OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G Review

OnePlus recently launched its Lite variant of the OnePlus Nord CE 2, priced under ₹20,000, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 is the first cheapest variant in the current OnePlus smartphone family. Some highlights include the Snapdragon 695 SoC, 120 Hz display, 64 MP triple cameras, and 5,000 mAh battery with 33W fast charging. Here’s our OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite review.

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OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G Specifications

  • Display: 6.59-inch IPS display, Full HD+ resolution, 120 Hz refresh rate
  • Software: OxygenOS 12 Interface, Android 12 OS
  • CPU: 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core SoC clocked at 2.2 GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 619
  • Memory: 6 GB OR 8 GB LPDDR4x RAM (Up to 13 GB Extended RAM)
  • Storage: 128 GB UFS 2.2 internal storage, microSD slot up to 1 TB (dedicated)
  • Main Camera: Triple cameras (64 MP camera  + 2 MP macro + 2 MP depth), single LED flash
  • Selfie Camera: 16 MP
  • Others: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Face Unlock
  • Cellular: 5G network, dual SIM, dual 5G standby support
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh battery
  • Charging: 33W charging
  • Weight & Thickness: 195 grams, 8.5 mm
  • Price: ₹19,999 (6 GB + 128 GB), ₹21,999 (8 GB + 128 GB)

Design, Display and Build

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G has been trimmed down even further from its Nord CE 2 5G, the latest Nord Series smartphones start with the most powerful Nord 2 5G, then comes Nord CE 2 5G, and lastly the Nord CE 2 Lite. The Nord CE 2 Lite 5G stands in the mainstream segment priced below ₹20,000.

About its design, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G offers a matte look on the back that’s fingerprint-resistant and a textured design on the top area where the camera is mounted. The design is 8.5 mm slim, the side frames are plastic so as the back, the overall design and build of this smartphone is decent and doesn’t surprise at all.

On the front side, you see 6.59-inch IPS display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and a resolution of Full HD+ (2412 x 1080 pixels). The rear side packs a triple camera setup on the top left side with two large lenses and one small alongwith an LED flash. The primary camera is 64 MP which sounds to be similar to that of its upper sibling on paper.

The right side has a power key that doubles as a fingerprint scanner, the two separate volume controls are on the left along with a dual SIM tray that also carries a dedicated microSD card slot. The SIM tray can hold two 5G SIMs with support for dual standby.

The bottom side has a USB Type-C port, loudspeakers, a 3.5 mm jack, and a microphone while the top holds another noise cancellation microphone. The loudspeakers aren’t stereo means you get a fair audio quality, unlike the phones with dual loudspeakers that deliver a far better audio output.

Software and User Interface

Just like the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G, the lite variant also runs on its homegrown Oxygen OS, however, a newer version i.e. OxygenOS 12 and it’s based on the Android 12. The security patch on the phone is dated 5th March 2022. The interface looks more stockish and if you are familiar with the stock Android interface, you will feel home.

The Oxygen OS 12 has lots of added features on top of Android 12, you do get customizations and features in the Oxygen OS as well as security updates. One such feature liked is the Shelf that shows you a tiled view (or card view) of the apps, weather, notes, music, fitness tracking, and more. 

As mentioned, the interface is likely similar to stock, you don’t get much apps installed on the phone, and the phone is free from third-party bloatware. Least apps are installed – Netflix, Google apps, and a few from OnePlus. The user interface is clean and lag-free, the experience is super smooth due to its 120 Hz refresh rate and there are various Oxygen OS customizations and optimizations.

Hardware, Performance, and Gaming

We are seeing some smartphones coming up with the Snapdragon 695, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite competes with the smartphones currently equipping the same chip. Unlike its higher model, the Nord CE 2 Lite uses a Qualcomm chip rather than from the MediaTek.

The upper-end model, Nord CE 2 5G packs a MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC which offers a faster processor than the one we see in the Lite variant. The Nord CE 2 Lite equips a 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 which is a mid-range octa-core SoC found on a few recently launched smartphones. Rivals like realme 9 Pro 5G and vivo T1 5G offer the same chip and are priced under ₹20,000.

About the CPU, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC is a midrange SoC manufactured in a 6nm process consisting of 2+6 core configurations, two high-performance Kryo 660 Gold cores clocked at 2.2 GHz, and six power-efficient Kryo Silver cores clocked at 1.7 GHz.

Regarding the performance of the chip, the CPU is slightly faster than the Snapdragon 765G and far better than the Snapdragon 720G. The performance fits the price bracket and is suitable for everyday use, also good for gaming and multitasking.

In terms of graphics, you will find an Adreno 619 GPU for gaming, and graphics demanding apps. For gamers, the Adreno 619 can run several games smoothly on default graphics settings. You can expect to tun games from medium to high graphics with this GPU.

If you are a performance user, you might want to switch to the upper model for a little more price while the Snapdragon 695 is still good as a midranger, it falls behind compared to the MediaTek Dimensity 900 which you see on the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G.

For its RAM and storage options, the Nord CE 2 Lite comes in two RAM variants while the storage is the same 128 GB in both. The base model starts with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage priced at ₹19,999 whereas the top variant with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage is priced at ₹21,999. The storage expands via a microSD card slot up to 1 TB.

Similar to the RAM expansion technology you see on some phones, the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G offers extra RAM of up to 5 GB extra on top of 8 GB. That means you can extend up to 13 GB RAM on this phone (8 GB variant).

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Cameras

The cameras on the phone are quite similar to the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G on paper, you get a 64 MP + 2 MP + 2 MP triple setup on the Nord CE 2 Lite versus the 64 MP + 8 MP + 2 MP on its upper model. However, the quality of the cameras is inferior to that of its higher-end sibling.

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About the setup, the 64 MP is the primary camera, the rest two cameras are 2 MP depth and 2 MP macro. You see the ultra-wide angle camera is missing on this phone and it seems to be due to its affordable price.

The cameras are just for a mid-ranger and perform just the right for their price, you don’t see OIS, telephoto, wide-angle, and other camera traits on them. The front has a 16 MP selfie camera for selfie and video calling needs.

The camera app offers very decent features – Portrait, Pro, Pano, Macro, Slow-mo, Time-lapse, Dual-View Video, and Night mode. The video capabilities are up to 1080p at 30fps. The camera package performs fair in the daylight and appears to be good for its price, you won’t find anything, particularly eye-popping.

Take a look at some samples we took from the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G cameras.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite Camera Samples

Battery Life and Charging

The battery on the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is quite large compared to its higher models (Nord 2 and Nord CE 2), it comes with a 5,000 mAh battery size with support for 33W fast charging. Compared to the competition, the rivals offer similar-sized batteries and it turns out that the Nord CE 2 Lite packs a reasonably sized battery.

The battery performance is good, the phone survives a day and a half on average to moderate usage and charges faster. The 33W fast charging is fast, it roughly takes about 30 minutes to charge from 1% to 50%, so you can expect the phone to charge in about an hour and a few minutes.

Verdict

Out of all the Nords, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is inexpensive and packs a good amount of power, the Snapdragon 695 performs well, the main camera takes fairly good shots, and the fast charging is another trait to consider the smartphone. Even though we would miss the OnePlus’ stunning Optic AMOLED, the fast 120 Hz refresh would still give you a smooth experience. If you are looking for a OnePlus smartphone at a lower price (₹19,999), the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is a good pick. You might want to see more options before you make up your mind.