OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is the latest addition to the company’s ‘core-edition’ smartphone lineup. It features upgrades in terms of look, performance, and charging. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 has a lot going for it for a smartphone that focuses on core competencies. The Nord CE 2 has great features and a good camera at an attractive price — and it also looks stunning too.
All big companies currently have competitive offerings, the most recent being the Realme 9 Pro Plus (review), which includes a flagship-grade primary camera. So how does it stack up against its feature-packed midrange competitors? Let’s have a look.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Prices in India, Variants, Availability
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G with 6GB/128GB storage is priced at Rs 23,999. Furthermore, an 8GB/128GB storage model is available for Rs 24,999. The new OnePlus smartphone will be available for purchase on Amazon, the official OnePlus website, as well as other retail partners. The phone comes in two different colour options: Gray Mirror and Bahama Blue.
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OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Box Contents
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G comes with the following items inside the box:
- 65W SUPERVOOC power adapter
- USB Cable
- Phone case
- Screen protector (pre-applied)
- SIM tray ejector
- Brand sticker
- Quick start guide
- Safety information and warranty card
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.43 inches AMOLED
- Chipset: MediaTek Dimensity 900
- RAM & ROM: 6GB RAM 128GB Storage, 8GB RAM 128GB Storage
- Software: Android v11
- Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP
- Selfie camera: 16 MP
- Battery: 4500 mAh
- Weight: 173 grams
- Dimensions: 160.6 x 73.2 x 7.8 mm
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Design and Build
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G has a somewhat more premium feel than the Nord CE. In terms of design, it appears that the company was inspired by the Oppo Reno 7, as they both look similar. OnePlus uses a backplate that appears and feels like glass, despite the fact that it’s made of plastic. This gives the phone a more premium feel. The phone is available in two colour options: Bahamas Blue and Gray Mirror.
The stunning Bahama Blue colour variant would surely appeal to people who prefer a more subtle design with a satisfying colour over dazzling back panels. Because the back panel has a glossy appearance, it easily attracts fingerprints. While Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protects the front panel, if your usage is a little hard and you don’t want to struggle with a fingerprint-magnetic rear panel, you may use the cover that OnePlus includes in the package. The camera island is merged with the rest of the backside and gradually rises, giving the phone a lovely, seamless unibody appearance.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is a slim, light device. This allows you to use the device with just one hand. The build quality of the Nord CE 2 is fantastic, and the buttons on the side provide good tactile feedback. I missed the Alert Slider, which is generally seen on more costly OnePlus phones. It’s wonderful to see OnePlus retaining the Nord CE 2’s headphone jack and microSD card slot. This audio jack, along with the single loudspeaker grille and Type-C charging slot, is located at the bottom edge.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Display
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G features a 6.43-inch Full-HD AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 90Hz. The colours are vibrant, and everything runs smoothly thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate. It supports HDR 10+ and has Widevine L1 for high-resolution content streaming on OTT apps. OnePlus lets you customise it to your liking, with dark mode, an eye comfort feature, the option to pick warm or cool colour temperatures, and the option to adjust the display to either vivid or sRGB.
The screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass 5. Again, this isn’t the top-tier protection, but it’ll keep most nicks and scratches at bay, and a pre-applied screen protector adds another layer of protection.
You also get the always-on display feature, as well as the option to customise the font and size. The bezels on the three sides are thin, but the chin at the bottom is quite wide. Apps that don’t take advantage of the high refresh rate option, like YouTube, are still viewed at 60Hz. The interface can also switch between 60Hz and 90Hz from time to time, apparently to save battery life. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G boasts a fantastic display that offers an amazing viewing experience. The colours stand out beautifully.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Performance
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset, which is paired with 6/8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Performance would never be a barrier with the OnePlus Nord CE, and the same goes with the CE 2. The Nord CE 2 is a reliable performer, especially for daily tasks.
I faced no lags or stutters when switching apps or multitasking. The user interface goes well, and casual games run smoothly as well. There’s enough strength for good mobile gaming as well, however, you won’t be able to play games with high graphics settings.
I was able to play games like Battlegrounds Mobile India, with HD graphics and High frame rate settings by default. I also tried Genshin Impact, a game with high graphic demand. As a result, the graphics were set to a low setting by default. The games were enjoyable in these settings.
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Even in fast-paced multiplayer games like Call of Duty: Mobile, I felt the touch response to be quite good. Of course, you won’t be getting a similar level of performance as you would with a high-end Android phone. However, when it comes to the various usual tasks you do on a smartphone, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G performs similarly.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Software
TheOnePlus Nord CE 2 5G runs OxygenOS 11.3, which is unfortunately based on Android 11 rather than Android 12. The fact that OnePlus is launching the new Nord CE 2 with an older Android version is a tad disappointing. The smartphone is eligible for two major operating system updates as well as three years of security updates.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G’s custom OxygenOS runs flawlessly. OxygenOS is a more polished and bloat-free edition of Android in my opinion. It offers a variety of customization options that users will like. It’s quick and simple to use, very much like Google’s Pixel smartphones’ stock Android experience.
The Camera Interface and the phone Settings are the two areas where you can clearly see the changes. OxygenOS is basically one of the best custom UIs since it is light, clean, smooth, has a fair number of features, and is not too complex.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Cameras
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G sports three cameras on the back: a 64MP main camera (f/1.8), an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens (f/2.2), and a 2MP macro lens (f/2.4). This is the exact layout as the initial Nord CE, as those keeping track will quickly point out. You will find a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the front.
The primary back camera can capture some good images in bright daylight with a lot of detail and clarity. The exposure and dynamic range are also excellent. OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G can take some good portrait photos, but it is hit-or-miss. The blur effect isn’t really good, and edge recognition isn’t great either. You do have the option to tweak the blur effect.
Even with the AI switched off, the ultra-wide-angle lens tends to oversaturate colours, and details were not quite sharp. You get nice shots only in good lighting environments. When the lighting is poor, dynamic range as well as exposure suffer, and details become fuzzy.
The macro camera is strictly average. It has low resolution and lacks autofocus, making close-ups shots tough. The macro camera shots were barely usable under suitable lighting, but don’t expect a lot.
The main camera’s low-light shots were fine, with good brightness and clarity using the night mode. It delivered brighter images with more information than the standard photo mode. Although some of the photos appear to be a little dull with noticeable noise in some areas.
The 16MP selfie camera took some really nice photos in both good and poor lighting. There are a few minor exposure issues, and portrait edge detection could be improved, but skin tones are realistic enough.
The back cameras on OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G can shoot 4k@30fps and 1080p@30/60fps videos, but the front camera can only record at 1080p@30/60fps. The phone does not support OIS and therefore relies on EIS. If you record in 4k, the videos may look shaky. So always use 1080p if you want nice and smooth videos.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Battery
Battery performance was quite good in my usage. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G boasts the same 4,500mAh battery as the Nord CE, but thanks to the superfast 65W SuperVOOC charger, you can charge it much faster. On paper, the 4,500mAh battery might look small, but it will easily get you through the day. A heavy user which uses the phone for long gaming sessions will likely have to charge it two times in a day.
But don’t worry even if you are a heavy user, the SuperVOOC charger stands with you. The 65W fast charging will charge your OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G from 0 to 100 per cent in around 45 minutes, which is great.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
The sound quality is acceptable. Although there are no stereo speakers, the sound is still loud and clear by smartphone standards. The presence of a 3.5mm audio jack is also helpful, as it allows the use of wired headphones without the need for a USB-C dongle. Although dual speakers would have improved the experience, you may use any wired headphones for a lag-free experience.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G features 8 5G bands, including n1, n3, n5, n8, n40, n41, n77, and n78. The phone also has Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC, so it’s very well-equipped in terms of connectivity.
Biometrics are handled by a fast and reliable in-display fingerprint reader. Users can also use face unlock which works well too.
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OnePlus has worked hard to make the Nord CE 2 5G a good all-rounder. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G offers good performance, beautiful daylight photos, and reasonable battery life, all in a well-built and attractive package. When you combine the clean interface with a number of customizability options, you have a phone that deserves consideration. The Nord CE 2 also appears to be well prepared for the future, with connectivity for eight 5G bands built-in, as well as an audio jack and memory expansion.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is definitely not perfect, and there are a few things that other smartphones in this category have that the OnePlus Nord CE 2 does not. These aren’t deal-breakers, but they would have been helpful. If you’re not a fan of OnePlus and want to explore around, there are some other options, like the Realme 9 Pro Plus.