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OnePlus Nord – The Mid-Range GameChanger

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
31st Aug 2020
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Oneplus Nord
Review Summary

OnePlus Nord comes as a great choice in that price segment where we could not really find any good smartphone. It is a premium mid-range device with a great value for money but not flawless to say. You get a OnePlus flagship experience to use the Oxygen OS with smooth transition and user interface at a great price. OnePlus Nord can stand in for hours with that battery capacity and superfast 30W fast charging. If you are in here for an out-of-the-box camera and picture quality, be ready to be a little disheartened. Same when it comes to hardcore gaming experience because of the not-so-good Snapdragon 765G chipset.

PROS
  • 90Hz refresh rate display
  • 5G enabled
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chipset
CONS
  • Unexpandable storage
  • Not made for heavy gaming
  • No wireless charging option
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
4115 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v10 (Q)
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.44 inches
Highlights:
  • No
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • 4115 mAh
  • Android v10 (Q)
Introduction

OnePlus, which once used to be a “Flagship Killer,” became a “Flagship” brand with its OnePlus 8 lineup of devices. Since then, the enthusiasts that brought the brand to where it is today ended up discouraging the new move where the brand was offering premium devices but at premium prices. For those who were expecting affordable premium experience, OnePlus ended up launching a whole new lineup dubbed OnePlus Nord.

Read More: Smartphone Reviews

The hype around the smartphone was insane, and it has to be since the Chinese smartphone maker teased the device for months. Well, it’s finally the time to see whether the hype surrounding the device is real or not. That is what we’re going to find out in this comprehensive review of OnePlus Nord.

 

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

OnePlus Nord comes in three memory configurations and each of them with a different price tag. Just like other OnePlus smartphones, the Nord is also exclusively available on Amazon India. Well, the Chinese smartphone maker is going with weekly sales. There are two available colour options, namely Blue Marble and Gray Onyx.

  • 6GB+64GB – INR 24,999
  • 8GB+128GB – INR 27,999
  • 12GB+256GB – INR 29,999

When writing this, the base 6GB RAM variant is not available since it will be arriving at the online stores from September.

Box Contents

OnePlus Nord, on the first looks, comes in. a premium packaging with Black and Blue box. Right after you unseal the package, you get to see:

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

 

Specs at a glance

Before talking about the device in a bit more depth, let’s look at crucial specifications first.

  • Display: 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED panel, 1080×2400 pixels, 408PPI, 90Hz, HDR10+
  • Processor: Snapdragon 765G (7nm), octa-core, Adreno 620 GPU
  • Memory & storage: up to 12GB RAM, up to 256GB storage
  • Software: Android 10, OxygenOS 10.5.4
  • Rear cameras: Quad module 48MP+8MP+5MP+2MP
  • Selfie camera: dual module 32MP+8MP
  • Battery: 4,115 mAh capacity, 30W fast charging
  • Build: Gorilla Glass 5 on front & back, plastic frame
  • Weight: 184 gram
  • Dimensions: 3×73.3×8.2 mm

oneplus-nord-specs

These are the key highlights of the smartphone. With that cleared out of the way, let’s dive deep into each aspect of the smartphone and see whether the hype surrounding is worth it or not.

Design and Build

When it comes to design, the OnePlus Nord follows all the modern aspects that you will see, such as punch-hole cutout, thin bezels, quad-camera module, and clean look. On the back, you will find a pill-shaped camera module on the top left corner, which seems to have a decent bump. Apart from the cameras, the back only includes the company’s logo and branding. We were expecting to see a glass-framed smartphone with Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both the back and front at this price tag.

 

oneplus-nord-side

Even though the smartphone is built of plastic with a shiny plastic frame, the OnePlus Nord still feels pretty solid in hand. Of course, the build quality is not equivalent to those of aluminium and metal frame structure, but that’s what you’re going to get at this price tag. Coming to the buttons, we’re looking at the volume rocker on the left side while the power button and ringer slider are on the right. All the buttons feel tactical and tight without any sign of wobbliness. Lastly, you will find a speaker, Type-C port, and dual-SIM card tray at the bottom.

oneplus-nord-design

As mentioned earlier, OnePlus Nord comes in two different colour options and the Blue Marble looks unique and striking. With that said, we have no issues with the device’s build quality, and considering the price tag, you should also not have any complaints. It is worth noting that there is no official IP rating on the smartphone. We decided to clear this up, considering the hype surrounding the device.

 

Display

A display is one of the most crucial aspects of any smartphone – it’s the part that you will be using almost all the time. OnePlus Nord is equipped with a 6.44-inch Full HD+ Fluid AMOLED panel with an aspect ratio of 20:9. The Fluid here is used because the display comes with a 90Hz refresh rate. Thanks to the high-refresh rate, the software experience is pretty fluid, smooth, and responsive. The 90Hz panel alone makes the entire experience snappy.

 

oneplus-nord-display

While OnePlus has partnered with popular games such as PUBG Mobile and Fortnite to bring 90fps gameplay experience, OnePlus Nord is sadly not a part of the program. The device should soon get the support for that as well. Whenever that happens, the gaming experience will be quite fluid. For added protection, there is a Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The display is also HDR10+ certified, meaning the content consumption is going to be a substantial experience.

OnePlus Nord comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor, which unsurprisingly is quick and accurate. It is safe to assume that Nord might have the fastest under-display fingerprint sensor at this price range. With that said, Display is indeed one of the strongest points of the OnePlus Nord smartphone, and we have no complaints in this department.

Performance

Under the hood, OnePlus Nord is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset paired with up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB onboard memory.  The chipset is not the flagship so the performance will be slower than the OnePlus 8. The Snapdragon 765G is a capable chipset and can handle all your gaming needs with a charm. While the chipset does have the “G” for gaming in it, Nord is still not a gaming smartphone, so if you’re into that, you should look elsewhere.

 

oneplsu-nord-performance

Back to the performance, the overall experience was snappy, which is expected from a brand like OnePlus. Thanks to the optimized software, multitasking was indeed a breeze, and there was no noticeable lag in our daily usage. You have a bunch of memory configurations to choose from. We prefer the sweet middle spot of 8GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage. If you want to save up a few bucks, you have a base 6GB RAM option.

Also Read: OnePlus 8 Review

If you’re expecting a flagship-level performance, then you will be disappointed. The device again is a mid-ranger, so a mid-ranger performance is what you’re going to get. In the real-time user case scenario, you should not face any significant performance issues.

Software

One of the aspects of any OnePlus smartphone is the OxygenOS. The Nord comes with an Android 10 operating system with OxygenOS 10.5.4 custom skin on top. If you’re already aware of OnePlus, you already know everything about the software — the near-stock Android experience with a clean user interface and some added useful features. OxygenOS comes packed with a bunch of customizations options.

oneplus nord software

You can customize fingerprint animations, battery icons, quick gestures, fonts, and much more. You can even make use of third-party system-wide icon packs, which is a very nifty addition. OnePlus offers one of the best Android experiences out there, and the same follows with this mid-ranger as well.

Read More: OxygenOS 11 Preview and Key Features

To sum up, the smartphone offers a capable performance, and the software experience is top-notch as expected. Both of them, when combined, give you snappy user experience. For the casual gamers out there, the Nord is a perfect option out there.

Cameras

OnePlus Nord comes with a quad rear camera module featuring 48MP primary sensor (f/1.8), an 8MP ultrawide lens (f/2.3), 2MP macro lens (f/2.4) and 5MP depth sensor (f/2.4). There is a dual selfie module featuring a 32MP primary lens (f/2.5) and an 8MP ultrawide lens (f/2.5) for selfies and video calling.

oneplus-nord-camera

 

With all the hype around the smartphone, the cameras were more of a disappointment to us. The 48MP primary sensor clicks acceptable images with a decent amount of sharpness and detail. The colours seem to be a bit washed out in most of the pictures, and there was a bit issue with the contrast as well. We tried clicking numerous shots with the primary sensor, and all of them left us disappointed in one way or another.

Coming to the 8MP ultrawide lens, the quality of the images further drops. We see a lack of sharpness, incorrect noise reduction, and more. We tried our luck with the Portrait lens as well, and well, it was again a mere setback. The edge detection was inaccurate, and we saw that happening in almost all the shots. There is a Macro lens as well for clicking close-up shots, which we tried during our daily usage. Well, we again got poor quality shots.

nord camera sample

When we tried clicking selfies, the result was slightly better sometimes and miserable the other times. From dynamic range to contrast levels, everything was on the average and a slightly above-average side. In conclusion, OnePlus Nord dropped the ball in the camera department. If the cameras are a significant factor for you, then Nord is not right for you, and we recommend you look somewhere else.

 

nord-camera-1

Battery

OnePlus Nord is powered by a 4,115 mAh battery capacity packed inside with the support of the 30W Wrap Charge 30T fast charging technology solution. Thanks to the Snapdragon 765G SoC, the power consumption is on the lower side, which results in better battery performance. On a single charge, the device can easily last you for an entire day, and most of the time, we even had 10-20% of juice left, which is good.

Our daily usage looks something like this – WiFi and Bluetooth always on, lots of social media browsing, casual browsing on YouTube, a bit of Netflix, and long hours of music playback. The device comes with a 30W fast charging support meaning you can charge your phone from zero to 100% in just 57 minutes.

When it comes to the battery backup and charging speed, OnePlus Nord is a pretty solid smartphone and can last you an entire day even if you’re a heavy user. The fast-charging solutions come in handy when you need more battery but in a shorter period.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

OnePlus Nord gets an in-display fingerprint sensor which is quicker than ever along with support for face unlock as well.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • 90Hz refresh rate display
  • 5G enabled
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chipset

Cons:

  • Unexpandable storage
  • Not made for heavy gaming
Verdict
While OnePlus tried to create a massive hype surrounding its all-new Nord lineup, the end-product does not live up to the expectations. With the Nord lineup, the Chinese smartphone maker claimed to offer something new that will deliver a “new beginnings.” Well, to be honest, OnePlus Nord is just another mid-range smartphone that manages to excel in a few aspects. The software aspect has always been the strong point of any OnePlus smartphone, and the same continues with the Nord smartphone as well. The display used on this device is top-notch, and you will love consuming content on it. The performance is on the mid-range side and should not bother unless and until you’re an extreme smartphone user. The gaming was pretty decent, and we didn’t face any issue with that as well. The only big downside of owning an OnePlus Nord is going to be the cameras. Both the front as well as the rear have managed to disappoint us a lot. We will not recommend this smartphone to a person who prefers to have an excellent camera performance. In our opinion, the only reason buying an OnePlus Nord makes sense is its OxygenOS software, battery backup, and a 90Hz display panel.


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