With the OnePlus Nord, OnePlus has fabricated an emphatic render to the mid-range market – it’s an affordable smartphone that’due south packed with features. In that location’s a slap-up screen, plenty of ability, and a set up of capable cameras, all wrapped up in a package that belies its affordable cost.
Affordable with flagship qualities
Plenty of camera features
Average bombardment life
Express notifications infinite
No IP rating for h2o resistance
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The OnePlus Nord represents an emphatic return to the combination of way, features and affordability that made the brand stand up out when it arrived on the smartphone scene in 2014 with the OnePlus One.
It offers an almost-flagship experience – as our OnePlus Nord review will go on to item – at a comfortably lower cost tag than the OnePlus eight series, blending premium design, slick functioning and great cameras for a heady mix of smartphone satisfaction.
This isn’t the newest OnePlus phone, and it even has a few follow-ups. In that location’s the Nord N10 5G, a cheaper version of the Nord, and the N100, a actually depression-cost iteration of the same idea. There’s as well the Nord CE and Nord ii, two 2021 smartphones that succeed the original device.
But if yous’re still interested in the phone that started the OnePlus Nord range, you’re in the right identify.
The deviation betwixt 2014, when the OnePlus I was released, and 2020 is that the market has moved on significantly, and OnePlus is no longer the challenger brand looking to upset the apple tree cart. The OnePlus Nord finds itself in a crowded mid-marketplace filled with equally feature-rich devices, making it tougher for the phone to stand out.
With rival devices such as the Google Pixel 4a, Poco F2 Pro, Realme X50 5G, Moto 1000 5G Plus and Mi Annotation x Lite, there’s never been a better time to be in the market for an affordable flagship device – and information technology makes the Nord’southward job that much harder.
The OnePlus Nord cost is center-catching though, and the handset offers enough for your money. OnePlus says the Nord is “pretty much everything you could ask for”, and it’southward got a point.
There’s a sizable display offering a smoothen user feel, plenty power under the hood, and plenty of cameras, all wrapped upwardly in a premium blueprint. It looks good, it feels good in the hand, and it performs superbly.
With so many cameras – OnePlus has mayhap gone a little over the tiptop here – you lot get a wide range of photography options from portrait and macro to ultra-wide and nightscape modes, plus 4K video recording at 30fps with both the front and rear cameras. There’s as well up to a 10x zoom, plus dull-motion video recording at 1080p and 240fps.
The negative points on the OnePlus Nord are pocket-sized: there’s no headphone jack, no IP rating for dust and water resistance, and no wireless charging on offer.
The battery life is boilerplate – it should see you through a day, but this is a telephone you’ll need to be charging every nighttime – and in that location’s not much room for notification icons across the top of the brandish, thanks to the dual selfie cameras.
The bigger signal here is, where does the Nord exit the firm’southward top-tier handsets? If the OnePlus Nord really is “pretty much everything you could inquire for”, why should anyone (especially OnePlus’ cost-conscious fans) fork out considerably more cash for the OnePlus 8 or OnePlus eight Pro? It’ll be interesting to see how the Nord’due south arrival affects future sales of the brand’s flagship devices.
Right now though, if y’all’re in the market for an affordable smartphone that offers a near-flagship experience, the OnePlus Nord delivers… simply and then do plenty of others. Still, information technology was undeniably one of the all-time OnePlus phones at launch.
- Exclusive: How the bizarre OnePlus Nord name was conceived
Below is our video review of the OnePlus Nord
OnePlus Nord review: price and availability
- OnePlus Nord cost: starts at £379 / €399 (around $480, AU$680)
- OnePlus Nord launch engagement: July 21, 2020
- OnePlus Nord release date: August 4, 2020
The OnePlus Nord price starts at £379 / €399 (around $480, AU$680), a competitive price point which undercuts rival phones from Apple, Google and Samsung.
That’s for the 8GB of RAM / 128GB storage model, with the 12GB / 256GB OnePlus Nord cost coming it at a still-affordable £469 / €499 (around $590, AU$850).
Those prices mean the OnePlus Nord is cheaper than the new iPhone SE (2020), Samsung Galaxy A51 5G, Mi Note 10, LG Velvet and Motorola Edge.
OnePlus Nord specs
Dimensions: 158.3 x 73.3 x viii.2mm
Display size: 6.44-inch
Resolution: FHD+ (2400×1080)
Refresh charge per unit: 90Hz
Pixel density: 408ppi
Chipset: Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 6GB / 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Rear cameras: 48MP + 8MP + 2MP + 5MP
Front camera: 32MP + 8MP
The Realme X50 5G and Mi Annotation 10 Calorie-free are cheaper than the Nord, and both those phones come with the aforementioned Snapdragon 765G flake, merely make a few small compromises in other areas to achieve their lower prices.
It also means the OnePlus Nord price is significantly lower than the OnePlus 8, which launched at £599 / $699 (around AU$i,100). The OnePlus Nord N10 5G, launched after the Nord, costs £329 (around $430 / AU$595), and the Nord N100 is even cheaper.
The OnePlus Nord is available in the United kingdom and 27 other European countries, plus India, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
The OnePlus Nord release date was August iv, 2020. In the UK the OnePlus Nord is available from the OnePlus website, John Lewis, Iii, and Amazon.
OnePlus Nord review: blueprint
- Pattern belies the affordable price
- Similar in size to the OnePlus 8, one-handed apply possible
- Slippery finish, but case included in the box
The OnePlus Nord’south design belies its affordable price. You go the aforementioned premium build and finish as on the flagship OnePlus 8 serial, with a metal frame sandwiched between Gorilla Glass on the front and rear.
Information technology makes for a solid, premium-feeling device in the paw, and it’south a similar size to the OnePlus viii, meaning the OnePlus Nord can be used one-handed – although those with smaller hands may struggle to stretch their thumb to the tiptop of the display.
If you expect closely, there is a slender, raised plastic frame which runs around the display, between the glass and the metal frame. While it’southward not particularly noticeable from a visual standpoint, run your finger over the edge of the telephone and y’all’ll observe the angular ridge.
It’s a minor signal, but this breaks up the otherwise seamless design, and information technology’southward a small reminder that this is a more affordable handset.
The OnePlus Nord measures 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm and tips the scales at 184g, which means information technology’s shorter than the OnePlus 8, just ever so slightly wider, thicker and heavier.
Its smooth drinking glass end means there’s fiddling in the manner of natural grip, and we found that the Nord could be slippery at times.
The skilful news for those who are a trivial more clumsy, or who like to sling their smartphone into a bag, is that in that location’s a slimline silicon case included in the box. This gives y’all some instant grip, plus protection confronting small-scale knocks and drops.
The ability/lock key on the right falls nicely under pollex or finger, and sits merely below OnePlus’ at present-familiar alarm slider, which lets you lot quickly switch between silent, vibrate and loud modes.
The book rocker sits on the opposite side, while on the base yous’ll find a centralized USB-C port flanked by a speaker and the dual SIM bill of fare port; at that place’s no headphone jack on the OnePlus Nord, however.
That down-firing speaker is the only external audio output on the Nord, there’s no stereo speakers here – and nosotros constitute it could be easily covered when holding the telephone in mural. This results in a muffling of the audio, which can be troublesome when watching video or playing games.
The phone is bachelor in two colors, and while the Gray Onyx finish is relatively run-of-the-mill, the second selection is likely to be more highly-seasoned – it’s chosen Blue Marble, and it certainly makes a statement, every bit you can run across in our pictures.
OnePlus says the Nord does have h2o resistance, but it doesn’t carry an official IP rating, which would guarantee its dust- and water-repelling abilities.
It’s i of the ways OnePlus has kept the toll of the Nord downward, and while information technology claims the handset has been plunged into 30cm of h2o for xxx minutes and survived, yous might want to be a trivial careful.
Round the dorsum the main feature is the large, oblong camera crash-land which houses the OnePlus Nord’s iv rear cameras. This is raised past a couple of millimeters from the back of the handset, as on the OnePlus 8 and viii Pro, but unlike on its more than premium siblings the camera block is in the left corner, rather than central.
It ways that when placed screen-upwardly on a surface the Nord doesn’t sit flush with the surface, and due to the slight protrusion in one corner it wobbles when you lot tap the display. Information technology too doesn’t feel similar it does the camera glass whatsoever practiced, although applying the in-box example does alleviate the issue.
OnePlus Nord review: display
- Bright, colorful 6.44-inch AMOLED display
- 20:nine aspect ratio, Total Hd+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate
- Punch-hole for selfie cameras limits notification icons
The OnePlus Nord has a half-dozen.44-inch AMOLED brandish with a xx:9 attribute ratio, Full HD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution, and a 90Hz refresh rate for fluid scrolling performance.
The screen fills the front of the handset, with minimal bezels – the thickest one is at the foot of the display. The only break to the screen is the punch-pigsty cutout in the superlative-left corner housing the dual selfie cameras.
These cameras don’t tend to arrive the way, but they practice limit the number of notification icons that tin be displayed in the top bar, which may irk some users.
The Nord comes with a factory-fitted screen protector to give y’all some additional protection against scratches. Those with an eye for uniform design may not intendance for the additional ridge this creates effectually the screen and camera punch-pigsty, and it tin exist easily peeled off if you don’t like the await or feel.
Yet, you will be finer reducing the strength of the brandish if you do so – information technology’south your choice.
The display is bright and clear, only dissimilar the screens on the eight-series phones the Nord’south is flat, rather than having curved edges which spill over the sides of the telephone. Without these curves to the front end edges of the handset, the Nord does feel a touch chunkier in the hand.
There’s HDR10+ support included likewise, and then if you stream content from services such as Netflix or Prime Video, or sentinel your ain HDR video content, information technology will await skillful on the Nord’s display.
When you’re watching video, the section of screen where the notification bar resides isn’t used, to prevent the selfie camera punch-hole from getting in the way.
Watching movies and Television shows is a pleasant experience, only the colors don’t appear to be as rich as on some handsets. The slightly muted tones are more natural, but they’re not every bit visually absorbing as displays which pack a more colorful punch.
A fingerprint scanner is embedded in the screen, allowing you lot to register your prints for security. The scanner works reasonably well, and allows y’all to register multiple prints – we’d advise both thumbs and forefingers – although it’southward not the quickest sensor we’ve used.
One way to speed up the unlocking process on the OnePlus Nord is to pair the fingerprint recognition with face unlock. The Nord can combine both biometric security features simultaneously when you come to unlock, and it can produce a faster result.
OnePlus Nord review: camera
- 6 cameras, iv rear, 2 front – the almost e’er on a OnePlus telephone
- Main rear camera captures detailed, bright shots
- Nightscape works well, simply it’south not the best night mode effectually
The headline characteristic of the OnePlus Nord is its ‘flagship’ camera setup. There are a full of six cameras on the handset, four on the rear and two on the front, the most OnePlus has always put on a smartphone.
The chief camera on the rear is indeed borrowed from a flagship phone – the OnePlus 8. It’southward a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor (with EIS and OIS image stabilization) teamed with an f/1.57 lens, which can take 48MP images, although past default it’south set up to 12MP.
This is because the 48MP images are effectually three times the size of the 12MP shots, which ways your storage would fill up a lot quicker if every shot you took was at the higher resolution.
You’ll find that 12MP is generally adequate for social posting, and the 48MP way is better if you’re planning on printing the epitome out, or making detailed enhancements to it in a photograph editor.
That’southward accompanied past a trio of other cameras, comprising a 5MP depth sensor, 2MP macro camera, and an 8MP, 119-degree ultra-wide-angle snapper for those sprawling landscape shots.
There’s a bunch of shooting modes, including portrait, nightscape, super macro and pro, plus Full Hard disk drive, dull-motility video capture at 240fps and 4K recording at 30fps.
The master rear camera is a capable shooter, and performs well in adept lite both indoors and out. The default 12MP images information technology captures have a good level of detail, and the motorcar HDR helps to prevent images actualization besides nighttime or overexposed.
Yous have the option of a 2x zoom via an icon on the screen – give this a tap and you’ll be brought closer to your subject area with minimal loss in image quality. Information technology works well outside, but zoomed shots indoors can appear a little grainy and dark if the lighting isn’t perfect.
If you lot flick your finger over the 2x icon, y’all’ll slide open a zoom scroll cycle, which gives you the ability to go all the way upwardly to a 10x digital zoom. With this being purely digital, image quality is noticeably reduced, only images taken outdoors, in good low-cal, nonetheless have enough detail that they don’t look messy.
The zoom quality again deteriorates when you have photos indoors, however, and nosotros’d recommend against using the 10x selection inside if you lot’re hoping to get an Instagram-worthy shot.
The 2x zoom icon sits next to two other toggles, one which returns you to the principal camera, and another that switches you lot to the 8MP ultra-wide camera, which has a 119-degree field-of-view to allow you fit a lot more of the landscape into your shots.
Withal, the quality from the ultra-wide camera isn’t as practiced as that of the main camera, with muddier pictures which lack particular and color in comparison. For sweeping landscapes this is less noticeable, only if yous take subjects in the foreground you’ll find that your images aren’t quite every bit sharp here.
OnePlus claims its ultra-wide camera is better than the iPhone 11’s, with less distortion effectually the edges of images – ultra-broad shots tin can suffer from a ‘fish-heart’ event, with the edges of the image beingness stretched.
There’s certainly less distortion at the edges of wide shots than in comparable images from many rival handsets, but information technology’due south not entirely absent, and if you look carefully yous’ll be able to spot the imperfections.
The reduction in distortion here is one of a series of image-processing improvements OnePlus has said it’south fabricated on the Nord, and another expanse where improvements are apparent is Nightscape fashion.
Nighttime modes are now a characteristic on a number of top-finish handsets, and they’re becoming more than common on mid-range phones too, so it’due south good to come across OnePlus including i hither – and it does make a difference over the main camera and its standard HDR.
Nightscape takes nine shots at different calorie-free levels, and then combines them into one epitome to produce a brighter, more fifty-fifty result. Yous’ll need to hold the phone withal during this, equally the Nord takes between 1 and viii seconds to capture all the levels. If you move the handset too much during this fourth dimension you’ll end up with a blurred, messy picture.
The pictures it produces can be impressive, merely it does vary depending on the environment, and the light sources the handset tin draw on.
In dark environments, with some lighting bachelor, the difference Nightscape makes is dramatic; nonetheless, as calorie-free levels driblet, the effectiveness of the fashion rapidly diminishes. It doesn’t take the aforementioned smarts as Google’south Night Sight fashion on Pixel handsets, which can brighten up really dark images with very lilliputian in the way of a light source.
Another tool in the OnePlus Nord’s camera arsenal is portrait mode, which utilizes the main photographic camera and the 5MP depth sensor to add together background blur to shots. The Nord does a good chore of distinguishing between your subject and their groundwork, and applying the blur effect to the correct areas.
Subjects themselves look crisp, although images practise come out darker than pictures taken in the standard camera mode.
Macro way allows you lot to go up close to subjects for detailed shots using the 2MP macro camera; however, this doesn’t appear as a separate way aslope portrait, nightscape, video and co in the camera app – instead it’s a setting toggle along the top of the screen when you’re in the standard photo mode.
The lower resolution of the macro camera on the OnePlus Nord means images aren’t quite as pixel-dense, and colors can appear a lilliputian muted; but if you accept a steady manus, some patience, and skilful lighting, it’s possible to have some lovely close-ups.
The inclusion of the marco photographic camera does seem a little excessive though – it feels like this is a vanity feature, rather than 1 which genuinely pushes the OnePlus Nord forward. Yous tin capture shut-upwardly shots using the master photographic camera and 2x zoom which don’t differ all that much from those taken with this ‘specialist’ shooter.
Y’all’ll too find a range of filters in the OnePlus Nord camera app, but tap the conjoined circles icon in the pinnacle right corner of the screen to bring upwardly the scroll bar of 15 options.
Iii of these filters are new for the Nord, and were created in conjunction with photographer Hannes Becker. Each has a Nordics inspired name; Sarek, Vaeroy and Ylläs.
The filters don’t exactly break the mold of what nosotros’ve come to expect from these Instagram-fashion effects, but it’south nice to accept a broad array of options within the camera app itself, if yous want to play effectually with your shots.
And don’t worry, we’ve not forgotten virtually the concluding 2 OnePlus Nord cameras. On the front, the chief 32MP, f/2.45 snapper is accompanied by an 8MP, 105-degree ultra-wide-camera, which comes in useful when taking group selfies.
The main camera is a solid offering, capable of capturing nicely detailed selfies, with HDR ensuring they don’t expect overly vivid or dark.
Switch to portrait mode on the chief front-facing photographic camera and the Nord does well to define the foreground and groundwork, although the blurring around your field of study isn’t quite as neat every bit that applied by the rear camera.
If you’re with friends or family, or only have a beautiful vista behind you that you lot want to include in your selfie, you tin switch to the ultra-wide camera.
While this does let yous to capture more of what’due south around you, the images it produces are a little darker and more muted than those from the chief sensor. At that place’s also no choice of portrait mode on this wider view.
OnePlus has built in a quick-share role to the camera app, assuasive you to easily share your snaps on your most frequented social apps.
Just tap and hold on the paradigm gallery icon in the camera app to bring upwardly a cycle of apps y’all can instantly share the photo with.
OnePlus Nord review: camera samples
OnePlus Nord review: battery life
- 4,115mAh bombardment with fast charging, just no wireless support
- Lasts a twenty-four hours on a single charge, but don’t expect more than than that
- Warp Charge 30T gets you from 0% to 70% in 30 minutes
The OnePlus Nord comes with a 4,115mAh battery, which is a reasonable size and will requite you lot a mean solar day of regular employ from fully charged. Bombardment life overall is adequate, but information technology could be meliorate.
The Nord lasts longer than the new iPhone SE, near the same as the iPhone XR, but not as long as the OnePlus eight or 8 Pro.
With full general use, which included four to v of hours of music streaming, three hours of calorie-free gaming, regular email and social media usage, a couple of calls, some camera action and numerous text conversations, we were getting to bed at around 11pm virtually nights with the battery pct in the teens, having taken the telephone off charge at around 7am.
If you watch a lot of video on your telephone, enjoy extended gaming sessions, or play a lot of graphically intensive titles such every bit Fortnite and PUBG, the OnePlus Nord will need a acme-upward come mid-afternoon.
On lighter usage days, where nosotros cut downwards our gaming and social media usage, the OnePlus Nord would make it through the 7am to 11pm stretch with around xxx% of juice left.
What y’all’re non going to become from the OnePlus Nord battery is multi-day use from a single charge, so y’all’ll want to keep the charging cable to paw on a daily footing.
There’south back up for OnePlus’ Warp Charge 30T charging, which gets you from 0% to 70% in 30 minutes using the arranged cable and power adapter in the box. This does work, and it’s useful if you’re near to caput out on a long journey and need to juice-up the Nord quickly before leaving.
There’s no wireless charging support however – it’s some other expanse where some corners had to be cut in order to keep the toll down.
OnePlus Nord review: performance and software
- Snapdragon 765G plus 8GB/128GB and 12GB/256GB configurations
- Comes with 5G support
- Two years of software updates, three years of security updates
Nether the hood, Qualcomm’south Snapdragon 765G chipset sits at the heart of the OnePlus Nord, and while it’southward not the aforementioned flagship chip as found in the 8-series phones, it performs well hither, every bit it has in other handsets such as the LG Velvet and Motorola Edge.
The 765G is complimented by a decent slug of RAM besides, with 8GB and 12GB variants of the OnePlus Nord available.
This makes for a handset that’southward responsive under finger, with apps loading quickly, and the Nord handles HDR video playback and intensive games with aplomb for a mid-range smartphone.
We were able to play PUBG with Hard disk drive Graphics with the frame rate set to high (HDR and Ultra Hard disk drive modes were unavailable), and y’all tin besides opt to switch on OnePlus’ Fanatic Manner, which channels more than power to your gaming experience, switches on ‘do non disturb’ and then that notifications don’t appear in front of gameplay, and prioritizes betoken to the game to reduce latency.
The 90Hz refresh rate display on the OnePlus Nord also enhances gameplay, providing sleeker graphics and motion in games, as well as improving the overall feel of using OnePlus’ Oxygen OS 10.five interface, which sits over the top of Android 10.
With a high refresh rate similar this, scrolling becomes polish, with no stutter every bit y’all picture through Twitter and Instagram feeds.
Yous can drib the refresh rate down to 60Hz, which means things will be less smooth – although, if you’re upgrading from a handset which is a few years old, the likelihood is yous’re already accustomed to this – but more than importantly, it will also extend battery life a niggling.
As for raw power, unsurprisingly the OnePlus Nord doesn’t friction match its flagship siblings, with our 12GB of RAM model averaging a multi-core score of 1,877 on Geekbench 5. That’southward considerably lower than the 12GB RAM versions of the OnePlus 8 (three,401) and OnePlus 8 Pro (3,305), both of which pack the Snapdragon 865 chipset.
It shows that if y’all practise opt for the more expensive OnePlus handsets you’re getting more power, which in turn will provide a slicker user experience, and better handling of intensive tasks.
We as well ran the benchmarking app on the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition (Snapdragon 855+, GB) and OnePlus vi (Snapdragon 845, 8GB), and both scored better than the Nord, at two,677 and 2,232 respectively.
CPU benchmarks only tell part of the story though, and the software and hardware integration on the OnePlus Nord is very good, meaning that for many users the OnePlus Nord operation will be more than sufficient.
Of form, you’ll demand space to store all your apps, games, photos and video, and the adept news here is that the Nord comes well equipped in this section, as information technology mirrors the OnePlus viii Pro for RAM besides as storage offerings.
The 8GB RAM model gets you 128GB storage, which is first-class for the cost indicate – the entry-level iPhone SE is more than expensive, and you get just 64GB. Our review handset was the 128GB / 256GB model, with around 236GB of that storage available for you to utilise.
128GB (and thus the cheaper OnePlus Nord) will likely be more than enough for many, and the additional RAM in the 256GB Nord is probable to only come into its own during intensive gaming sessions, so the differences between the two configurations won’t be discernible by nearly users.
The OnePlus Nord comes with 5G support, which means you can take advantage of next-generation network speeds when they become available in your area, if 5G hasn’t rolled out for y’all just even so.
Equally we’ve already mentioned, the Nord comes with Google’due south Android x operating arrangement, overlaid with OnePlus’ OxygenOS 10.5. This UI provides a wider assortment of customization options than stock Android, while retaining a familiar look and feel, and OnePlus says it too includes over 300 separate software optimizations.
We didn’t experience any obvious slowdown or problems during our two weeks using the OnePlus Nord, and that was after filling it up with apps, photos and videos, and spending many hours playing games and watching endless episodes of All or Naught, Good Girls and Community.
OnePlus promises that the Nord will get a minimum of two years (from launch engagement) of software updates – which means information technology’ll be in line for the Android 11 update and Android 12 in 2021 – plus three years of security updates.
In that location’s currently no give-and-take on when Android 11 will arrive on the OnePlus Nord, but nosotros’ll update this review when nosotros know. OnePlus has pushed out a few software updates to the handset since launch addressing minor issues including improvements to Bluetooth and voice call stability and macro camera image clarity.
Should I buy the OnePlus Nord?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
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Get-go reviewed: July 2020