Select City

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Review: Is the Cheapest OnePlus Phone Worth Your Money?

- Updated: 13th Oct 2023, 16:27 IST
  • 1
    Review Summary
  • 2
    Nord CE 3 Lite Price in India And Variants
  • 3
    Nord CE 3 Lite Box Contents
  • 4
    OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Specifications
  • 5
    OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Build & Design
  • 6
    OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Display & Sound
  • 7
    OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Performance & Gaming
  • 8
    OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Camera
  • 9
    OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Software Experience
  • 10
    OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Battery & Charging
  • 11
    Verdict
Review Summary

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is the cheapest smartphone with a OnePlus badge, and I have been using the phone for quite some time. The phone has a good design with a plastic back that feels comfortable to hold in the hand.

The 6.72-inch IPS LCD panel of the phone has a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, although I missed the deep blacks and vibrant colours of an AMOLED screen. The phone performs well in day-to-day use, but the Snapdragon 695 certainly has its limitations.

Its 108-megapixel triple camera setup can take decent shots in daylight but fails to live up to expectations in low-light scenarios. The 5,000mAh battery can easily last a day of regular use, and the 67W fast charger can quickly top up the phone within an hour.

The sub-Rs.20,000 smartphone market has been getting competitive lately, with offerings from brands like Motorola and Lava heating up the competition. In this highly crowded segment where even established phone makers have failed to make an impact, can OnePlus stand apart? Let’s answer this question and more in this OnePlus Nord CE Lite 3 review.

PROS

  • Good Design
  • Long Lasting Battery 
  • Fast 67W charging
  • Clean Software experience
  • 120Hz refresh rate

CONS

  • Average Cameras
  • LCD display
  • No support for HDR video playback
  • No 4K video recording
Key Specs
Battery Capacity5000 mAh
Operating SystemAndroid v13
Screen Size6.72 inches
Highlights:
  • 5000 mAh

  • Android v13

  • 6.72 inches

Nord CE 3 Lite Price in India And Variants

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G starts at a price of Rs.19,999 in India for the 128GB variant. There is another variant with 256GB of storage, which costs Rs.21,999.

Both variants have 8GB of RAM, and the phone is available in Chromatic Gray and Pastel Lime colours. It is available for sale on Amazon, Flipkart, and the OnePlus India website.

Nord CE 3 Lite Box Contents

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite has the following items in the box:

  • Phone
  • 80W SUPERVOOC Power Adapter
  • Type-C Cable (supports USB 2.0)
  • Phone Case
  • SIM Tray Ejector
  • Welcome Letter
  • Brand Sticker
  • Quick Guide
  • Red Cable Club Membership Card
  • Safety Guide

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Specifications

Before we talk in detail about the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite review, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:

  • Display: 6.72 inches IPS LCD
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695
  • RAM & ROM: 8GB 128GB, 8GB 256GB
  • Software: Oxygen OS 13.1
  • Rear camera: 108MP + 2MP + 2MP
  • Selfie camera: 16MP
  • Weight: 195 grams
  • Dimensions: 165.5 x 76 x 8.3 mm

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Build & Design

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite has a boxy design with a brushed finish on the sides. The back of the phone is made of plastic, making it prone to fingerprints and smudges. Despite the plastic build, the phone is comfortable to hold in hand and lightweight, weighing just 195 grams. It has two large circular cameras at the back, similar to the Realme 10 Pro. I have the Chromatic Gray variant for review, which looks more black than grey.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Design

Check Out: Vivo V29 Review – Made For Photophiles

Two circular camera lenses on the back house the phone’s triple camera setup and are accompanied by an LED flash. The back of the phone has curved edges, and you get a OnePlus logo at the centre of the phone. It has a minimalist and premium look in line with the company’s more expensive phones.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Left

Coming to the placements and ports, you get the volume buttons and the SIM tray on the right. There is a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button on the right. The top of the phone has a secondary microphone, while the bottom has a 3.5mm headphone jack, speakers and a USB-C port for charging.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Right

Unlike other OnePlus phones, you don’t get the iconic alert slider, which is a bit disappointing but understandable due to its pricing. The side-mounted fingerprint reader is fast and easy to use, and the face-unlock feature is equally snappy. I also liked that the device has a dedicated micro-SD card slot, which is a rarity in phones these days.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Display & Sound

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite has a large 6.72-inch IPS LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen has a peak brightness of 680 nits outdoors and a pixel density of 391 ppi. The screen has Asahi Dragontrail glass for protection instead of Corning Gorilla Glass, generally found on phones. Although I did not notice any scratches during my use, the phone felt durable enough.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Display-1

Although there are plenty of phones with AMOLED displays in this segment, this one still has an LCD panel, which might be a deal breaker for some. OnePlus has used a good-quality LCD panel that can showcase rich and vibrant colours.

Although I found the default colour setting a bit warm for my liking, I was able to change it in the Display Settings easily. The screen was bright enough to be used indoors, and I faced no problems.

However, I wish it had more brightness outdoors, as legibility under harsh sunlight can be an issue. The bezels on the screen are respectable for the price segment, and there is a punch-hole cutout akin to other phones in this range. I enjoyed watching episodes of “The Continental” on Prime Video thanks to the phone’s large display.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Refresh Rate

Thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, navigating through the UI is a breeze whether you are scrolling through Instagram reels or playing casual games like Brawl Stars. You can switch between 60Hz and 120Hz in the Settings.

OnePlus seems to have implemented an “adaptive refresh rate” through software where the phone dials it back to 60Hz when idle. This is great if you want a smooth experience without compromising your battery life.

Check Out: Redmi 12 5G Review – Best 5G Phone In Budget?

One thing to note is that the phone does not support HDR, and playback on YouTube is restricted to 1080p. This is mainly due to the limitations of the chipset, which we will discuss in the performance section. The screen is great for consuming content, but you will undoubtedly miss an AMOLED screen’s deep black and vibrant colours.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Display

The phone has a stereo speaker setup with a speaker grille at the bottom and the earpiece acting as the secondary speaker.OnePlus has done a fantastic job here, and the speakers are loud enough to fill an entire room.

There is also a 200 per cent mode that further boosts the volume of the phone. I also like that OnePlus has retained the 3.5mm headphone jack, which I found helpful during my intense BGMI sessions.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Performance & Gaming

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is powered by the Snapdragon 695 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. Furthermore, you can expand the storage up to 1TB via the micro-SD card slot. There is also a RAM Expansion feature that allows you to extend the RAM up to 8 GB.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Oxygen OS

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite RAM Expansion

The phone is smooth for day-to-day usage, and I did not face any stutters or lags during everyday use, which included scrolling through Twitter, checking emails, listening to songs on Spotify and streaming videos on YouTube. Most apps I opened remained running in the background, although the memory management in OxygenOS was sometimes aggressive.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Gaming

When it comes to gaming, the phone can easily handle casual games with ease. You can even play games like BGMI at Smooth and Ultra or COD Mobile at High and Max frame rates. I enjoyed playing Asphalt 9 at High settings. The phone did not get warm even during intense gaming sessions, and I did not face any frame drops or lags.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Benchmarks

Moreover, it also performed well in benchmarks with a Geekbench score of 910 in single-core and 2102 in multi-core. It only throttled to 92 per cent of its peak performance in the CPU throttling test.

Check Out: Apple iPhone 14 Long-Term Review – One Year Old, Still As Good As New

However, the Snapdragon 695 chipset certainly has some limitations regarding video recording and playback. You cannot play or record 4K videos, and there is no support for HDR video playback. This is disappointing as other phones in this segment have no such issues.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Camera

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite has a triple camera setup on the back with a 108-megapixel primary sensor. In addition, there is a 2-megapixel depth sensor and a 2-megapixel macro lens. The phone’s camera can take decent daylight photos with ample details, but it can sometimes be dull, resulting in poor dynamic range.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Camera

The pictures can sometimes be oversharpened, resulting in grainy shots when zoomed in. There is also an Ultra-HD mode that can shoot pictures in 108-megapixel, but the output isn’t impressive, and it’s better to take photos in the normal 12-megapixel mode instead.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Light Daylight shots

At night, the images have a lot of noise, and the phone often misses out on important details. The Night Mode can reduce this to an extent, but capturing a photo in this mode takes much time. The 2-megapixel macro and depth sensor are only good on paper, and their output is unusable. There is also the option for 3x digital zoom, which crops a photo using the primary sensor.

Check More: Samsung Galaxy M34 Review – Massive Battery For All-Day Gaming

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Night Shots

Video recording on the phone is limited to 1080p at 30 FPS, and there is no support for OIS. The video output is average, and the EIS doesn’t seem to make much difference in terms of stabilisation. The video output is shaky, and it is recommended that you use a gimbal if you want steady shots. Videos are decent during the daytime but fail to impress during low-light conditions.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Selfie Camera Sample

The 16-megapixel selfie camera can capture good photos with accurate skin tones and details. However, the output is average under low-light, often missing the details on the subject’s face. With future software updates, I hope OnePlus can optimise the primary camera’s output. If you are looking for a camera-centric phone, it’s best to look elsewhere.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Software Experience

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite runs on Oxygen OS 13.1 based on Android 13. It offers the same Oxygen OS experience as other OnePlus phones, which is good. Unlike other phones in the price segment, there are no ads or bloatware apps preinstalled on the device, which is good.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Software

However, there are a few apps, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Spotify, which most people use daily. First-party apps like OnePlus Community, Clone Phone, OnePlus Store, O Relax, and Zen Space also come preinstalled. However, you can disable some of the apps from the settings.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Preinstalled apps

You get the typical Oxygen OS features like Smart Sidebar, Flexible Windows, Quick Return, Split Screen, Kids Space, Simple mode and Zen Space. I liked the Smart Sidebar feature, which helped me check my WhatsApp in a floating window while watching Spy Family Season 2 on YouTube.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Features

OnePlus provides timely security updates, and the phone received the September security patch as I booted it for the first time. The company promises two years of Android updates and three years of security updates for the device.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Quick Settings

The phone has a RAM expansion feature that allows you to use the internal storage as virtual RAM and expand it up to 8 GB. Overall, I enjoyed the OxygenOS experience and did not feel like I was using a budget smartphone.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Battery & Charging

The phone packs a 5,000mAh battery, which can easily last an entire day. You can easily expect up to 6 to 7 hours of screen time with normal usage. If you are a light user, this phone can easily last up to 2 days. However, heavy users might need to charge the device before the end of the day.

OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite Battery

There is support for 67W SuperVOOC charging, which can fully charge your phone within 1 hour. This charging speed is better than the competition, and kudos to OnePlus for including an 80W fast charger in the box.

Verdict

The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite manages to get the basics right with a decent performance, good software experience and a long-lasting battery life. However, the camera and the display are average for the price, with the competition offering better AMOLED screens and photography experience.

If you are looking for the cheapest phone with a OnePlus badge, then the Nord CE 3 Lite is the way to go. Otherwise, phones like the Motorola Moto G84, Poco X5 Pro and the Lava Agni 2 will offer you a much better experience for the same price.



Tips & Tricks

How Do You Use Optimised Battery Charging For macOS?
3rd Dec 2023
Clear DNS Cache On Mac: Here’s How!
29th Nov 2023
How To Avoid Annoying Group Messages On WhatsApp Without Blocking People
16th Nov 2023
How To Clean Your Air Purifiers: DIY With These Easy Steps
14th Nov 2023
Factors To Consider Before You Buy New Air Purifier
12th Nov 2023