The premium smartphone segment leader OnePlus has entered the mid-price arena with a bang which is dominated by the likes of Vivo, Samsung, Xiaomi and OPPO. The buzz that its affordable premium brand Nord has created is incredible. Is the device awesome too?
The new offering marks the return of OnePlus in the non-flagship smartphone category, years after the OnePlus X that was launched in 2015.
OnePlus ‘Nord’ which means a new direction (in French, it means North) aims to disrupt the mid-range smartphone market as well as compete against its own siblings like the OnePlus 7,7T as well as the OnePlus 8.
However, despite competition from its siblings, the OnePlus Nord sits in a very comfortable position in terms of its pricing.
The smartphone will be available for Rs 24,999 (6GB+64GB), for Rs 27,999 for 8GB+128GB variant and Rs 29,999 for the upend 12GB+256GB model from August 4 (the base 6GB+64GB model will arrive in September).
We used the 12GB RAM+256GB variant in blue marble colour for nearly a week and here is what the device has to offer.
In terms of design, the device scores 9 out of 10 thanks to the dual punch-hole camera and simple placement of quad camera at the back. The dual punch-hole cameras decently drilled into the top left corner of the display.
The right panel holds the power key. The alert slider – a signature OnePlus feature – is placed on the right panel and lets users change between three profiles – ring, silent or vibration.
The left houses the volume rocker keys. The bottom panel has a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer alongside a speaker grille and SIM card slot.
The smartphone feels smooth like the aluminum frames of its flagship but it is actually plastic.
The device features a 6.44-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,400 pixels) Fluid AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate and 20:9 aspect ratio.
The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and supports features including Night Mode, Reading Mode and Video Enhancer.
The display is great for streaming either Netflix, Prime or Disney+ Hotstar.
The device packs a quad rear camera setup that includes a 48MP Sony IMX586 primary sensor with an f/1.75 lens and it comes along with optical image stabilisation (OIS).
The camera setup includes an 8MP secondary sensor with an f/2.25 ultra-wide-angle lens that has a field of view (FoV) of 119 degrees. There is also a 2MP macro shooter and a 5MP depth shooter – both with an f/2.4 aperture.
The quad rear camera system performed well and we captured some great shots.
The camera is capable of producing natural-looking photos. Images had good sharpness and a high level of detailing.
Even though the OnePlus Nord’s camera isn’t quite refined as the OnePlus 8 Pro, it didn’t disappoint.
The device features a dual-selfie camera setup at the front comprising a 32MP Sony IMX616 primary sensor with an f/2.45 lens and an 8MP secondary sensor with an f/2.45 ultra-wide-angle lens that has an FoV of 105 degrees.
The selfie camera is decent which helps you click some good photos like for your DP. It applies a lot of smoothing by default.
The OnePlus Nord comes preloaded with camera features such as UltraShot HDR, Nightscape, Super Macro, Portrait, Pro Mode, Panorama, AI scene detection, RAW Image, and Ultra-Wide Selfie.
The night mode is much more aggressive, resulting in much brighter images in very low light.
It also supports 4K video recording at 30fps (frames per second) or 1080p at 30 or 60fps.
Additionally, one can capture super-slow motion videos at 240fps along with 1080p resolution or time-lapse shots in both 4K and 1080p resolutions at 30fps frame rate.
The phone is powered by octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC, paired with Adreno 620 GPU and up to 12GB LPDDR4x RAM.
During the review, no slowdown with apps and the games went well.
Playing the Battle Royale game PUBG Mobile went without any frame drop or heating issue.
The smartphone supports OnePlus’ signature Warp Charge 30T, which is also featured on OnePlus flagship devices.
Warp Charge 30T took Nord’s 4,115mAh battery from empty to nearly 70 per cent in about 30 minutes. The battery remained alive for 10-11 hours on active usage.
Like the flagship OnePlus 8 Series, Nord comes pre-installed with OxygenOS 10.5, OnePlus’s latest and fastest software yet.
Conclusion: If you are an existing OnePlus 8 user, you may think the wait for ‘Nord’ could have been worth.
‘Nord’ shows a right direction to those who do not have the cash to buy a OnePlus 8 or a OnePlus 8 Pro, and the decision will not disappoint the 8 seekers at all. ‘Nord’ has changed the direction the mid-premium segment was earlier treading on.