OnePlus Nord: OnePlus Returns To Its Android Value Roots
And now there's the OnePlus Nord. In an outstanding example of masterful marketing, the company has spent months building up hype for a quality sub-$500 5G smartphone that lives up to its “Never Settle” catchphrase. When’s the last time anyone’s been excited about a mid-range phone? Never. Yet somehow OnePlus pulled it off. At €399+, the Nord managed to get even the most jaded tech journalists excited -- including us here at HotHardware.
We just spent a couple weeks testing the OnePlus Nord, and we’re not going to lie: it’s a fantastic Android phone, no matter what. But there’s a major catch. It’s not officially coming to the US -- at least not yet. So, does the OnePlus Nord live up to the hype? With its Snapdragon 765G, 90Hz display, and 48MP OIS main camera, is it a premium mid-ranger or an affordable flagship? And should you get one? Let’s find out in our full review.
OnePlus Nord Hardware And Design
But let’s end the comparison right here. The OnePlus Nord might share its 6.44-inch screen and general design with the Reno3 Pro, but both handsets are fundamentally different. Case in point: the Reno3 Pro lacks the Nord’s 90Hz refresh rate, 5G support, its OIS main shooter, and build quality. Speaking of materials, the Nord features Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, but a plastic mid-frame instead of metal -- which is rather disappointing.
At least this plastic mid-frame looks and feels premium. We honestly thought it was metal until OnePlus confirmed it was plastic. Still, this doesn’t jive with the company’s “Never Settle” motto. Beyond this, there really aren’t any other signs of cost cutting. The Nord adopts design cues from the OnePlus 8-series, like the rear vertical camera pod -- except here it’s been shifted over to the top left corner. And ditto the funky colors.
Our review unit came in OnePlus’ new signature hue: Blue Marble (aka. Nord blue). It’s gorgeous, and it matches the OnePlus Buds. The other color is called Gray Onyx. At 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm and 184g, the Nord is about the same dimensions and weight as the OnePlus 8 and Samsung Galaxy S20+. Like the OnePlus 8, the Nord lacks a headphone jack and IP rating, but there’s a gasket around the SIM tray, meaning there’s some water resistance here.
In front, the 6.44-inch AMOLED display (1080p/90Hz) is perfectly flat, with a pill-shaped punch hole in the top left corner for the dual front shooters (32MP and 8MP ultrawide). Around the back, you’ll find quad cameras (48MP main with OIS, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, and 5MP depth), along with a dual-LED flash and OnePlus branding. A 4115mAh battery lives under the rear glass, with support for 30W fast charging.
Unsurprisingly, there’s no wireless charging. The OnePlus 8 lacks this feature, so what did you expect? The mono speaker, USB Type-C port (USB 2.0), primary mic, and dual-SIM tray are housed on the bottom edge, with the secondary mic at the top. On the left side you’ll find the volume rocker, while the power/lock key and mute/vibrate/ring slider are located on the right. It’s all very familiar, if you’ve ever used a OnePlus phone.
|Processing and 5G Platform||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
|Display||6.44" FHD+ AMOLED, 2400x1080 resolution, 90Hz, HDR 10+|
|Storage||64/128/256GB UFS 2.1
|Rear-Facing Cameras||48MP f/1.75 Main OIS, PDAF - 8MP f/2.3 119º Ultra-Wide - 2MP f/2.4 Macro - 5MP f/2.4 Depth
|Front-Facing Cameras||32MP f/2.45 Main - 8MP f/2.45 105º Ultra-Wide
|Video Recording||Up to 4K @ 60fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 1080p slow-mo|
|OS||Android 10 With OxygenOS 10.5
|Dimensions||158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm|
|Connectivity||802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1+LE, NFC, USB-C, LTE, 5G
|Colors||Blue Marble, Gray Onyx
|Pricing||Find the OnePlus Nord @ Amazon, Starting at €399
OnePlus Nord Display Quality
Like other AMOLED screens, colors are punchy and blacks are infinitely deep. Viewing angles are good too, with no obvious off-axis color shift. It’s clear OnePlus didn’t skimp on display quality here -- the HDR10+ support and 90Hz refresh rate are just the icing on the cake. Not only are high-refresh rate displays still rare at this price point, but they enable a wonderfully smooth and responsive user experience. We’re big fans.