My favorite OnePlus phones of the year got 95% of the flagship good stuff for it, just for hundreds of pounds less than their super pricey competitors.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 9 series models are not so cheap anymore. This means the Nord 2 is an ideal opportunity for OnePlus to make a phone like the ones I used to recommend over and over again, in its early glory days with Android.
For the most part, OnePlus has nailed it all with the Nord 2. It makes Android, games, also its camera can take great photos, day or night.
In fact, it outperforms in almost every category aside from battery life. If you’re looking for a smartphone to use for 2 days, it’s not the OnePlus Nord 2. But if you don’t mind a quick recharge at 5 pm on heavy days, this could be a winner and a fancier pocket. partner than the Nord CE 5G.
ONEPLUS NORD 2: PRICE
As with its other smartphones, OnePlus offers the Nord 2 in two specifications, both of which promise a lot for their respective price tags.
You can pay ₹ 29,999 for the OnePlus Nord 2 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Or you can shell out an additional ₹ 5000 for the Nord 2, which gives you 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
There is no microSD slot on either version, so internal storage really matters. You can also choose from three colors. Blue Haze and is similar to the turquoise shade of the original Nord. There is also a green version, in addition to Gray Sierra for those who prefer the shallow side of the Pantone pool.
Whichever spec you select, you’re looking for a ₹ 20,000 savings compared to a OnePlus 9. And given how close the Nord 2 comes in in many respects, that makes for a bit of a steal.
ONEPLUS NORD 2: DESIGN & DISPLAY
Emulating the OnePlus 9 would always make the Nord 2 a winner. And it does it in several ways.
First: build quality. The OnePlus Nord 2 features Gorilla Glass on the front and back, with ‘fiberglass reinforced polymer’ on the sides. That’s plastic for the uninitiated, and it’s the same as what you find in the OnePlus 9. The Nord 2 looks like a delight.
You also get the sleek, understated design you’d expect from a OnePlus, with a much more advanced feel than the all-plastic Nord CE 5G.
On the front, you’ll find a 6.43-inch Full HD OLED screen, which is a mid-grade size for Android smartphones in 2021. It’s slightly smaller than the OnePlus 9’s screen but bright enough to use on a sunny day. In fact, it looks brighter to the max than its flagship.
The color is excellent, the contrast is perfect, and it also supports HDR video. And while you don’t get the 120Hz refresh rate offered on some cheaper Androids, 90Hz is still enough to offer a smooth boost over the standard 60Hz.
ONEPLUS NORD 2: CAMERAS
Then the camera. As with almost all mid-range phones, only one lens on the Nord 2 is a killer: the main 50-megapixel stunner, complete with optical image stabilization. Oppo uses similar hardware in its high-end Find X3 Pro.
The Nord 2 camera is a complete pleasure to use. It’s fast, with almost no shutter lag, and the HDR processing is so good that it’s almost impossible to take a duff photo. Unless you have a bit of grease on the lens, which is difficult to clean courtesy of the cartoon camera settings.
While the OnePlus 9 can almost sting you in daylight, the Nord 2 actually produces clearer results at night. It’s not a puristic color shade like the Pixel 4a 5G, but almost every shot feels ready for sharing.
That said, you don’t have everything present on the OnePlus 9 twins. Where their ultra-wide cameras are impressive, the Nord 2’s 8MP wide-angle lens is fine. It uses inexpensive hardware, which is clear in the way it handles color and contrast. And while the night shots from the main camera are great, the ultra-wide ones are rubbish, even if clever software processing does a lot to improve them.
There’s no optical zoom here either, and the 5x digital zoom preset makes your shots appear covered in iron filings. The 2x results aren’t that bad, and this mode is the one used for macro snapshots because the main lens just doesn’t get you close enough.
So there are indications that the Nord 2’s rear camera suite isn’t top-notch. But use it to take everyday photos and the experience is similar to that of a flagship. The 32 megapixel selfie camera is also a star. Surprisingly, clean the floor with the 16-megapixel equivalent of the OnePlus 9.
ONEPLUS NORD 2: PERFORMANCE
Its screen may be a bit smaller than the OnePlus 9, but the Nord 2 is still an excellent gaming phone. I assigned him a bunch of Fortnite matches and he took each graphical setting in stride. Epic at 30fps, maximum resolution? It is not a problem. 60 fps in between? There were some drops at 50fps but I saw the same with the Samsung Galaxy S21.
This kind of performance was never guaranteed – the Nord 2 is the first OnePlus phone to not use a Qualcomm chipset. Instead, it has a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor under the hood. Newsflash: it’s amazing.
Android feels as slick and responsive on the Nord 2 as it does almost anywhere else. It’s well-equipped for gaming, handles photos quickly, and generally gets the job done.
The Nord 2 also features a pretty impressive tube set, with stereo speakers that deliver good max volume and at least a hint of low-frequency punch.
ONEPLUS NORD 2: BATTERY LIFE
So where is the catch? There is always a catch. Here’s the battery life – the OnePlus Nord 2 doesn’t have great longevity. You will not have a significant load left at the end of the day. In fact, the Nord 2 frequently required a recharge in the late afternoon or early evening.
I’m are not talking about trial days that start with very early mornings and end with long nights out. No, this is the standard performance on days when activity peaks with a trip to ALDI, a run in the park, and bedtime before midnight.
So the Nord 2 is not a battery life soldier. Side-by-side videos and stress tests suggest that it depletes up to 1.5 times the rate of the OnePlus 9 in certain situations.
I’m sticking with the Nord 2 team banner though because we like this phone so much more. Plus there’s the 65W Warp charger to the rescue – this takes you flat to 50% in just 13 minutes, based on our tests. And it will reach 100% in 32 minutes.
It is the power adapter equivalent to a pressure washer. The real question is whether you can accept the need to use it regularly.
ONEPLUS NORD 2: COMPARISONS
Should you buy the OnePlus Nord 2 or spend less on the OnePlus Nord CE 5G? In short, no. I think the Nord 2 is well worth the extra money than the Nord CE. It has a much better camera, plays more fluidly, and the glass back adds a touch of class that the CE lacks. You get much closer to the flagship experience with a Nord 2.
How about spending more on OnePlus 9? Despite being further apart in price, the OnePlus Nord 2 and OnePlus 9 feel closer in use. They look similar and their performance in the real world is not that different. However, the OnePlus 9 lasts longer between charges and its ultra-wide camera is much better. As in so many areas of technology, that latest 10% improvement ends up costing more.
What else can you get for similar cash? There’s the Sony Xperia 10 III, a smaller phone with a solid 2x zoom camera. However, its camera is a disaster, as it takes much less consistent images than the OnePlus. The phone itself is noticeably slower than the Nord 2, making it less pleasant to use. Battery life is better, but it doesn’t make up for phone issues.
Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, which boasts IP67 water resistance and could last longer between charges. However, the plastic back design doesn’t speed up pulses and it doesn’t work with gaming either. The main camera is not in the same league either.
You could also consider the Pixel 4a 5G. It’s, again, a plastic phone, but it also has a great camera, plus it runs Google’s totally pure version of Android. The load is slower, mind, and it does not have the same game energy.
Still not satisfied? The Xiaomi Poco F3 could be a perfect fit. Priced at ₹ 28,999, it’s one of the few phones that is arguably a better value than the Nord 2. It runs a superior Snapdragon 870 CPU that should offer longer battery life. The screen is bigger and has that fast 120Hz refresh rate. However, the main camera hardware is not on the same level as the Nord 2.
ONEPLUS NORD 2: CONCLUSION
OnePlus struck a great balance with the Nord 2. You can play high-end games with stereo sound. Photos turn out great, day or night. A Gorilla Glass backing takes you away from the all-plastic construction that Samsung and Google offer for the price.
All of which only makes the relatively short battery life even more annoying. If you can ignore plug visits as a necessary chore of smartphone ownership, the OnePlus Nord 2 offers exceptional value. But if two-day battery life is a deal breaker, this isn’t the flagship killer for you.