OnePlus Nord Review: OnePlus’ history begins with an elegantly executed guerrilla marketing strategy. The company’s first-ever device – the OnePlus One managed to completely disrupt the smartphone market with its top-of-the-line spec-sheet for a selling price but half the mainstream flagship phones at the time. Fast forward to 2020, its latest OnePlus 8 series had finally given in to the full-fledged flagship scenario – not just by the set of features, but more importantly their price. which may are the last word straw to the OG OnePlus fans; who felt the ultimate betrayal from the corporate that spun off the “flagship killer” become a flagship itself. Here, the new OnePlus Nord is such an important product and that I was very wanting to review.
As a result, OnePlus had to try to something, come up with some products that might help revive the native appeal of the brand; parturition to the new OnePlus Nord. And boy did they carry their A-game in marketing their first proper mid-range phone. Practically making people beg for the tiniest little bit of detail, releasing a series of documentaries like it’s something overtly flamboyant… wow – the hype surrounding the Nord was unreal! For the foremost part, the phone manages to measure up to its established expectation. Let’s determine more about the OnePlus Nord during this review!
OnePlus Nord Specifications:
|Body:||6.23 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches; 184 gm|
|Display:||6.44-inches Fluid AMOLED panel; 408PPI; 90Hz Refresh Rate; 180Hz Touch Sampling Rate; Corning Gorilla Glass 5; HDR10+|
|Resolution:||FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels); 20:9 aspect ratio|
|Chipset:||Snapdragon 765G; 7nm Mobile Platform|
|CPU:||Octa-core (1×2.4 GHz Kryo 475 Prime & 1×2.2 GHz Kryo 475 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 475 Silver)|
|Storage:||64/128/256GB UFS 2.1 (non-expandable)|
|Software & UI:||OxygenOS 10.5 on top of Android 10|
|Security:||In-display Fingerprint Scanner (optical)|
|Audio:||Single bottom-firing speakers; aptX HD codec|
|Connectivity:||Dual Nano-SIM, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.1, GPS / AGPS / GLONASS / GALILEO / BDS / NavIC / SBAS, USB Type-C|
|Battery:||4115mAh with Warp Charge 30T (5V/6A)|
|Colours:||Blue Marble, Gray Onyx|
|Price in Nepal:||Rs. 53,999 (8/128GB)|
OnePlus Nord Review:
- Glass front, glass back, and plastic frame
- Dual Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- Limited colour options
Starting this review with the planning, the OnePlus Nord features a dual-glass build which may be a rarity during a mid-range phone. albeit the Gorilla Glass 5 protection is impressive, in one among the various processes for bringing its cost down, the Nord has an inferior plastic frame. And you recognize how that fared in JerryRigEverything’s famed durability test. to place a pleasant ring to the result of the test, Mr Jerry bent it like Beckham.
But obviously, his test takes things to the acute and don’t reflect how one would normally use a phone. Having said that, it definitely would’ve been nicer of OnePlus to travel with a safer metallic frame instead. The Nord comes in either Blue Marble or Gray Onyx colour options which look quite standard and not something reflectively fancy – I dig it. Personally, I’m pretty keen on the Blue variant that I even have with me.
Overall, I prefer the planning of the OnePlus Nord and it feels comfortable on the hand. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy A71 that retails for an identical price because the Nord, the latter may be a little heftier which I prefer. Likewise, you furthermore may get the signature “slider” that we’ve come to adore about an OnePlus phone. It’s such a little feature that literally no other OEM has chosen to incorporate in their product, but makes such a difference in everyday usage. More on the planning, during a typical 2020 fashion, the Nord doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack or the support for auxiliary storage.
- 6.44-inches FHD+ Fluid AMOLED panel
- 90Hz refresh rate; 180Hz touch sampling rate
- Great colors & contrast; HDR10+ certified
Moving to the display side of things, the phone features a 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. That’s quite the rare combo for a phone at this price point and therefore the Nord having it’s a reasonably big deal for the longer term of mid-range devices. because of the smoother 90Hz display, the viewing experience on the OnePlus Nord was absolute bliss as I acknowledged during my review. Besides gaming itself, the UI transitions, scrolling through your Instagram feed, or other websites – everything is buttery smooth.
If you’ve been up so far with Nord’s review from various tech reviewers (especially those from India), you’ll worry a few red tint issue under low brightness and a horizontal line near the pill-shaped cutout. However, I’m happy to report that my unit was completely resistant to those issues. So it’s just like the problem with the display is nearly entirely limited on Indian retail units – and if your OnePlus Nord suffers from the said issue, make certain to invite a replacement ASAP.
Decent AMOLED panel
Okay, allow us to now mention the panel quality itself. The AMOLED screen on the Nord produces great colours with deep blacks and thus has a superb contrast ratio. Brightness was sufficient enough but paled as compared to those on the Galaxy A71 or Vivo’s V19. and since it’s an AMOLED panel, you’ll enjoy the sweet-sweet dark mode that has been almost flawlessly executed by OnePlus. you’ll customize it under the display settings where there’s also the choice to show it on automatically supported a pre-determined schedule.
Starting with the upcoming OxygenOS 11, we’ll also getting the long-awaited Always-on Display (AoD) and I’m very excited to ascertain it in action. beat all, the OnePlus Nord has a superb display because of the colourful AMOLED panel complemented by a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. I can honestly say this is often one among the simplest displays you’ll get for this price.
- Quad-cameras at the back
- (48MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth)
- Dual-cameras on the front
- (32MP primary, 8MP ultrawide; pill-shaped cutout)
Now let’s get to the cameras, shall we? Altogether, the phone has six cameras in total – 4 at the rear, and a couple of on the front. First, let’s mention the rear quad-camera setup which consists of a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5MP depth sensor, and eventually a 2MP macro camera.
During my review, I tested them out against the cameras in Samsung’s Galaxy A71. Starting with the underwhelming macro lens, the A71 was ready to output better colours and details.
On the opposite hand, the 2MP macro camera on the OnePlus Nord is entirely gimmicky with no practical utility.
But the 5MP depth sensor spins a special story and its bokeh effects are quite impressive.
Although the sting detection is way from perfect, you get a pleasant enough subject focus and therefore the background looks nice too. Compared to the A71, it’s a good battle when it involves portrait images.
Getting to the pictures from the 48MP primary camera, I need to say they need an awesome little bit of detail. Despite this, the colour reproduction may be a bit on the unnatural side, and therefore the Nord also over-compensates the contrasts while the pictures are over-saturated also.
But overall, the photos look pleasing. Comparing it with the A71, the pictures from OnePlus Nord look a touch dark due to the extensive contrast I discussed earlier.
As a result, Galaxy A71’s photos look more balanced while they appear more or less similar in most cases.
Ultra-wide images from the OnePlus Nord are good too with decent colours and details. But once more bringing A71 into the combination, its wide-angle images have a wider field of view and better colours.
Even with all this, the Nord’s 8MP ultra-wide camera is sweet enough but it’s just that the pictures end up looking a touch bit darker than you’d like.
Normal Selfie Images
Coming forward, OnePlus Nord is that the company’s first phone with dual selfie cameras. Its 32MP primary wide lens and an 8MP ultra-wide sensor are fitted inside a pill-shaped cutout on the highest left corner of the display.
Selfies from the first camera look vibrant and therefore the subject’s complexion, also because the background, begin pleasantly albeit a touch smoothened. In contrast, selfies from Galaxy A71 are barren of the built-in smoothening and therefore the colour tone features a slightly reddish tint thereto that I prefer.
Wideangle Selfie Images
Moving on, ultra-wide selfies on the Nord gives out more or less similar images just like the primary selfie camera.
However, they lack the detail and sharpness compared to those from the 32MP sensor. At the top of the day, your group selfies are getting to look acceptably Instagrammable.
In terms of low-light photography, I tested out OnePlus Nord’s capability on multiple occasions, and typically, they need good details. There’s also a fanatical “Nightscape” feature that enhances visibility and details during a dark environment.
While it doesn’t compare to nighttime mode on costlier flagship phones, it does make the nighttime images look an entire lot better. Similarly, Nord’s ultra-wide lens can take low-light shots also.
Even though they’re terrible regarding details, but turning on Nightscape tries to save lots of grace and improves the small print by a small but – still not within the way you’d love it to be.
Videography-wise, the OnePlus Nord maxes out at 4K/30fps recordings complemented by OIS – another rare and sometimes overlooked feature on a mid-range device. The stabilization works great and overall, the videos have good colours and dynamic range. Interestingly, the selfie camera can increase to 4K videos at 60fps. And albeit it doesn’t have a fanatical stabilization system, the recordings look ok. So, if you’re into vlogging and such, the OnePlus Nord might be an honest option for you.
Overall, the cameras on the OnePlus Nord are sufficiently average and zip groundbreaking. It could’ve been tons better if OnePlus had gone with the newer 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor rather than its predecessor but here we are.
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC (7nm)
- Up to 12GB LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB of UFS 2.1 storage (non-expandable)
Time to speak about performance. OnePlus phones have always been known for his or her excellent speed with the flagship silicon for the time. Yet, that’s not the case with the Nord. it’s powered by Qualcomm’s excellent mid-range chipset – the Snapdragon 765G. With its integrated X52 5G modem, the 765G supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave of the 5G spectrum. This has been paired with up to 12GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB of non-expandable UFS 2.1 storage. Here, the Indian market gets an exclusive 6/64GB variant also.
OnePlus claims they’ve greatly optimized this SoC for the Nord and it shows. Under normal or maybe heavy usage, the phone handles them with ease – with a couple of exceptions. Obviously, the 765G isn’t as fast as last year’s or this year’s flagship chipsets: the Snapdragon 855+ and 865. due to this, the Nord doesn’t delay against smartphones like last year’s Redmi K20 Pro or the Realme X3 series that retail around the same price; especially when it involves graphic-intensive games.
Talking about gaming, the combo of SD 765G & the 90Hz display really brings out a smooth playing experience. I extensively played PUBG Mobile on the phone and under HD graphics and High frame rate. during this setting, I got a stable 25 – 30 fps while it bumped to 40 fps under Smooth graphics and Ultra frame rate. Unfortunately, that’s about it, and expecting a smooth 60 fps gameplay on the OnePlus Nord is unachievable; a minimum of for now. In topical news, different OnePlus devices just like the 7 Pro, 7T series, and eight series now exclusively support 90 fps gameplay on PUBG, and seeing the Nord miss out on this seems like a serious bummer.
But I didn’t notice any lag in High settings which is essential because of its quick 180Hz touch rate. Additionally, I also tried out Asphalt 9 and you’ll imagine how it performed since it’s a comparatively undemanding title.
Besides gaming, OnePlus Nord may be a speed champ in practically every other use case due to the beloved OxygenOS. it’s a clean, bloatware-free, customizable, and stock Android-like design. you’ll change the UI’s theme colour too. The icon design isn’t overdone either. With all this and more, OxygenOS still remains one among my favourite Android skins so far.
Nord’s AMOLED display also houses an optical in-display fingerprint sensor which is lightning fast and pretty darn accurate. Also, when registering your fingerprint, you get nice and powerful haptic feedback although it doesn’t compare to the flagship series. The audio output is sort of average from its single bottom-firing speaker and even in high volume, it manages to deliver a balanced sound quality.
- 4115mAh battery with Warp Charge 30T
Moving to the battery, OnePlus Nord comes with an honest 4115mAh cell with support for 30W Warp Charge 30T fast charging (5V/6A). due to its user-switchable refresh rate between either 60Hz and 90Hz, internet battery endurance isn’t getting to be uniform among the users. I tested it out against both and therefore the result varied.
Under 60Hz, I got a few days and a touch more of battery life while the stat reduced to only each day when using the Nord under a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. Furthermore, I attempted applying a live wallpaper for a few charge cycles which consumed about a further 10% battery life. When it involves charging, the 30W fast wired charging is incredible. During my test, it charged up my OnePlus Nord from 0 – 100% in just an hour, while half-hour of charge takes the phone to 60%. needless to say, this phone doesn’t support wireless charging.
OnePlus Nord Review: Pros & Cons
- Fluid & vibrant AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate
- Great cameras (almost all of them)
- Excellent performance, plus the fabled OxygenOS
- Decent battery life and the fast charger is inside the box
- Slightly inferior build quality due to plastic frames
- Limited color options available
- Non-expandable storage
Time to wrap it all up. The OnePlus Nord is an exciting smartphone for the worth and its launch comes in a stimulating time and kills two (or more) birds with one stone as we’ve discovered during this review. First off, it gives in to the demand of these who’re trying to find a less expensive OnePlus device since the corporate has been consistently pumping out more and costlier smartphones over the years. Secondly, the Nord also promises a particular level performance that’s acceptable to the mainstream smartphone buyers at a price that warrants the question “are expensive flagship phones worth it?”
All in all, OnePlus Nord challenges the mid-range smartphone market established order like how the first OnePlus One did with the flagship market – redefining just how good a cheap phone is often. And if you’re someone who seeks great performance but doesn’t want to or can’t cash-in plenty of cash, the Nord might be your best shot.
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