OnePlus Nord - Review/Design/look/Price/Specification/Performance/Battery/Camera/Conclusion/

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord Review

     It's been a few days since OnePlus officially launched the Nord, and it fits into today's mid-tier smartphone segment. The OnePlus Nord starts at Rs. 24,999 for the 64GB Amazon-exclusive version, but it only goes on sale in September. If you don't want to wait, you have the option of high-priced variants that will be available from August 4. The good news is that there is no difference of Rs 30,000 in the top-end variants, and this is what we will test today.

OnePlus Nord comes at a very suitable time of Rs 27,999. Given the current global economic downturn due to the epidemic, it makes sense to me that consumers should be more cautious about splurging on new phones. Budget or mid-range phones that offer some major level of features are really the need of the hour. Secondly, at the time of this review, the OnePlus Nord is the only 5G-ready smartphone priced below Rs 30,000. I think these factors together put the OnePlus Nord in a very profitable position.

So does Nord deserve the publicity that OnePlus is producing for it? Can it really provide the same usage experience as its more expensive siblings? let's find out.

Design, Display and Look

I have spoken at length about the design of the OnePlus Nord in my first impressions, and after using it for a long period, not much has changed. OnePlus has deliberately used a different design on the Nord, to differentiate it from the OnePlus 8 at Rs 39,999 (review) and the OnePlus 8 Pro at Rs 54,999 (review). I'm guessing that the way Apple designed the iPhone SE (Review) won't revive the old-fashioned way, which wouldn't have gone down well with the Android crowd.

Some aspects of the design of the OnePlus Nord have some similarities with the phones of Oppo and Realme, and I'm not surprised that they are all part of the same family. It is still recognizable as a modern OnePlus phone, as it has a similar layout for the alert slider, buttons and ports, and no lens jack.

The build quality is very good for phones with polycarbonate bodies. There is Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, which assures. I quite like the color of blue marble on the Nord unit, which I am using, as it looks fresh. There is also a more subdued gray onyx color.

There is no option to expand internal storage on the OnePlus Nord, as the SIM tray only supports two nano-SIM cards. This should not be a problem on the 128GB and 256GB variants, but those purchasing the 64GB variant may lack storage after a year or so depending on usage. If you sign up for its Red Cable Club then OnePlus offers 50GB of free cloud storage for a year.

OnePlus smartphones are known for their AMOLED displays and I am happy to see that this is not compromised by the low-priced OnePlus Nord. The edges of the display are not curved like they are on the OnePlus 8, but there is a cutout for two selfie cameras instead of one. The screen is 6.44 inches, and has a full-HD + resolution (1080x2400) with a 90Hz refresh rate. If necessary, you also get the usual options to tweak the colors and tie the camera hole to the black bar.

Unlike the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, the OnePlus Nord's display has no color accuracy certificate, but it does support HDR 10+. It is a nice looking panel overall, with dark black and perforated colors. There is a slight change in color tone on the white background, which I noticed initially and it did not go away even after a few updates. Nevertheless, you have to be a real astral observer to notice it.

The OnePlus Nord ships with the usual set of accessories that we expect from the OnePlus phones. There is a silicone bumper case, a Type-C cable, a fast charger, and of course, stickers.


OnePlus Nord is one of the first few phones to be launched in India with Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC. This new chip was announced last year with the flagship Snapdragon 865 SoC, but has only just started making its way into phones. The SoC features an integrated Qualcomm X52 5G modem and is built on a 7nm process. It promises better processing capabilities and up to 30 percent faster graphics rendering than the Snapdragon 730G.

Regarding the 5G, there is a slight difference in the OnePlus Nord model sold in India, other countries. The Indian version of the OnePlus Nord supports only the N78 5G band, which supports more bands than the European version. This means that you may have some compatibility issues with service providers abroad that do not work on the N78 band.

In India, OnePlus is offering three variants of Nord. There is an Amazon-exclusive version with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on the price of Rs. 24,999; The price of this smartphone with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage is Rs.  27,999. The price of 12GB RAM with 256GB storage costs you Rs. 29,999.

OnePlus Nord has a thickness of 8.2 mm and weighs 184 grams. You get support for navigation systems including NFC, Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 5.1, and Navigation. The phone has a single super-linear speaker, in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock authentication at the bottom. Nord has no official IP certification, so I'd be a little wary of the water around it. With the Warp Charge 30T fast charging, you also get a large-sized 4,115mAh battery.

OnePlus experience will not be complete without OxygenOS. I was using version 10.5.2 at the time of this review, which has a July security patch. Nord received some updates over the week, which I reviewed. The interface and features are similar to those you find on the flagship OnePlus phone. There are options to customize Zen mode, a built-in screen recorder and ambient display, fingerprint animation, etc. OnePlus has also promised a two-year software update and three-year security update for Nord.

There are some software changes in OnePlus Nord compared to other phones of OnePlus. The biggest one is to use Google's share dialer and messaging application instead of OxygenOS itself. OnePlus was not very clear on the exact reason for the change when asked about it, but simply stated that based on its research, it was felt that the typical mid-tier smartphone buyer would be more comfortable with Google's solution. I have no problem with Google's share apps, but it's a shame that Nord users won't get to experience the India-specific features that OnePlus has added to their dialer and messaging apps over the years.

Another small addition has been made to the camera app. Now you can share the last photo taken by you only by long pressing the preview and choose the app to share it.


According to OnePlus, the Nord is going to have the same fluid and fast response as its flagship phone, and I must say, it works great. With regular use, I found it difficult to tell exactly the difference between the OnePlus Nord and OnePlus 8. The interface felt very intimidating, apps were loaded and quickly closed, and jumping between apps was fairly straightforward. Touch sampling rates are said to have increased from 120Hz to 180Hz on the OnePlus 7 Pro. However, it is still lower than the 8 Series' 240Hz touch sampling rate.

The Snapdragon 765G is a very solid performance, and Nord has posted strong numbers in some benchmarks I've run. At AnTuTu it scored 3,29,345 points, Geekbench returned 611 and 1,919 points in single-core and multi-core tests respectively, and 3DMark Slingshot scored 4,608. While these numbers may generally be better than a Snapdragon 730G, they will still be lower than phones powered by last year's Snapdragon 855+ SoC, as proven by the Realme X3 (review) at Rs. 23,999 by SuperZoom. Also available in this price segment.

OnePlus Nord did a pretty good job using today's graphical demand titles such as Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile, the highest visual settings in each title. The gameplay was smooth and I didn't notice any unusual heat. The Fortnite did well in the 'Epic' quality preset, but for some reason, the frame rate was capped at 45fps. There is no 90fps support for now, like you get with the OnePlus 8 Series.

The in-display fingerprint sensor worked very well, and all it took was a quick tap to unlock the phone. I also found the facial recognition equally sharp and comfortable.

The videos on the performance of the OnePlus Nord looked great, especially HDR videos streamed using YouTube and Netflix. The single speaker is very loud on the Nord, thanks to Dirac's software enhancements.

I used the OnePlus Nord for a week, and its battery life was very solid. I could easily go for half a day and on one charge. It drained quickly while playing a lot of games and using the camera, but I was still worth a full day's use. In our video loop test, the OnePlus Nord ran for about 14.5 hours, which is a fairly good time.

On average, I think most people would be happy with the mileage emanating from a single charge. When you're running low, the bundled charger is capable of carrying the battery up to about 93 percent of an hour, which is quite fast.

Camera and Image Quality

Cameras are another area where OnePlus could skimp, but it did not. The OnePlus Nord has a total of six cameras - four rear and two front. The main rear camera is exactly what you will get with OnePlus 8. The company has also put optical stabilization, which is good to see. The other three have an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. In my opinion a higher resolution would be more useful for macros. For the selfie, you get a primary 32-megapixel Sony IMX616 camera and an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera.

The camera app looks and functions very similar to the OnePlus 8-series phones. All shooting modes are at the bottom, with buttons for flash, timer, resolution, macro mode and filters at the top. OnePlus, along with German photographer Hannes Becker, have created special filters for OnePlus Nord. Buttons are easily accessible in the viewfinder to switch between primary and wide-angle cameras.

In broad daylight, the main rear camera on the OnePlus Nord captures good pictures. I found that the details were generally good in landscape shots, colors were well saturated, and HDR worked well. The dynamic range felt slightly lacking compared to the OnePlus 8 and in many instances, there were not enough details in the darker areas of the photos. The main camera saves 12-megapixel oversampered photos by default, but you can also choose to shoot at full resolution.

The wide-angle camera captured relatively weak details, but it worked well with colors and HDR. There is no optical zoom on the Nord. Instead, you can digitally zoom up to 10x using the main camera, but the quality deteriorates very quickly. The close-up looked good in daylight, with good details, but at times the colors looked overrated. I found that the autofocus system is quite fast.

For portrait shots, the OnePlus Nord can simulate shallow depth of field using the primary camera, although the level of blur cannot be adjusted. You can choose from two approaches in this mode. The macro camera worked well, but it is not very good, and was only useful when we had a good amount of ambient light around the subject.

Low-light photos turned out decent, with strong enough light sources all around. In very dark scenes, I had to use Nightscape. The problem with OnePlus's Night Mode on the Nord is that although it can be quite effective at illuminating a photo, it is also meant to lighten textures and flat shadows, which I don't want to trade-off. The wide-angle camera really struggles to capture usable shots in low light unless you use Nightscape.

I think the selfie camera on the OnePlus Nord is a much bigger thing than those on the back. It's fun that OnePlus Nord can shoot 4K 60fps video with a selfie camera, while flagship 8 and 8 Pro smartphones are stuck at 1080p. In broad daylight, the primary camera captured very good details, the skin tone looked good, and the HDR was handled well. Nord tries to take selfies very fast, but you can set the beauty filter to level one and take the edge. In low light, details were encountered and overall quality was fairly average.

By default the selfie is captured at full 32-megapixel resolution, although if you go to portrait mode, the phone saves 8-megapixel shots. The wide-angle front camera is a thoughtful addition, but I wish OnePlus had slightly improved its color profile. Apart from the lower levels of detail, images usually had a light red color to them. In low-light shots, colors usually look muted, but at least this camera still managed to capture decently bright images.

Coming into the video, we start with the rear cameras. The OnePlus Nord can shoot up to 4K 30fps with main and wide-angle cameras, but you'll have to switch to the one you want before you start recording. According to OnePlus there is no 4K 60fps option, as the Nord had some heating issues in the testing phase, which is why this capability was dropped.

When shooting at 4K 30fps, the video had a neutral color tone during the day, colors were vivid, and stabilization was smooth. The footage from the wide-angle camera was relatively grainy and I noticed a slight flicker as a result of trying to stabilize the video. The Super Stable mode is also believed to further improve stabilization, but the quality is not great.

In low light, the OnePlus Nord manages fairly decent quality video in 4K. The description was good and noise was not an issue. However, the moment I started moving around, there was a hideous flicker with every step. Video recorded with a wide-angle camera looks worse in low light.

Moving towards selfie cameras, I found that 4K 60fps videos looked great during the day. The details were excellent and the colors looked good. You don't get electronic stabilization at this frame rate, but you do at 30fps. The wide-angle camera is also decent for video, but mainly not as good. You can't switch between the two cameras when shooting at 4K or 1080p, which I found to be a bit limited. The low light quality is not great with the camera, with poor color and visible rash.

Overall, the rear camera experience is not very different from the one you get with the OnePlus 8, but the selfie cameras are actually an improvement.

Conclusion : Should you buy it or not?

OnePlus seems to be going back to its roots with Nord. It is not a killer flagship killer like the original OnePlus One (Review), but it does not need to be because the OnePlus itself has its own line of premium flagships. The Nord could only be called the OnePlus Lite or the OnePlus 8 Lite, but would probably not have the same effect as creating buzz around a new product line. The OnePlus Nord seems like just the beginning, and if we're lucky, we might see more in this series, possibly also targeting lower levels of the smartphone market. If you currently own an older OnePlus smartphone such as OnePlus 6 (Review), the Nord should be a good upgrade.

I don't think many people are going to notice either that the OnePlus Nord doesn't have an 800-series Qualcomm SoC, because with day-to-day usage, it's really impossible to tell the difference. I think OnePlus has taken the right tier from Apple's Playbook, providing a fairly consistent Android experience at a price level so that the hardware it runs on is not the main talking point. The company's shift from focusing on specialties in its products in the early days to focusing on the experience so far can be seen not only in the OnePlus Nord, but also in its recent budget TV and audio products , Such as Bullets Wireless Z headphones.

OnePlus Nord is currently the cheapest 5G smartphone in the Indian market, which gives it a unique advantage. The competition is fierce, though. Phones like the Redmi K20 Pro (Review) and Realme X3 Series 4G only provide more powerful processors, and in some cases are equally feature-packed, if not better. The OnePlus Nord may not always be matched to compete alone on specifications, but when you keep the software in mind and promise timely updates, it makes a very attractive case for itself.

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