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OnePlus Nord 2 5G Smartphone Review

The Nord 2 5G mid-range smartphone from OnePlus has landed and we've been putting it to the test to find out how it improves on the original Nord and to see if it's a smartphone premium smartphone manufacturers should be paying attention to.


|  OnePlus Nord 2 5G in Camera Phones
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Nord 2 5G
 

Quick Verdict

The OnePlus Nord 2 5G fills a gap between cheap and expensive with a price point that's reasonable and features that are well worth having a look at. The camera is capable of capturing some great photos with the night mode and the bokeh produced when capturing portraits having to be two of the camera app's standout features. For those who think the inexpensive smartphones that are currently available just don't perform well but, on the other hand, premium smartphones are way too expensive, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G will be a sensible middle ground. 

+ Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Good camera capable of capturing some great photos
  • The smartphone looks great
  • Clever and useful AI tech 

- Cons

  • Zoom isn't great 
  • AI and HDR can overcook images 
  • No headphone jack
  • No official IP rating
 

 

The Nord 2 5G has been announced, updating the Nord smartphone from OnePlus released in 2020, and with the new release comes the promise of a mid-range smartphone that can give flagship phones a run for their money without the expensive price tag. OnePlus has also given the Nord 2 5G the bold tagline of 'everything you could ask for' removing the 'pretty much' from the start of the sentence that was associated with the original Nord so it's going to be interesting to see if the Nord 2 5G can live up to the words OnePlus has associated with it. It's branded as the 'flagship killer of 2021' which, again, is a bold statement but OnePlus did make them a brand to be reckoned with when they released the Nord last year and they want their 'disrupting the market' reputation to continue. 

The OnePlus Nord 2 5G is available in two options: 12GB/256GB priced at £469 and 8GB/128GB available for £399. Both can be purchased from Amazon as well as a few other select retailers. On test, we have the Blue Haze 12/256GB version but other colours are available. 

 

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OnePlus Nord 2 5G Features

Nord 2 5G
 

OnePlus has equipped the Nord 2 5G with what the company is calling 'flagship essentials' and this includes brilliant cameras, warp charging, and a 4500mAh battery. The rear camera features a 50MP AI triple camera with OIS while the selfie camera is the same 32MP camera found on the original Nord, minus the extra ultra-wide-angle lens. Other camera features include a mono lens, ultra-wide-angle camera, AI assistance, auto HDR, Dual View Video and a Nightscape Mode for improved low-light images. 

Warp Charge 65 will charge the Nord 2 5G 4500mAh battery from 0-100% in around 30-minutes while the Nord 2's 6.43-inch fluid AMOLED display has a 90 Hz refresh rate and features AI Colour Boost that automatically improves the colour gradient of images. There's no headphone jack or memory card slot but you do have options in terms of RAM and memory. 

 

OnePlus Nord 2 5G Key Features

  • Rear Camera: 50MP Main Camera f/1.88 OIS, 8MP Ultra-Wide-Angle Camera f/2.25, EIS, Mono Lens f/2.5 (no macro lens as seen on the Nord)
  • Front Camera: 32MP f/2.45 fixed focus with EIS (no ultra-wide-lens as seen on the Nord)
  • Video: 1080p video at 30fps, 720p video at 30fps, super slow motion and time-lapse 
  • Camera Features: Nightscape Ultra, AI Photo Enhancement, AI Video Enhancement, UltraShot HDR, Portrait Mode, Night Portrait Mode, Portrait distortion correction, Panorama, Pro Mode
  • Display: 6.43-inch, 2400x1080 pixels, Fluid AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5
  • Dimensions: 158.9mm x 73.2mm x 8.25mm
  • Weight: 158.9g
  • Battery:4500mAh
  • USB Type-C

 

OnePlus Nord 2 5G Handling

Nord 2 5G
 

The OnePlus Nord 2 5G certainly doesn't look like a smartphone that's available for under £500 as it has a rather premium finish. In fact, it has the same Gorilla Glass 5 front/back and metal-like frame set-up we've seen previously. We have the Blue Haze 12/256GB version on test and it's certainly an eye-catching colour with what OnePlus describes as a 'porcelain-like finish' that is fingerprint- and smudge resistant.

The rounded edges/corners and smooth surface make the OnePlus Nord 2 5G feel good and it fits well in the hand. The dimensions are pretty similar to the original Nord, although, it is slightly lighter. You can navigate the Nord 2 5G one-handed with a bit of a stretch but it's best to use both hands, especially when capturing photos. We were also provided with a choice of cases that are well worth popping on the smartphone as it'll prevent it from sliding off surfaces and provide more grip in use. Bezels are tiny with the 6.44-inch display stretching corner-to-corner and only the dual front-facing camera sitting in the top corner of the screen.

Talking of the screen, the 6.43-inch, 2400x1080 pixels, Fluid AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 5 is bright and colours are accurate. It also has a feature called 'AI Colour Boost' which OnOne says helps with improving colours and gradience in images and a 'Smart Ambient Display' feature that automatically boosts screen brightness when outside - something that's been particularly useful on these past few hot, sunny days. 

On the side is the power/lock button which sits below a slider that you can use to switch between silent, vibrate and sound-on modes. The volume buttons sit on the opposite side of the Nord 2 5G and on the base is the USB Type-C port, dual SIM card port and a speaker but no headphone jack.

 

Nord 2 5G
Nord 2 5G in a case

 

Turn the smartphone over and you'll notice the camera bump has had a redesign as a fatter rectangle with rounded corners replaces the long shape housing the cameras on the original Nord. 

The rear and front cameras have had a slight revamp with the addition of a 50MP main camera (replacing the 48MP camera found on the Nord) and the removal of the macro lens while on the front, you no longer have an ultra-wide-lens. There is the addition of a mono lens on the rear camera, too, but it doesn't capture images. Instead, its purpose is to support the main camera when producing monochrome shots. 

OnePlus Nord 2 5G Camera Line-Up: 

  • Rear Camera: 50MP Main Camera f/1.88 OIS
  • 8MP Ultra-Wide-Angle Camera f/2.25, EIS
  • Mono Lens f/2.5
  • Front Camera: 32MP f/2.45 fixed focus with EIS 

The Sony IMX766 sensor powers the main 50MP rear camera and it's the same sensor that supports the ultra-wide camera on the OnePlus 9 series. It's actually 56% bigger than the cameras we've seen on previous Nords. On the front, there's a 32MP Sony IMX 615 sensor and it's the highest megapixel count on any OnePlus front camera. Gone is the front-facing ultra-wide-angle camera that was on last year's Nord but we won't really miss it as you couldn't use portrait modes with and the images produced were a bit darker and the colours not as accurate. OIS is built into the main camera while you get EIS on the ultra-wide and front-facing cameras. 

The removal of the macro lens isn't a bad thing but we'd still like to have seen a dedicated telephoto lens as relying on digital zoom is never a great thing. For those who don't mind using digital zoom, it goes from 0.6x-10x. 

 

Nord 2 5G
 

The camera app looks and operates like most other smartphone camera apps with various shooting modes built-in including Nightscape Ultra, AI Photo Enhancement (22 scene modes are built-in and supported by AI), AI Video Enhancement (improves the brightness, colour, and contrast of your video clips), UltraShot HDR, Portrait Mode, Night Portrait Mode, Portrait distortion correction, Panorama and Pro Mode. You can also access filters and switch between the lenses with the options towards the bottom of the screen which if you hold, open up a wheel so you can scroll through more zoom options. 

Nightscape mode is now got the word 'Ultra' on the end as it's been improved to capture brighter photos in low-lit places and OnePlus says that it will capture images down to 1Lux visibility which is the equivalent of the light from 1 candle. 

FullHD and 4K video modes are available with various frame rates and there's also a slow-motion video capture option. 

The OnePlus Nord 2 5G doesn't have an official IP rating but OnePlus did say a splash would be ok but perhaps just keep it dry just in case.

Other features include NFC support, two 5G SIM card slots, dual-speakers update the speaker on the Nord and fast charging is supported but not wireless charging. 

 

Battery life - The improved 4500mAh battery works with Warp Charge 65 to quickly take the Nord 2 5G from zero battery to 100% charge in just under half an hour but we didn't need to charge the Nord 2 5G until the end of the day with it coping well when capturing photos/video for most of the day. 

Geekbench 5 Scores: Single Core: 810, Multi-Core: 2554 


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