The OnePlus Nord is a smartphone that is more accessible in terms of price than the most expensive smartphones from Apple, Samsung and of course its own brand. For 500 euros, the OnePlus Nord offers almost all the plus points that the brand has announced and you can use 5G. But there are also concessions.
price € 399, – / € 499, –
Color Grey blue
OS Android 10 (OxygenOS)
Screen 6.4 inch amoled (2400 x 1080, 90 hz)
Processor 2.4 Ghz octacore (Snapdragon 765 G
RAM 8 / 12GB
Storage 128 / 256GB
Battery 4,115 mAh
Camera 48, 8, 2 megapixels (rear), 32 and 8 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 5G, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC
Format 15.8 x 7.3 x 0.8 cm
Weight 184 grams
Other dualsim, fingerprint scanner under screen, depth camera
Website www.oneplus.net 9 Score 90
- Price to quality ratio
- 90 Hz screen
- Screen brightness could be better
- No headphone port and dongle
OnePlus has made its name as a smartphone maker that offers top smartphones for competitive prices. With a pleasant Android skin as a cherry on the smartphone applesauce. But with each new smartphone, the price was increased, at which point we have come to a point where you can no longer call a OnePlus smartphone a price fighter compared to the most expensive Samsung smartphones and iPhones. The gap that OnePlus leaves behind is now seen as a new market for the brand, which is being filled with the OnePlus Nord: a mid-range smartphone that has to compete against fierce competition. Because this market is now served by other smartphones, such as the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, Pocophone F2 Pro, Apple iPhone SE 2020, Samsung Galaxy S10 + and OnePlus’ own OnePlus 7T. Soon we will be able to add Google’s Pixel 4A to that too.
The OnePlus Nord has to stand out as a ‘newcomer’ to claim a place in this market. The idiosyncratic name already stands out, or perhaps that is personal, because the name often appears in one of my favorite games: Skyrim. What is more striking is the price: the smartphone is available from 400 euros. That is probably a lot cheaper than its biggest competitors.
The OnePlus Nord is not a revival of the Never Settle days of yore. Concessions have been made with regard to the top smartphones. In this case with the chipset, wireless charging is missing, as well as certified water resistance and a stereo speaker. Nevertheless, OnePlus plays with three trump cards, which the brand also uses for their more luxurious smartphones: a screen with a high refresh rate, a smoothly performing device and 5G. OnePlus has also placed six cameras, of which the main camera on the back is the same as the more expensive OnePlus 8. The fast charger is also available and the smartphone runs on Android 10 with OnePlus’ own OxygenOS skin. In short, a good deal at this price.
OnePlus Nord is a bit smaller than the other OnePlus smartphones, but still quite large. The design looks a bit generic. If the brand name had not been on the back, I would not have been able to distinguish it from other brands. If you still want to stand out with your smartphone, OnePlus also has a version in bright light blue in addition to a gray version. The build quality is perfectly fine, the glass back gives the device the luxurious look that you are used to from the brand.
There is no headphone port in the device, and you can still fill a bingo card with nonsense arguments from spokespersons why this choice was made. Another concession in the design is the fairly large camera hole in the screen for the double selfiecam on the top left. Not pretty, but you get used to it.
Powerful and fast
The OnePlus Nord is not equipped with the most powerful Snapdragon chipset, but the Snapdragon 765G. More than enough to keep the smartphone and current toughest games running smoothly. Moreover, this chipset ensures that you can use 5G. Although 5G is not yet active in the Netherlands at the time of writing and it will take years before 5G really makes a difference, it is certainly interesting for those looking for a future-proof smartphone. Especially since the OnePlus Nord, together with the Moto G 5G Plus, are the first affordable 5G smartphones (the Pocophone F2 Pro does not support 5G).
The OnePlus Nord is one of the few affordable smartphones that currently supports 5G.
The chipset, paired with a pleasant amount of RAM (8 or 12 gigabytes), ensures that the performance is above average for a smartphone in this price range. The smooth response of the smartphone is enhanced by the 90 hertz display (almost all smartphones have a screen with a 60 hertz refresh rate). It must be said that the higher refresh rate takes its toll on the battery. You’ll get through the day. If you want more battery time, it is better to set the screen to 60 hertz, then you save a day and a half on a full battery. It is a personal choice: do you value battery life more, or a smooth running screen?
The image quality is also fine from the OnePlus Nord. The AMOLED screen has a Full-HD resolution and an excellent display; a little bit grayer than the top smartphones. The maximum brightness could have been slightly higher, making it a bit more difficult to read from the screen in bright sunlight.
Many OnePlus users swear by the Android shell OxygenOS. It is an enrichment of Android in many ways and you can adjust everything to the smallest detail. Everything? Almost everything. More and more users are complaining about background processes that are cut off to save the battery, so that not all apps always work flawlessly. It is also unfortunate to see that OnePlus chooses to deliver bloatware from Facebook. A company with not a very good reputation. Fortunately, other Android manufacturers can learn a lot from OnePlus: no misleading virus scanners, a nice skin design, smooth operation and a fairly good update policy (at least two years of version updates and three years of security updates). Although even the top Android manufacturer in the update field is still miles behind Apple’s iOS. A fact that should be emphasized with the arrival of the affordable iPhone SE (2020).
At the back you will find a whole strip of various cameras. The main lens is a 48 megapixel Sony IMX586, which we also see on the OnePlus 8 and the Oppo Reno 2. In addition, an 8 megapixel wide-angle lens and a 2 megapixel macro lens have been placed. The fourth lens on the back is a 5 megapixel depth sensor, which you do not use directly for taking photos, but ensures that you can take portrait photos where the foreground or background is blurred. There is a 32-megapixel selfie camera and an 8-megapixel wide-angle selfie camera on the front.
That is six camera lenses in total, which makes the photo possibilities particularly extensive. Of course you usually fall back on the IMX586 main sensor on the back of the device. It may be said, for this price range, this is a more than excellent camera! Despite the fact that the lens can also be found on other smartphones, OnePlus has fine-tuned the sensor so that many details are recorded and difficult lighting conditions also produce very nice pictures.
The depth camera ensures that you can blur the foreground or background to highlight the subject extra. He does this fine, only at dusk or low light does he start to miss some details, such as spiky hair. It is best to choose the main sensor, where possible. The macro and wide angle lens perform visibly less. Not only in sharpness and detail (megapixel), you have to have really favorable lighting conditions and focus in order to shoot really beautiful photos.
When you choose the wide-angle lens, you capture more, but you lose detail and color.
Alternatives to the OnePlus Nord
The OnePlus Nord is a good device for a competitive price. This makes the smartphone a good deal, which stands out from the other Android competitors. Although the trump cards of a 90 hertz screen and a 5G connection do not (currently) add much, the device is basically excellent. A luxurious housing, good specifications, good camera, decent battery life and a nice screen. There are not many negatives. The camera hole is not pretty, but you get used to it. The biggest drawback remains the lack of a 3.5mm port and as a shovel after the lack of a dongle. The brand is unable to escape the suspicions that these choices were only made to boost the sale of its own bluetooth headsets.
Alternatives such as the Pocophone F2 Pro (much larger battery, 3.5 mm jack, more powerful, but no 90 Hertz screen and 5G) or iPhone SE 2020 (more powerful chipset, better update support) are both a bit more expensive. A good smartphone and a good deal, the OnePlus Nord, in a way, brings back the feeling the brand offered to the OnePlus 6. Speaking of which, OnePlus itself appears to deliver the best alternatives with the OnePlus 7T (Pro), both of which have also dropped in price. Because these devices have been for sale since the autumn of last year, the support will probably be a bit shorter. If you think a good camera and a headphone port are indispensable, then last year’s Galaxy S10 is a (slightly more expensive) alternative.
Conclusion: buy OnePlus Nord?
If you are in the market for a good smartphone that is not overly priced, the OnePlus Nord is definitely worth considering. Unlike many other Android manufacturers, updating is still taken somewhat seriously and the skin adds a lot to Android. Moreover, the smartphone is smooth, the camera is perfectly fine and 5G and a 90 hertz screen are nice extras.