OnePlus Nord review: A great-value mid-range 5G smartphone Review

Matthew N. Henry

OnePlus has gone back again to its roots with the new OnePlus Nord, which aims to provide a blend of options and effectiveness at a decreased value than you may possibly count on. The Chinese business just isn’t abandoning the flagship handset sector, which it at this time serves with the OnePlus 8 and 8 Professional but with a starting off value of £379 (inc. VAT), the OnePlus Nord is very a lot a mid-sector contender.

The Nord is a 5G-all set twin-SIM handset that arrives in two variants. The entry-degree model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of interior storage expenses £379, whilst the leading-stop 12GB/256GB model expenses £469. OnePlus at this time has no options to start the Nord in the US.

Both equally the entrance and back again of the Nord are glass, and the back again arrives in two colours, Gray Onyx and Blue Marble. I was despatched the leading-stop spec in blue for evaluate. This would not have the kind of multi-tone complete you may possibly count on from the use of the phrase ‘marble’ — in its place, the complete is somewhat pearlescent. The blue color is a lot paler than you may possibly assume, and very exclusive.


The 6.44-inch OnePlus Nord is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 5G chipset with 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of interior storage. It expenses £379 for 8GB/128GB or £469 for 12GB/256GB. Shown in this article is the Blue Marble variant.

Photos: OnePlus

The back again is rather slippery and could very easily slide off the arm of a chair or sofa — it absolutely did on mine. It will require a wipe from time to time to remove fingerprints, but this is significantly less of a challenge than on some handsets. 

The back again of the handset has a tall lozenge in the leading still left corner housing the main quad-camera array. You will find a silver OnePlus symbol in the center, and the business identify is spelled out at the bottom for excellent evaluate.

The sides are shiny and reflective, and poorly color-matched to the back again, which mars the industrial layout rather. Also, whilst the side buttons are metallic, I suspect the sides on their own may possibly be plastic.  

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It is excellent to see that OnePlus retains its warn slider on the appropriate edge. This lets you to quickly flick in between ring, vibrate and silent modes. The handset would not have an IP rating for h2o/dust resistance, and you can find no 3.5mm headset jack. You may perhaps be tempted by the OnePlus Buds — the to start with OnePlus legitimate wireless earbuds — which introduced along with the Nord and expense £79.


The Nord sits easily in the hand, despite the fact that the glass back again is rather slippery.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Nord is snug to keep — not also extensive for my fingers and whilst tall, not unduly so. For the document, the handset’s dimensions are 73.3mm extensive by 158.3mm tall by 8.2mm thick, and it weighs 184g.

The 6.44-inch screen is a flat AMOLED panel. Relocating absent from the curved panel used on the OnePlus 8 and 8 Professional is a smart shift as it saves manufacturing expenses. OnePlus has accomplished a minimal-bezel layout, with a respectable screen-to-system ratio of 86.two%. And whilst some may perhaps come across the in-screen entrance camera lozenge in the leading still left corner annoying, I did not come across it so. 

The screen delivers a apparent, sharp and readable image with two,400-by-one,080 resolution (408ppi), and can be configured for a default 90Hz or 60Hz refresh price. If you choose for 90Hz the handset will quickly switch in between 90Hz and 60Hz dependent on the use state of affairs. I experienced no issues looking at video clip, studying websites, perusing e-mail and social feeds with that self-toggling location.

I was pleased to see that OnePlus features its Reading through Method on the Nord. This is part of its OxygenOS overlay for Android 10, and it sends the screen into possibly mono or a chromatic color manner dependent on your selection. It can be established to kick in when you start distinct applications, or can be toggled from the pull-down menu. I come across it great for book studying sessions.

Audio excellent from the speaker just isn’t fantastic. You will find a great deal of quantity, but seem turns into distorted as it gets louder. The speaker grille is tiny, and avid gamers will require to be especially watchful not to include it, since if the grill is obscured, seem would not just muffle — it all but disappears. 

OnePlus utilizes the similar 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor from the OnePlus 8 for the Nord’s main rear camera, which has an f/one.75 extensive-angle lens and OIS. The quad rear array is finished by an 8MP f/two.25 extremely-extensive-angle (119°) camera, a 2MP f/two.four macro camera and a 5MP f/two.four depth sensor.

There are two entrance cameras: a 32MP f/two.45 Sony IMX616 (the best resolution entrance camera OnePlus has ever implemented) and an 8MP f/two.45 extremely-extensive-angle (105°) camera to assistance you cram a lot more into selfies. The back again and entrance cameras both shoot 4K video clip.

The main rear camera shoots its stills at 12MP resolution by default, with 48MB being an optional location. Even in 12MP manner I uncovered every day test pictures — taken in the restricted time I have experienced this handset so much — to be spectacular.

I have experienced mixed accomplishment with the ‘Nightscape’ manner, which OnePlus says requires up to 9 pictures, mixing them alongside one another to boost very low-light effectiveness. It is been tricky to get out and about to test this fully in the course of the evaluate period of time, but I have uncovered that it requires seconds to get all the pictures in the bag, and a continual hand is demanded to get a sharp image. Even then, the excellent looks to rely on the variety of light resources the camera can attract on.

The OnePlus Oxygen OS overlay that sits on leading of Android 10 presents a number of Android tweaks, but these are subtly blended in somewhat than obtrusive, sothe blend of Android and Oxygen is close to-seamless and very person-helpful. On my 256GB evaluate unit, 25GB was used by the Android/Oxygen combo, leaving me 231GB free for my individual written content. There is no MicroSD card slot for introducing exterior storage.

The OnePlus Nord is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 5G chipset. I did not discover stumbles or stutters in the course of the evaluate period of time, and benchmark effectiveness was excellent, averaging 620 (one core) and 1951 (multi core) under Geekbench five (comparative scores in this article).

Battery lifetime was reasonable but not remarkable: the four,115mAh battery managed 11 several hours 27 minutes on the Computer system Mark rundown test, and dropped 17% from a entire cost when questioned to stream entire-screen video clip constantly for 3 several hours. The Nord supports the OnePlus Warp Demand 30T process, having the battery from zero to 70% in thirty minutes. You will find no support for wireless charging. 

The Nord has the OnePlus clever cost process on board. This is designed to seem immediately after battery well being by keeping away from overcharging. So, if you are in the practice of placing your handset on cost overnight, an AI component learns when you start to use it in the morning, stops the battery charging when it reaches eighty%, and lets charging to finish in time for your morning start. Men and women with erratic snooze patterns won’t feel the reward.


The OnePlus Nord in Gray Onyx.

Photos: OnePlus


OnePlus has accomplished a excellent task with the Nord. The Blue Marble model has a exclusive visual appeal, a fantastic AMOLED screen and excellent entrance and rear cameras. These are all crucial components what ever your budget. In addition it supports 5G and two SIMs, the Oxygen OS is refined but completed, the speedy charging is effective a address, and the warn slider is anything each and every handset maker need to emulate.

On the draw back, battery lifetime is regular, seem excellent just isn’t fantastic, and the speaker is very easily muffled when you keep the cellphone in landscape manner, to the level of turning into just a faint murmur. Even now, as affordable telephones go, the OnePlus Nord looks to have bought the blend just about appropriate.

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