OnePlus Nord Smartphone Review

The Nord smartphone from OnePlus is a mid-range offering with an impressive line-up of camera specs but can it perform in the real world just as well as it reads on paper?


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OnePlus Nord
 

Quick Verdict

The OnePlus Nord is a feature-packed, eye-catching smartphone with a great price and even though it doesn't stand out when you compare it with other mid-range smartphones, this doesn't mean it should be ignored. Price and performance make the OnePlus an excellent option for those who want a smartphone crammed with great camera features without having to spend over £1000 to get them. There are some areas that make the OnePlus Nord noticeably mid-range (battery life, no IP rating etc.) but you're going to have to compromise somewhere if you want to pay under £400 for a smartphone. Overall, if you want an affordable smartphone that offers plenty of impressive features, you should add the OnePlus to your options list. 

+ Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Good range of camera features
  • Flagship features at a better price
  • The smartphone looks great
  • Side switch to mute phone

- Cons

  • Battery life isn't 'wow'
  • No wireless charging
  • Zoom isn't great 
  • No headphone jack
  • No IP rating
 

 

The OnePlus Nord (does it make anyone else think of the Skyrim game? No, just me then...)  is a mid-range smartphone that combines flagship features in a stylish looking body for a price that most can actually afford. The camera app and lenses on offer combined with 4K video, a decent screen and a lovely-looking design tick a lot of boxes then when you combine these with a price that's under £400, you do start to pay a little bit more attention to the smartphone. However, does the OnePlus Nord offer enough to make it stand out in what is now a very, very busy mid-range smartphone market? Let's find out. 

OnePlus Nord Features

OnePlus Nord

With the OnePlus Nord, you get a quad read camera which features a wide-angle 48MP f/1.8 lens with PDAF and OIS, an 8MP f/2.3 ultra-wide lens with a 119-degree field of view, a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor and a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens. On the front is an 8MP f/2.5 ultrawide and 32MP f/2.5 wide-angle lens and 4K video can be captured along with 1080p at various frame rates. 

The display measures 6.44 inches and it's a Fluid AMOLED touchscreen with a 1080x2400 pixel resolution that's protected by Gorilla Glass 5. There's also a 4115mAh battery but no headphone jack or memory card slot but you do have options in terms of RAM and memory. 

The OnePlus Nord is available now, in blue or grey, from Amazon UK with prices starting at £379. 

 

OnePlus Nord Key Features

  • Rear Camera: 48MP wide-angle f/1.74 with OIS and EIS, 8MP ultra-wide-angle f/2.25 with 119-degree FOV, 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor and a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
  • Front Camera: 32MP f/2.5 fixed focus with EIS and 8MP f/2.45 lens ultra-wide-lens with 105-degree FOV
  • Video: 4K 30fps, 1080p 30/60fps, super slow motion and time-lapse 
  • Camera Features: CINE aspect ratio video recording, UltraShot HDR, Nightscape, Super macro, Portrait, Pro mode, Panorama, AI scene detection, RAW image, Filters, Quick share
  • Display: 6.44-inch, 2400x1080 resolution, Fluid AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Dimensions: 158.3mm x 73.3mm x 8.2mm
  • Weight: 184g
  • Battery: 4115mAh battery
  • USB Type-C

 

OnePlus Nord Handling

OnePlus Nord
 

The OnePlus Nord doesn't look like an 'under £400' smartphone as it has a metal looking frame and Gorilla Glass front/back just like the more expensive OnePlus smartphones, such as the OnePlus 8, have. Although, the glass finish does make the Nord a slippery little thing with it taking every opportunity to jump off desks and other surfaces but popping it in the free silicon case will help stop this and also add grip when operating it. The case also protects the smartphone from smearing fingerprint marks which are really annoying and spoil the smart look of the smartphone.

The Nord has lovely rounded corners/edges and it fits well in the hand. You can comfortably operate it one-handed but when capturing images, please do hold the smartphone with both hands as it'll minimise shake. 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. You also have a factory-fitted screen protector in place which you can remove if you don't like it but it will protect the screen from scratches. The display is bright, easy to view and sharp. You also have a fingerprint scanner embedded in the screen which is a nice feature for a smartphone at this price point. 

 

OnePlus Nord
 

On the side is the power/lock button which sits below a slider which you can use to switch between silent, vibrate and sound-on modes. The volume buttons sit on the opposite side of the Nord and on the base is the USB Type-C port, dual SIM card port and a speaker (not stereo) but no headphone jack.

Turn the Nord over and you find a long shape, top left corner, where the four rear cameras sit and it sticks out quite a bit so the smartphone doesn't sit flush when placed on a surface which causes it to rock if you use it when placed down without the case on.

There are 6 cameras built into the Nord - the most seen on a OnePlus smartphone to date. You get 4 on the back and 2 on the front and the impressive line-up includes:

  • Rear Camera: 48MP wide-angle f/1.74 with OIS and EIS, 8MP ultra-wide-angle f/2.25 with 119-degree FOV, 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor and a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
  • Front Camera: 32MP f/2.5 fixed focus with EIS and 8MP f/2.45 lens ultra-wide-lens with 105-degree FOV

You can capture 48MP images but by default, the smartphone takes 12MP shots which the Nord will tell you offers better dynamic range and comes as the 'recommended' mode. The 48MP sensor captures more detail in well-lit scenes but the images will fill your storage up quick because of the higher resolution. 

 

OnePlus Nord
 

An ultra-wide-angle lens and a depth sensor are things we're used to seeing on smartphones but a macro lens isn't always something that's built-in and even though it's only 2MP, it does a decent job. However, we'd much prefer to see a telephoto lens as this would have given the Nord optical zoom as relying on digital zoom is never a great thing. On the front is a dual 32MP and 8MP camera. 

The camera app looks and operates like most other smartphone camera apps with various shooting modes built-in including a portrait mode, nightscape, super macro, Pro mode and panorama. 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. 

The video mode will automatically capture images in FullHD but you can switch to 4K in the settings menu (various frame rates are available) and there's also a slow-motion video capture option. 

OnePlus says you can drop the Nord in 30cm of water for up to 30 minutes but there's no official IP rating so maybe give that a miss. 

Battery life - The 4115mAh battery will need charging at the end of the day but fast-charging is supported when you plug the smartphone into the mains via the provided cable/plug so you won't be waiting too long for it to charge.  

Geekbench 5 and Antutu Scores: 611 single-core, 1937 multi-core for Geekbench 5 and 240412 Antutu.


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