside is that the resolution is a bit too low: 720p, so no Full-HD. At the top left of the screen is a hole in which the front camera is incorporated.

The OnePlus Nord N100 is equipped with a Snapdragon 460 chipset. This has been developed for budget devices and therefore not the fastest chipset of course, and you will notice that in practice. You notice it in the loading times, heavier apps and switching between apps. That is to be expected in this price range, but it makes the increased screen refresh rate feel somewhat redundant. Delays are not in the screen.

Plastic housing

The back of the OnePlus Nord N100 is made of plastic. Nevertheless, the device feels quite sturdy and the device is not a huge fingerprint magnet. In addition: plastic does not crack or break. We cannot say that about the glass backs of the more expensive smartphones. Another plus compared to more expensive smartphones is that the Nord N100 simply has an audio connection. The alert slider on the side is missing again.

OnePlus N100

Cameras

In terms of cameras, OnePlus opts for quantity over quality. Three camera lenses at the rear look impressive and it also offers more functionality, because in addition to the regular camera, a depth and macro lens has also been placed.

However, it is the same story as all other smartphones in the lower price ranges. When you zoom in, you immediately notice that your photos are a lot grainier and difficult to handle light conditions. The macro lens is actually so bad that it is better not to take pictures. Not only are the photos grainy and many details are lost in backlight or low light, the resolution is also so low that photos are blurred. Now OnePlus has never been a phone brand that stands out positively in terms of camera performance, and that’s okay. In this case, the brand would have been better off investing in one good camera, instead of installing two fairly useless extra lenses. Because the depth camera, which especially enhances the portrait mode, falls a bit into nothing when the other sensors perform less.

Nevertheless, the main camera is able to take nice pictures, for example to share via WhatsApp.

OnePlus N100
OnePlus N100

Left: taken with the regular camera, right the macro lens.

OnePlus N100
OnePlus N100

“Industry standard”

OnePlus has never really been able to distinguish itself with the camera performance, but because of the Android shell of the brand (OxygenOS) and the update policy, which offers a reasonably long support and smooth rollout compared to other manufacturers. But in this area the biggest disappointments can be processed. First of all, OxygenOS seems to show more and more bugs over time and the appearance is getting more and more features from Samsung.

That disappointment is reinforced by the update policy. The OnePlus Nord N100 will appear with OxygenOS on an older Android version: Android 10. While Android 11 has been available since this summer and for developers since the spring. That is dull. Fortunately, an update is coming to Android 11. But this is also the only Android version update you will get. In short, in addition to two years of security updates, the only version update is an update to the Android version that the smartphone should have come out with. That is quite disappointing for a brand that had a decent reputation for updates. OnePlus refuses to take responsibility.

The response from OnePlus is not very strong. The update policy is an ‘industry standard’, according to OnePlus. Not only is it a lame excuse to point to others to justify the flawed update responsibility, it is also not entirely true. Companies such as Samsung and Xiaomi (a brand with not the best Android shell) are doing more and more to provide their budget devices with updates for longer. Which also automatically makes them interesting alternatives to this OnePlus Nord N100, which has become a disposable device due to its update policy.

The update policy is an ‘industry standard’, according to OnePlus.

Alternatives to the OnePlus Nord N100

During the announcement of the OnePlus Nord N100 and OnePlus Nord N10 5G, I had the feeling that parent company BBK Electronics is using the OnePlus brand to sell its surplus parts, which will not be sold under the Oppo name. After all, Oppo is less known in Western Europe than OnePlus. But it is only the OnePlus brand name that is stamped on the device and OxygenOS based on Android 10. Otherwise, little remains of the Never Settle and everything for the community image that OnePlus’ marketers try to talk to the brand. The brand is being swept through the mud for a smartphone that is quite good in terms of hardware and price.

As a result, alternatives in approximately the same price range with a different brand stamp are quickly more interesting. Consider the Samsung Galaxy M21 (which is expected to get its update to Android 11 in February) and the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC. These smartphones are also more interesting in terms of screen and cameras, because in practice Full-HD is just a bit more pleasant than just a higher refresh rate. In addition, the Galaxy M21 has a battery life that you say ‘u’ to.

Conclusion: Buy OnePlus Nord N100?

Basically, the OnePlus N100 doesn’t cost you 200 euros at all. The device looks neat, the screen is very nice, the battery life is great and OxygenOS is still one of the better Android shells. The camera is mainly focused on the possibilities, not on taking good photos. Anyone who follows the OnePlus brand will look a bit strange from this smartphone and feel as if the brand is increasingly losing sight of its ideals. Especially the update policy is something you really have to settle in.

Thanks to Belsimpel.nl for providing a review copy of the OnePlus Nord N100.

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