The OnePlus Nord is a smartphone that is more accessible in price than the most expensive smartphones from Apple, Samsung and of course its own brand. For 500 euros, the OnePlus Nord offers almost all the advantages that the brand has announced and you can use 5G. But there are also concessions.
OnePlus NorthPrice € 399,- / € 499,-
Colour Grey blue
OS Android 10 (Oxygen OS)
Screen 6.4" amoled (2400 x 1080, 90hz)
Processor 2.4 Ghz octa-core (Snapdragon 765 G
Camera 48, 8, 2 megapixels (rear), 32 and 8 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 5G, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC
Format 15.8 x 7.3 x 0.8 cm
Weight 184 grams
Other dualsim, fingerprint scanner under screen, depth camera
Website www.oneplus.net 9 Score 90
- 90 Hz screen
- Price to quality ratio
- No headphone port and dongle
- Screen brightness could be better
OnePlus has made its name as a smartphone maker that offers top smartphones for competitive prices. With a pleasant Android skin as icing on the smartphone applesauce. But with every new smartphone, the price was increased, at which we have reached a point where you can no longer call a OnePlus smartphone a price fighter compared to the most expensive Samsung smartphones and iPhones. The gap that OnePlus leaves behind is now seen as a new market for the brand, which will be filled with the OnePlus Nord: a mid-range smartphone that has to compete against fierce competition. Because this market is now served by other smartphones, such as the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, Pocophone F2 Pro, Apple iPhone SE 2020, Samsung Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus' own OnePlus 7T. Soon we can also add the Pixel 4A from Google.
The OnePlus Nord must stand out as a 'newcomer' to appropriate a place in this market. The quirky name stands out, or maybe that's personal, because the name often comes back in one of my favorite games: Skyrim. What is more striking is the price: the smartphone is available from 400 euros. That is certainly a lot cheaper than its biggest competitors.
The OnePlus Nord is not a revival of the Never Settle days of yore. Concessions have been made compared to the top smartphones. In this case with the chipset, wireless charging is missing as well as certified water resistance and a stereo speaker. Nevertheless, OnePlus plays with three trump cards, which the brand also uses for their more luxurious smartphones: a screen with a high refresh rate, a smoothly performing device and 5G. Furthermore, OnePlus has placed six cameras, of which the main camera on the back is the same as the more expensive OnePlus 8. The fast charger is also present and the smartphone runs on Android 10 with OnePlus' own OxygenOS skin. Overall, a good deal for this price.
OnePlus Nord is a bit smaller than the other OnePlus smartphones, but still quite large. The design looks a bit generic. If it hadn't been for the brand name on the back, I wouldn't have been able to distinguish it from other brands. If you still want to stand out with your smartphone, OnePlus also has a version in bright light blue in addition to a gray variant. The build quality is fine, the glass back gives the device the luxurious look that you are used to from the brand.
The device has no headphone port, and you can still fill a bingo card with nonsense arguments from spokespersons why this choice was made. Another design concession is the fairly large camera hole in the screen for the dual selfiecam on the top left. Not pretty, but it worked.
Powerful and fast
The OnePlus Nord is not equipped with the most powerful Snapdragon chipset, but the Snapdragon 765G. More than enough to run the smartphone and current heaviest games excellently. In addition, this chipset ensures that you can use 5G. Although 5G is not yet active in the Netherlands at the time of writing and it will take years before 5G will really make a difference, it is certainly interesting for those looking for a future-proof smartphone. Especially because the OnePlus Nord, together with the Moto G 5G Plus, are the first affordable 5G smartphones (the Pocophone F2 Pro does not support 5G).The OnePlus Nord is one of the few affordable smartphones that currently supports 5G.
The chipset, coupled with a pleasantly large amount of RAM (8 or 12 gigabytes), ensures that the performance is above average for a smartphone in this price range. The responsiveness of the smartphone is enhanced by the 90 hertz screen (almost all smartphones have a screen with a refresh rate of 60 hertz). It must be said that the higher refresh rate takes its toll on the battery. You'll get through the day. If you want more battery time, it is better to set the screen to 60 hertz, then you can save a day and a half on a full battery. It's a personal choice: do you value battery life more, or a smooth-running screen?
The image quality is also fine with the OnePlus Nord. The AMOLED screen has a Full HD resolution and has an excellent display; a little bit grayer than the top smartphones. The maximum brightness could have been slightly higher, making it sometimes more difficult to read the screen in bright sunlight.
Many OnePlus users swear by the Android shell OxygenOS. It is an enrichment of Android in many ways and you can customize everything down to the smallest details. Everything? Almost everything. More and more users are complaining about background processes that are cut off to save battery, so that not all apps always work flawlessly. It is also unfortunate to see that OnePlus chooses to include bloatware from Facebook. A company with not a very good reputation. Fortunately, other Android manufacturers can learn a lot from OnePlus: no misleading virus scanners, a beautiful skin design, smooth operation and a fairly good update policy (at least two years of version updates and three years of security updates). Although even the best Android manufacturer in terms of updates is still miles behind Apple's iOS. A fact that may be emphasized with the arrival of the affordable iPhone SE (2020).
At the back you will find a whole strip of various cameras. The main lens is a 48 megapixel Sony IMX586, which we also see on the OnePlus 8 and the Oppo Reno 2. In addition, an 8 megapixel wide-angle lens and a 2 megapixel macro lens are installed. The fourth lens at the back is a 5 megapixel depth sensor, which you do not use directly for taking photos, but ensures that you can take portrait photos where the foreground or background blurs. On the front is a 32-megapixel selfie camera and an 8-megapixel wide-angle selfie camera.
That is six camera lenses in total, which makes the photo options particularly extensive. Of course you usually fall back on the IMX586 main sensor on the back of the device. It may be said, for this price range this is a more than excellent camera! Despite the fact that the lens can also be found on other smartphones, OnePlus has fine-tuned the sensor so that many details are captured and difficult lighting conditions also produce very nice pictures.
The depth camera ensures that you can blur the foreground or background to highlight the subject extra. He does this well, only at twilight or low light does he start to miss some details, such as wispy hair. It is best, where possible, to opt for the main sensor. The macro and wide-angle lens perform visibly less. Not only in sharpness and detail (megapixel), you have to have really favorable lighting conditions and focus to shoot really nice photos.
When you choose the wide-angle lens, you capture more, but you lose detail and color.
Alternatives to the OnePlus Nord
The OnePlus Nord is a good device for a competitive price. This makes the smartphone simply a good deal, which stands out compared to the other Android competitors. Although the trump cards of a 90 hertz screen and a 5G connection (at the moment) do not add very much, the device is basically excellent. A luxurious housing, good specifications, excellent camera, decent battery life and a pleasant screen. There are not many negatives. The camera hole is not pretty, but you get used to it. The biggest drawback remains the lack of a 3.5mm port and as a kick after the lack of a dongle. The brand is unable to evade the suspicion that these choices were only made to boost the sale of its own bluetooth headsets.
Alternatives such as the Pocophone F2 Pro (much larger battery, 3.5 mm jack, more powerful, but no 90 hertz screen and 5G) or iPhone SE 2020 (more powerful chipset, better update support) are both a bit more expensive. A good smartphone and a good deal, the OnePlus Nord in a way brings back the feeling that the brand offered up to the OnePlus 6. Speaking of which, OnePlus itself appears to deliver the best alternatives with the OnePlus 7T (Pro), both of which have also dropped considerably in price. Because these devices have been on sale since the autumn of last year, the support will probably be a bit shorter. If you find a good camera and a headphone port indispensable, then last year's Galaxy S10 is a (slightly more expensive) alternative.
Conclusion: buy OnePlus Nord?
If you're in the market for a good smartphone that isn't overly priced, the OnePlus Nord is definitely worth considering. Unlike many other Android manufacturers, updating is still taken somewhat seriously and the skin adds a lot to Android. In addition, the smartphone is smooth, the camera is perfectly fine and 5G and a 90 hertz screen are nice extras.