OnePlus Nord Review

OnePlus smartphones are known to be a flagship killer, the recent flagship smartphones from the company are the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro. Now, its upper-midrange smartphone, OnePlus Nord is launched in India.

OnePlus re-enters the midrange market by releasing the Nord where the defunct OnePlus X was the first non-flagship smartphone. The OnePlus that packs a 90Hz AMOLED display, a fast Snapdragon 765G SoC, 48 MP quad cameras, and a design that looks quite appealing. Here’s our OnePlus Nord review.

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OnePlus Nord Unboxing

Here’s our OnePlus Nord unboxing on IGTV showing the contents in the box.

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What’s in the box

  • OnePlus Nord smartphone
  • Screen protector (pre-applied)
  • Warp Charge 30 power adapter (5V, 6A)
  • Warp Type-C cable (Support USB 2.0)
  • Quick start guide
  • Welcome letter
  • Safety information and warranty card
  • Brand sticker
  • Silicon phone case (Transparent & flexible)
  • SIM tray ejector
  • Highest SAR value & Plastic recycling card
  • Red Cable Club Membership card

OnePlus Nord Specifications

  • Display: 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED display, 90 Hz refresh rate, Full HD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
  • Software: Oxygen OS 10.5 based on Android 10
  • CPU: 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-core SoC
  • GPU: Adreno 620 Graphics
  • Memory: 6 GB OR 8 GB OR 12 GB RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB OR 128 GB OR 256 GB internal storage, no microSD card support
  • Primary Camera: Quad Cameras, 48 MP main + 8 MP ultra-wide-angle + 5 MP depth + 2 MP macro
  • Selfie Camera: Dual Cameras, 32 MP main + 8 MP ultra-wide-angle
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS (A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, SBAS, NavIC), NFC, Radio
  • Cellular: 5G network, dual SIM support
  • Others: In-display fingerprint scanner
  • Battery & Charging: 4,115 mAh, 30W fast charging
  • Colors: Blue Marble, Gray Onyx
  • Price: Rs 24,999 (6 GB + 64 GB), Rs 27,999 | 379 GBP | 399 Euros (8 GB + 128 GB), Rs 29,999 | 469 GBP | 499 Euros (12 GB + 256 GB)
  • Availability: Available from 4th August in Europe and India. The base variant with 6 GB RAM + 64 GB Storage will be available in early September (India Only).
  • Offers: No-cost EMI up to 6 months on Amazon India on pre-booking, Rs 2000 off on purchase with an American Express card, Jio benefits worth up to Rs 6,000, OnePlus Red Cable Club benefits – extended warranty, assured buyback rates, 50 GB free OnePlus Cloud storage, and other third party benefits.

Design, Display, & Build

When you look at the Nord, it uses a glass design on both sides with the ongoing punch hole camera design trend and an in-display fingerprint scanner. The build quality is solid, there’s Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides. You also have a glossy back and has a nice color finishing, we got the Gray Onyx.

Most OnePlus smartphones use premium metallic build, there’s no doubt, the overall design of the Nord looks premium and feels great, but when you look closely at the sides, the frame is not metal even though the buttons are made metallic.

The OnePlus Nord uses 90 Hz Fluid AMOLED HDR10+ Display sized at 6.44-inch and Full HD+ resolution (2400 x 1080 pixels). The display has a small cutout to incorporate the dual selfie cameras on the left side. The display seems high quality and is sharp, bright, and has good viewing angles.

The 90 Hz display gives you a smoother experience, the touch response of the display appears to be faster as compared to the 60 Hz display on smartphones. You can also choose a 60 Hz or 90 Hz refresh rate from the Display settings on the Nord. With the 90 Hz, you can play certain games at 90 fps, PUBG Mobile for instance.

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The front side has a dual selfie camera setup and the back has a quad setup featuring 48 MP as the main camera while you have 32 MP as the main selfie camera. The back camera is protruding, the bulge is slightly bigger than the Oneplus 7 Pro. The front dual cameras use a little space but it’s nowhere near the tiny punch-hole design on the Samsung Galaxy M31s although its single camera.

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On the connectivity sides, there’s a USB Type-C port at the bottom along with a loudspeaker, microphone, and a SIM tray that holds dual SIM card slots, but no microSD card slot. The top has another microphone, the right side has a power key and a slider key while the left side has volume controls.

Software & User Interface

As you know, OnePlus smartphones come with customized OxygenOS software, the Nord ships with the OxygenOS 10.5 which is based on Android 10. The software has a security patch level 1st July 2020 which seems to be the recent patch for Android.

Not many apps come pre-installed, a few popular ones like Facebook, Messenger, Netflix, Instagram, Google Pay, Prime Video apps that you will see on the phone which can be removed if not required. Only the Netflix app that comes as a pre-installed application that can’t be removed, you can disable it though.

The OxygenOS 10.5 has a few things upgraded, the rest of the features are the same you see on the previous versions. The Nord shares the same UI features you see on the OnePlus 8 except a few. We also tried the OnePlus Scout feature on the OnePlus Launcher app and it’s still under the Beta program as you can see in the screenshot.

We have started using OxygenOS 11 based on the Android 11 Developer Preview 3 and expecting soon to release a stable update of the OxygenOS 11 for Nord.

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Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

As with the internals, the OnePlus Nord equips a 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G octa-core SoC with up to 12 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of internal storage. The storage cannot be expanded via a microSD card as it lacks the expansion slot. You only get two dual nano SIM slots supporting the faster 5G network. Nevertheless, you can use the free 50 GB cloud storage from OnePlus for 1-year.

There are a total of three variants with two color options – Blue Marble, and Gray Onyx. The base variant that is 6 GB RAM + 64 GB storage comes at a price of Rs 24,999, the second variant with 8 GB RAM + 128 GB storage is priced Rs 27,999, and the final variant which is the most powerful Nord with a massive 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage is priced at Rs 29,999.

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OnePlus Nord Performance (Snapdragon 765G SoC)

The Snapdragon 765G SoC is fast and powerful, however, it is outperformed by the Snapdragon 855+ SoC available in this price range. The Nord is not a true flagship killer when it comes to the performance, you can check the benchmarks we recorded from the Geekbench 5 CPU + GPU benchmark and AndroBench storage benchmark. The potential rivals in the segment – ASUS 6z, Redmi K20 Pro, realme X3 SuperZoom, and the realme X2 Pro, all pack with either Snapdragon 855 and 855+ priced under Rs 30,000.

The price for the 6 GB + 64 GB is 24,999 whereas the Redmi K20 Pro is available for the same price with 128 GB storage and a flagship CPU. The8 GB + 128 GB variant is available for Rs 27,999 whereas the realme X3 SuperZoom offers the same RAM and storage with a flagship CPU at a cost of an AMOLED display, you rather get a 120 Hz IPS display.

The Nord with its Snapdragon 765G SoC is still faster than the Samsung Galaxy A71, realme X2, POCO X2, Motorola One Fusion+ as well as the OPPO Reno4 Pro, and vivo X50. It is only behind the budget flagships that are priced under Rs 30,000.

OnePlus Nord Gaming (Adreno 620)

Speaking of the gaming performance, the Adreno 620 is good for casual to moderate gaming. No wonder the Adreno 620 is 20% faster than the Adreno 618 found on the Snapdragon 730G, if you are a gamer, you would want to churn out maximum performance in this price range, go pick a suitable GPU like Adreno 640 for higher graphics settings. Games like PUBG run on High settings with High framerate, the HDR option is disabled.

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Cameras

OnePlus Nord features the same 48 MP Sony IMX586 sensor we saw on its flagship companion OnePlus 8 with optical image stabilization (OIS) support. Moreover, there’s an 8 MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 5 MP macro camera, and a 2 MP depth sensor making a quad setup on the rear side for versatile photography experience.

In addition to that, the front camera has a dual setup, the dual selfie cameras reside in a small screen cutout on the left side of the display. You get a 32 MP main selfie camera that is capable of capturing up to 4K video at 60 fps and an 8 MP ultra-wide-angle camera for group selfies with ease.

The camera app has been upgraded, you can now see the Settings button on the top-right corner, more options on the interface are 48 MP mode, Portrait mode, Nightscape mode, Slow motion (240 fps), Panorama, Time-lapse, Pro mode, Wide-angle, Macro, Wide-angle video, Super stable, Cine video mode, & GoogleLens.

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There’s no doubt that the main camera takes exceptionally great shots, the sensor used here is the same we saw on the OnePlus 7 Pro and the OnePlus 7T Pro. The Sony IMX586 is a 48 MP flagship camera sensor and performs well in the photography department, you will get similar results to the above-mentioned phones.

Other cameras include the wide-angle lens and macro lens both worked well too. The Portrait mode takes shots with bokeh effects in the background in 2X zoom, however, the Nord misses an optical sensor or you can say a telelens which is usually found on the OnePlus flagship phones like OnePlus 7 Pro. Selfies turn out to be good, you can make use of the secondary camera for a wider selfie.

Speaking of the video capabilities, the OnePlus Nord records 4K videos at 30 fps which surprised us, the camera didn’t offer 4K at 60 fps mode while the front camera can record 4K at 60 fps which is rare. Rivals in this range offer 4K at 60 fps, take the Redmi K20 Pro, ASUS 6z, realme X3 SuperZoom.

Other features include You do get a 21:9 cinema mode but it’s limited to 4K at 30 fps. Super stable can stabilize the videos you shoot using the provided mode in the Video option.

Take a look at the samples we took from the OnePlus Nord cameras.

OnePlus Nord Camera Samples

Battery Life

On the battery side, the OnePlus Nord packs a 4,115 mAh battery with 30W Warp Charge 30T fast charging (5V, 6A) that charges the battery up to 70% in just 30 minutes and fully charge the phone from 0% to 100% in less than 60 minutes. OnePlus uses the same Warp Charge we saw on the OnePlus 7T series and the OnePlus 8 series. This appears to be reliable as you see the same charging technology found on its flagship series.

The battery capacity here seems a little above average when we look at the competition, you can clearly see midrange smartphones offering a battery capacity of 5,000 mAh or 6,000 mAh (Samsung Galaxy M31s). For its battery life, you can expect the phone to run up to 2 days on a single charge as per the usage. You can still run it as long as a day on moderate use which includes moderate gaming, social media, and streaming videos.

If you want longer battery life, you can tweak the battery settings by enabling the battery saver. You can also change the refresh rate to normal 60 Hz and use the dark mode to increase battery life.

Verdict

So far the OnePlus Nord has impressed us with its crisp 90 Hz AMOLED display, the clean customizable OxygenOS, and the huge amount of RAM, the top variant comes in 12 GB RAM with 256 GB storage. On top of it, the 30W Warp Charge 30T adds to the value, it’s the same fast charging you see on the top-of-the-line OnePlus flagships

The cameras worked well, especially the selfie camera that has the capability of recording 4K at 60 fps whereas the rear camera doesn’t which surprised us. Even though the Snapdragon 765G SoC performs good, no complaints here, the OnePlus Nord is not a true flagship killer.

For those who looking for OnePlus smartphone under budget, this is it, the OnePlus Nord is one of the affordable 5G smartphones with a great 90 Hz AMOLED display and fast performance under Rs 30,000.

For the price of Rs 24,999, you only get a 64 GB storage which makes it a deal-breaker if you click and shoot a lot of videos. For Rs 29,999, there’s the 12 GB RAM variant with 256 GB storage that sounds a real deal unless you don’t want a flagship-grade performance out of it, you still have other options to choose that are packed with the powerful Snapdragon 855 SoC.

Strength

  • Crisp 90 Hz AMOLED screen
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides
  • Exceptionally good cameras
  • Dual front cameras with wide-angle support
  • Records selfie videos at 4K at 60 fps
  • Packs as much as 12 GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 765G SoC performs well & fast
  • 50 GB OnePlus cloud storage free for 1-year
  • 30W Warp Charging support

Weakness

  • No 4K at 60 fps and 480 fps slow motion
  • No 3.5 mm audio jack
  • No microSD card slot
  • Outperformed by Snapdragon 855+ SoC powered phones in this price range

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