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OnePlus Nord CE 2 Smartphone Review

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is a bargain at just under £300 but can it still capture images at the quality level we've come to expect from OnePlus camera phones?

| OnePlus Nord CE 2 in Camera Phones

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Smartphone Review: OnePlus Nord CE 2

Quick Verdict

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is a very reasonably priced smartphone that gives those looking for an affordable OnePlus camera phone a viable option. The cameras capture decent photos that are perfect for sharing online but dynamic range and sharpness could be better and those who regularly capture photos with smartphones will probably notice the drop in quality when compared with more expensive devices as well as camera phones at a similar price point. There are some clever tricks built-in, though, such as the way the AI introduces bokeh without clipping and the Night Mode is pretty good, too. As with all OnePlus smartphones, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 offers a user experience that can't be ignored and for that reason, combined with the excellent price, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 will be worth taking a look at even with the few compromises you have to make simply because it's a more affordable smartphone. 

+ Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Great battery
  • Comfortable to use
  • Great user experience
  • Clever and useful AI
  • Good photos in the right conditions

- Cons

  • Zoom isn't great 
  • AI and HDR can overcook images 
  • Dynamic range could be better 
  • Noise reduction can be a bit harsh 


The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is a budget-friendly smartphone that OnePlus says will give a bigger audience access to OnePlus technology at a more affordable price point. To do this, they've taken what was great about the Nord 2, condensed it a bit and have shaped a smartphone that has some impressive features while keeping the price under £300. It goes on sale from 10 March 2022, pre-orders are available from 3 March 2022, so before you add it to your purchase list, let's take a look to see how it performs. 



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OnePlus Nord CE 2 Features

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Smartphone Review: OnePlus Nord CE 2

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 brings a sprinkling of OnePlus' flagship technology to a more affordable handset with a 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP macro camera that feature the same camera sensor found in the original Nord CE but portrait mode has been improved to give users more bokeh flare options and so has Nightscape mode which combines photos from different exposures to produce a better-looking image. Video capture has been improved, too, especially at night thanks to the improved processor and better AI. 

On the front is a 16MP selfie camera that sits in an AMOLED 6.43" display that features Gorilla Glass 5 but the back is plastic (as you'd expect on a less expensive camera phone). 

Other features include a 4500mAh battery, 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage (that's expandable) and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You'll also get 2-years of software updates and 3-years of security updates. 


OnePlus Nord CE 2 Features

  • Rear Camera: 64MP F/1.7 Main Camera with EIS, 8MP Ultra-Wide F/2.2 Camera with EIS and a 2MP F/2.4 Macro Camera 
  • Front Camera: 16MP F/2.4 with EIS
  • Zoom: 0.6x-20x
  • Video: 4K @ 30fps, 1080-p @ 30/60 fps and super slow motion
  • Camera Features: AI Scene Enhancement, HDR, Night, Portrait, Pano, Retouch, Filters 
  • Display: 6.43-inch, 2400x1080 pixels, AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5
  • Dimensions: 160.6mm x 73.2mm x 7.8mm
  • Weight: 173g
  • Battery:4500mAh
  • USB Type-C


OnePlus Nord CE 2 Handling

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Smartphone Review: OnePlus Nord CE 2

When you first pick up the OnePlus Nord CE 2, you'll notice how comfortable it feels to hold and that's down to the slightly curved back and thin edges (7.8mm) which OnePlus says is their slimmest smartphone since the release of the OnePlus 6T. We also like the Gray Mirror colourway featured on our handset that has a mirror-like finish which made it difficult to photograph without myself appearing in the reflection it's that shiny! There's no glass on the back, though, and even though the plastic means it's more resistant to fingerprints/smudges, it does make the camera phone look a little less expensive as it really stands out around the edges of the rear camera unit. It actually looks like a case has already been placed on it which gives it a smooth finish that's nice to hold. If you did want to pop a case on the OnePlus Nord CE 2, a clear one is provided or you can purchase separate cases in a variety of colours. 

On the front is a 6.43 inch 90 Hz Fluid AMOLED display that's HDR10+ certified which means colours should be accurate, which they are, and the display is also bright as well as sharp. It's constructed from Gorilla Glass 5 which isn't the newest available but is fine nevertheless and the 16MP selfie camera is cut out of the top left corner so doesn't interfere with viewing.

Along the bottom of the frame is a 3.5mm headphone jack which some will be pleased to see as well as the USB-C port while the power button falls nicely under your fingers on the right side. The volume rocker is found on the left which, again, is well located and there's space to expand the 128GB of storage with a MicroSD memory card.

We've always liked OnePlus smartphones for how they feel in the hand and their responsiveness and the OnePlus Nord CE 2 is no different, continuing the trend for great user experience even at this lower price point. 


OnePlus Nord CE 2 Smartphone Review: OnePlus Nord CE 2

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is splash-proof but there's no official IP rating (not many smartphones at this price point offer this anyway). 

As for the rear camera set-up, you get a 64MP f/1.7 Main Camera with EIS, 8MP Ultra-Wide f/2.2 Camera with EIS and a 2MP f/2.4 Macro Camera. Zoom ranges from 0.6x-20x and various modes are built-in including a portrait mode, night mode and panorama. 

With portrait mode, which we used in scenes we wanted to introduce bokeh, you can adjust the aperture on a slider and also introduce bokeh flare while night mode gives you access to all three cameras. When in the normal photo mode, you can use HDR and the built-in AI to enhance your images if you want to and various filters are also available. General use of the camera app works like any other camera app built into smartphones nowadays does which is good as it means you can pick the OnePlus Nord CE 2 and immediately know your way around it. 

There's an expert mode where you can have more control over white balance, ISO, shutter speeds etc. but we found just using the normal mode was good enough and didn't find ourselves reaching for the manual controls. 

Overall, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 feels great in the hand, is comfortable to hold and offers a great user experience that's quick and simple. The camera app has plenty of features, too. 

Battery life - The 4500mAh battery supports fast charging and will reach full capacity in around 15-minutes. We didn't see the battery visibly depleting as you do with some other camera phones either and we had plenty of power still in the tank by the end of the day. 


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