OnePlus has recently launched the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G alongside its companion earbud, the Nord Buds 2.
Priced at RM1,099, it is an entry level smartphone, with the most notable upgrade over the predecessor being the 108MP main camera.
OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G Specifications
|Model||OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G|
|Dimensions||165.5 x 76 x 8.3 mm|
|Processor||CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon Snapdragon 695 5G|
GPU: Adreno 619
|RAM||8GB + 8GB (Virtual Memory)|
1080 x 2400 pixels
680 nits (peak)
|Camera (Front)||16 MP, f/2.4|
|Camera (Rear)||Main Camera: 108MP, f/1.8, 1/1.67″, PDAF|
Macro Camera: 2 MP, f/2.4
Depth Sensor: 2MP, f/2.4
|Operating System||OxygenOS 13.1, Android 13|
|Battery and Charging||5,000 mAh|
67W SUPERVOOC fast charging
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band|
|Biometrics||Side-mounted fingerprint reader|
On paper, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G delivers incremental improvements over the CE 2 Lite, namely the new main camera, larger screen size, and increased storage.
What’s In The Box?
- OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G
- SUPERVOOC charger
- Type-C cable (USB 2.0)
- TPU phone case
- Screen protector (pre-applied)
- SIM tray remover
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G comes in two colour options: Pastel Lime and Chromatic Gray. It is only 8.3mm thick and weights 195g. It also has a flat edge design with rounded corners.
At the back, the cameras are arranged in two circular humps, with a flash light located beside them. The camera design looks similar to the Oppo Reno 8T, which is not surprising as OnePlus is practically a sub-brand of Oppo.
At the front, you are greeted by a 6.72-inch IPS screen with a peak brightness of 680 nits. You also get a 16MP punch-hole style selfie camera at the top. The volume rockers are located at the left, while the power button is placed at the right.
The bottom houses a 3.5mm headphone jack (haven’t seen that in a while), USB-C connector and a speaker grille.
The Nord CE 3 Lite 5G uses a 6.72-inch IPS display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. It has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, which is slightly lower than the CE 2 Lite despite the increased screen size. In real usage terms however, the resolution is still high enough for most use cases.
Colour wise, it is vivid without being overly saturated. If you prefer more natural looking tones, you can always change it in the settings. Being an IPS display however, the contrast ratio is not great mainly due to it being incapable of displaying true blacks. Sunlight legibility is mediocre, however. Under direct sunlight, I could still make out what is on the screen, provided I cover the display with my hand.
All in all, while the display is nothing to shout about, its large size does the job relatively well for day to day media consumption and work.
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is equipped with a triple camera system, which consists of an 108 MP main camera, a 2MP macro, and a 2MP depth sensor. The main camera can capture decent photos. OnePlus touted a “3x lossless zoom” feature, which looks like a digital crop with some sharpening involved in post processing. Under good lighting conditions, the telephoto shots are detailed, if not a tad oversharpened.
There is an AI Scene Enhancement feature, which upon testing seems like it will adjust the colour saturation based on different scenarios. In some cases, it tends to make colours pop a bit too much, especially the reds. I recommend turning it off if you prefer more true to life colour science.
Portrait mode works reasonably well thanks to an included depth sensor. It does a good job of separating the subject, especially hair from the background.
On to the video performance. You don’t get much options, only 1080p or 720p videos at 30 fps. There is a slow-mo capture feature, which shoots 720p videos in 120 fps, however it is highly recommend to shoot in well lit environments as the resulting video can look very noisy.
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, which is exactly the same as the CE 2 Lite. It is by no means blazing fast, but the newer model gets more virtual memory of 8GB, up from 5GB compared to its predecessor.
On Geekbench 6, it scored 852 points for single core performance, and 2,099 for multi-core. It managed 9,858 points on PCMark’s Work 3.0 performance
In terms of real world performance, the Nord CE 3 Lite is not stellar, but still capable. The Snapdragon 695 chipset can run most apps without any noticeable lag or stuttering, but when it comes to more CPU intensive apps, such as video editors and games, it can struggle a bit.
Gaming on the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is feasible but not stellar. The Adreno 619 GPU is starting to show its age, however, it is still a great option for budget smartphones when it comes to gaming. It managed to score 1,194 points for Wild Life, and 4,112 for Slingshot benchmarks. On Geekbench 6, it scored 1,270 for GPU compute.
On games like Genshin Impact, I could get it to run at low settings and capping the frame rates to 45 fps. On Asphalt 8, I was able to get an enjoyable racing experience with smooth and stable frame rates.
PUBG Mobile performed relatively well, as I was able to get a stable and immersive gaming experience on Balanced settings.
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G features dual speakers, delivering stereo sound in an accessible smartphone. The volume can be boosted to 200% via Ultra Volume Mode. At normal volumes, the speakers are decent. It is clear and warm, albeit the mid-bass section is lacking. Users can turn on Ultra Volume Mode by pressing the volume up button at maximum volume. It gets very loud, however the speakers can sound muddy.
Another key feature of the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is the included 3.5mm headphone jack, which is great for users who are still using wired headphones.
The battery life of the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G is impressive to say the least. Under Work 3.0 Battery Life test, it lasted just under 19 hours. The chipset and software optimisations allow the phone to sip on power slowly, easily giving me about 2 days worth of battery life with mixed use.
While the upgrades over the predecessor is incremental at best, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is still a good value in the lower mid-range price bracket. However, the market is getting crowded with smartphones such as the realme 10 which lacks 5G(also owned by BBK Electronics), the Honor X9a which features the same chipset but priced higher, and the recently launched Redmi Note 12 5G, all vying for your attention.
Despite all that, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite has a well balanced offering, such as long battery life, a decent main camera, ample storage, and an efficient chipset.
For more information, please visit the official OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite product page.