OnePlus Nord review: top-quality phone is true bargain at £379

Guardian Technology 27 Jul 2020 08:00
The OnePlus Nord offers most of what makes the firm’s top phones great, but in a significantly cheaper package that offers a lot of top-quality phone for the money. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

With the Nord, OnePlus is returning to its roots with first-class smartphones at mid-range prices, which is a very good thing.

The £379 Nord sits under the £599 OnePlus 8 as the firm’s mid-range offering, aiming to bring everything that makes its top-end smartphones so good but at a significantly lower price.

Dimensions-wise the Nord is only marginally different to the 8, being 0.2mm thicker, 0.4mm wider, 1.9mm shorter and weighing 4g more. It has a gorgeous, bright and colourful, 90Hz AMOLED screen that is 6.44in on the diagonal with FHD+ resolution, which is only 0.11in smaller than the 8. The screen is flat, rather than curved at the sides, and a dual-selfie camera peers through the screen, taking up a fair chunk of real estate in the top left corner.

OnePlus Nord review
The Nord looks particularly good in Marble Blue with top-notch fit and finish. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Fast with 32 hours of battery

The Nord has one of Qualcomm’s latest 5G-capable mid-range processors, the Snapdragon 765G, rather than the top-end Snapdragon 865. It comes with either 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, depending on the model. It is worth noting that the storage is the older, slower UFS 2.1 standard, not the faster, newer UFS 3.0 standard that has been used in top-end smartphones since last year.

Battery life is also good and lasts about 32 hours, from 7am on day one until 3pm on day two, which is more than enough to make it through the toughest of days and a night out. That matches the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro’s 32-hour batteries and beats Apple’s iPhone SE by five hours and Google’s Pixel 3a by eight hours.

The Nord ships with the same OxygenOS 10.5 based on Android 10 as the 8 and 8 Pro.

The OnePlus Nord has a quad-camera system on the back, including the same 48-megapixel main camera as the OnePlus 8, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera and a depth-sensor.

  • A screen protector comes pre-applied to the phone.

  • The haptic feedback and vibration motor is as good as that in the 8 Plus: sharp and punchy, which cannot be said for many phones at this price.

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