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OnePlus Nord Review: Making The Right Sacrifices

OnePlus Nord Review

The OnePlus Nord is the company’s latest mid-range smartphone that symbolizes a new beginning for OnePlus, one where it will return to its more humble roots bearing a more affordable price point for consumers worldwide. But with great price, comes great sacrifices, or does it?

Specifications

OnePlus Nord
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 765G
GPUAdreno 620
RAM8GB LPDDR4X
Storage128GB UFS2.1
Display6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED
90Hz Refresh Rate
2400 x 1800 Resolution
20:9 Aspect Ratio
sRGB, Display P3
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Camera48MP Sony IMX586 (6P Lens) f/1.75
8MP Ultra-Wide Angle f/2.25
5MP Depth f/2.4
Macro 2MP f/2.4
Dual LED Flash
Selfie32MP Sony IMX616 f/2.45 – 0.8 µm with EIS
8MP f/2.45 – 105-degrees FOV
Video4K video at 30/60 fps
1080P video at 30/60 fps
Time-Lapse
Wi-Fi2×2 MIMO, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/5G
BluetoothBluetooth 5.1, support aptX & aptX HD & LDAC & AAC
NFCYes
SensorsIn-display fingerprint sensor
Accelerometer
Electronic compass
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Proximity sensor
Sensor Core
PortsUSB 2.0, Type-C, support standard Type-C earphone
Dual nano-SIM slot
BatteryBattery: 4115 mAh (non-removable)
Warp Charge 30T fast charging (5V/6A)
Operating SystemOperating System: OxygenOS based on Android™ 10

Design

OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord features a minimalistic, and basic design. Nothing truly stands out when it comes to the phone’s design, and that’s because the company went with a look that was more mainstream – a look that can be seen from many other smartphones in the market. During an exclusive interview with tech Youtuber, MKBHD, the CEO of OnePlus showed one of the prototype designs for the OnePlus Nord, and that looked more unique than what the Nord presented to us today.

On the left, there’s the volume button whereas the power button and alert slider can be found on the right side of the phone. The USB Type-C port, SIM tray, and speaker grille is placed on the bottom of the device, where most charging ports are.

OnePlus Nord

The glossy back provides a nice grip on the phone, and it feels really comfortable in the hands. That being said, the back can be quite the fingerprint magnet. When it comes to size, the device is proportioned just right, with a 6.44-inch display. Now speaking of the display…

Display

OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord has a 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED panel complete with 90Hz refresh rate. For someone who’s used to 120Hz screens, the 90Hz refresh rate isn’t too bad. You can notice the drop in frames when compared to 120Hz, but it’s still infinitely better than a standard 60Hz screen.

The phone’s display is taller and more narrow, which is something I’m a fan of, with the 20:9 aspect ratio. I wish the display could’ve been brighter, but apart from that, it’s still relatively smooth with nice colours.

User Experience

OnePlus Nord

One weird thing I like about the OnePlus Nord is actually the alert slider. It’s actually really useful, and it provides a nice tactile feedback. Everytime you slide it down or up, there’s a heptic feedback to let you know your device’s audio profile has been changed, complete with on-screen prompts to let you know which profile it’s on. But basically, from top to bottom it is Ring > Vibrate > Silent.

I’m still not used to the volume buttons being placed on the left, as most phones would have them on the right. But, this implementation is really intuitive when it comes to taking a screenshot on the Nord. It’s as if you’re squeezing the sides of the phone, and click, you have your screenshot ready.

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The OnePlus Nord is just the right size for my hands, and it fits comfortably into my pocket. Even my wife thinks it’s an alright size for ladies, where it’s not too big or too small, with a display that’s large enough.

Performance

OnePlus Nord

Packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, the OnePlus Nord launches apps fast and navigation has no problem at all. Thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate and intuitive navigation gestures, my daily experience with the phone is made more bearable.

One of OnePlus’ main highlights or key selling feature is its own custom UI – OxygenOS. Based on stock Android, the Nord’s UI is the cleanest and closest you’ll get to a Google device, e.g. Google Pixel series. I’ve always been a big fan of stock Android, because of how uncluttered the UI is. I still remember the days when phone manufacturers would still make Google Editions of their flagship phones, and this was reminiscent of that.

When watching videos for long periods of time, or even gaming, the Nord stays cool and only gets a tad bit warm.

Here are some of the benchmarks we ran on the OnePlus Nord using Geekbench 5 and 3DMark:

Gaming

OnePlus Nord

When it comes to gaming on the OnePlus Nord, games run smooth and the visuals look nice and detailed. But, I did realize that the phone isn’t capable of running certain game graphics at the maximum settings. Take Arena of Valor here for example, I could only set the display quality to “Medium+” and not all the way to HD, as it says the device isn’t compatible. Even so, visuals still look good, but because of the phone’s brightness, game visuals tend to look a little dull.

OnePlus Nord

The Nord even has a Gaming Mode and Fnatic Mode to improve your overall gaming experience. Gaming Mode turns on automatically everytime you launch a game. As for Fnatic Mode, it has additional focus-centric features to help you stay in your game without any interruption. Fnatic Mode also improves the audio latency when paired with the OnePlus Buds TWS earbuds.

Camera

OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord’s camera is zippy as there isn’t any shutter lag in preview, but it does lag or slow down when you’re changing photo modes.

As for image quality, photos look amazing in daylight because of the amount of light it can capture. But when it comes to night shots, images tend to get overexposed as the camera’s image processing algorithms tries to make up for it by blowing up the brightness.

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OnePlus Nord Review: Making The Right Sacrifices 12

Video recording wise, it’s the same. 4K footage taken during the day looks better than the ones taken at night, as night shot videos can look quite noisy. When it comes to stabilisation, there’s this bad shimmer every time I take a step. Hopefully, OnePlus can fix this with a firmware update, then we’re good to go (literally).

Here are some of the photo samples taken with the OnePlus Nord:

Audio

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The OnePlus Nord has a single speaker system, and it is definitely loud enough to fill an entire room. Thanks to Dirac’s software enhancements, audio is crystal clear with bright highs and clear mids. As for the lows, they’re clean and minimal.

Battery

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The OnePlus Nord has a 4,115mAh battery that can last me the entire day, with a little over 25% to spare with both Wi-Fi and 4G connections turned on. My daily routine includes social media surfing, texting, photo taking, video calls, Youtube viewing, music listening, and of course, gaming with the occasional use of Google Maps here and there.

The Nord doesn’t have wireless charging onboard (bummer), but it does carry the Warp Charge 30T charging technology from its flagship phones. To charge it from 0% to 100%, it takes about 58 minutes – Less charging, more doing.

Conclusion

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The OnePlus Nord is a great mid-range device that should definitely be in your shortlist when looking to purchase a new mid-range smartphone. You’re getting a near-Google experience with the performance of a Qualcomm chip, and a smooth 90Hz refresh rate display.

Sure, OnePlus did sacrifice several features to make the Nord more cost friendly, but they’ve also included noteworthy features to make it an overall wholesome mid-range device.

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OnePlus Nord Review: Making The Right Sacrifices 12
Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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