The OnePlus Nord has been officially presented and Android Planet has already been able to test the device. You can check our first experiences with the new midranger in this OnePlus Nord preview.
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OnePlus Nord preview: our first impressions
OnePlus focuses on a new audience with the new OnePlus Nord. The company also sees this first device as an experiment, a spokesperson for OnePlus said Android Planet. This is one of the reasons why the device is first released in Europe and India and may follow the American market later.
With this device, the Chinese manufacturer focuses on the middle segment, while the company’s smartphones have become increasingly expensive in recent years. The OnePlus Nord is available for one starting price of 399 euros. For that you buy the version with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage costs 499 euro.
That extra cost for more RAM and storage is more noticeable than with the OnePlus 8 series, where it also costs 100 euros. The prices of the OnePlus Nord are different than the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, which cost 699 euros and 899 euros respectively.
Although the price of the OnePlus Nord does not come close to that of, for example, the OnePlus X (a midranger that cost 269 euros at the time), the device is therefore much cheaper than the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. We have started working with the Nord in recent days and you can read our findings below.
Design, build quality and screen
At first glance, the build quality is good. The device has a flat screen of 6.44 inches with a resolution of 2400 by 1080 pixels.
The screen looks very nice, which is mainly due to the amoled panel. Colors look good, the viewing angles are good and black is really black. In addition, you can choose a refresh rate of 90Hz, making everything feel a lot smoother. We know this feature from other OnePlus phones and it is nice that the Nord also has a 90Hz display.
Device is good in the hand
The back is made of Gorilla Glass 5, which prevents scratches and damage less quickly. You can choose from two colors: Gray Onyx (gray) and Blue Marble (blue). The matte finish that OnePlus boasted with the OnePlus 8 Pro is not present and we think that is a pity.
The edges of this blue device are also very shiny, which makes the Nord look slightly cheaper. The bright blue color stands out, and that is something we appreciate. The box also contains a transparent case and there are also several covers for sale for the Nord.
The sides are slightly rounded, the device weighs 184 grams and is 73.3 millimeters wide. That combination ensures that the device lies well in the hand, although operating with one hand remains difficult. All buttons feel good and a physical slider is also present. That is a feature of OnePlus phones and allows you to quickly switch between sound profiles. At the bottom is the dualsim slot, the USB-C port and a single speaker.
Fast and smooth experience
What is also central to OnePlus is the smooth experience that the company wants to offer through the combination of smooth hardware and software. As mentioned, that is partly due to the 90Hz screen, which feels smooth. The Snapdragon 765 processor (with 5G) is also powerful and in combination with the amount of RAM, this provides excellent performance.
Strong multitasking is no problem and playing games like Call of Duty: Mobile or The Gardens Between goes smoothly. This is partly due to the large amount of working memory in our test model: 12GB. With the entry-level model, which has 8GB of RAM on board, you don’t have to complain.
In our opinion, models of the Nord with 6GB and 8GB RAM had been more than enough. That is not only more than enough to work smoothly, but it had also ensured that the smartphone is slightly cheaper.
Software and battery
Also in terms of software, OnePlus does a good job again. That’s because of the combination of Android 10 with the OxygenOS shell from the manufacturer. That’s a skin with few adjustments and the options out there really add something.
The manufacturer has also announced that there will be updates to Android 11 and Android 12 on the OnePlus Nord anyway. In addition, the device receives at least three years of security updates, so that is also a good thing.
The battery has a capacity of 4115 mAh and although that is considerable, we have not yet been able to test the battery life well enough. In our extensive review, we take a closer look at this and tell you exactly how long the phone will last.
Charging is done with a maximum of 30 watts and that is nice and fast, as we are used to from OnePlus. That can only be wired, but considering the price point that is a logical choice. After all, wireless charging is a feature that we often only see with high-end smartphones.
A total of six cameras on board
Unfortunately, we are not allowed to publish camera samples in this OnePlus Nord preview. We will certainly delve further into that. However, the first experiences with the camera are variable.
For example, the primary camera is the same 48 megapixel sensor as in the OnePlus 8, so you are good for many photos. You can also take photos at a wider angle, which you do in a maximum of 8 megapixels. We need to take a closer look at the other two cameras on the back.
On paper, a 2-megapixel macro camera is not very impressive, because it simply captures too little detail. This can also be seen in the first macro photos we took, where colors are not natural and the whole looks somewhat dull. Finally, the fourth camera is not a real one to shoot photos with.
This is because depth information is recorded, so that the device can take a good portrait photo. Such a separate lens is not present on the OnePlus 8 series, for example, but those devices can take portrait photos. That is controlled by software, which also works fine.
Double selfie camera
The OnePlus Nord is the manufacturer’s first smartphone with a dual selfie camera. The company is also moving away from the commonly used 16-megapixel front camera. Instead, you can now shoot selfies of up to 32 megapixels. The second front camera is used for wide-angle selfies with an angle of up to 105 degrees. It is also striking that the angle of the primary selfie camera is already a lot larger than the selfie camera of the OnePlus 8 Pro.
OnePlus Buds: OnePlus goes completely wireless
In addition to the OnePlus Nord, the OnePlus Buds were also presented. These are the first fully wireless earbuds from the manufacturer. The earplugs are available in white, black and blue for a suggested retail price of 89 euros.
The black version offers red accents, while the blue is combined with green accents. The latter version looks a bit kitschy, also because of the shiny finish. We test the white variant, whereby a comparison with the Apple AirPods is of course quickly made.
There is a touch sensor on both ears. An upcoming update ensures that you can perform even more actions on your (OnePlus) device. This makes it easier to connect to multiple devices and switch between them. Pausing music or skipping a song is then also possible.
Active noise cancellation is not available, but ambient noise is filtered out during a call. You can simply have conversations via the built-in microphones. This all sounds nice and clear. A drop of water is also no problem for the Buds, thanks to the IPX4 certification.
With a full battery charge of the earbuds, you can listen to music for up to seven hours. Charging is via the USB-C port of the box and it also has an extra built-in battery. If you hang it on the charger for ten minutes, you can listen to music for a total of ten hours.
If the battery of the box is full, you have enough power to charge the earplugs a few times. This way you can listen to music on a full charge for up to 30 hours.
Conclusion OnePlus Nord preview
That OnePlus mixes in the middle segment of smartphones is a welcome surprise. With a starting price of 399 euros, the Nord has a lot to offer, making it easy to compete with devices in this price range.
However, less memory had also been fine in terms of performance. As a result, prices were a few tens less, making the Nord even more attractive on paper.
All in all, OnePlus shows with this ‘experimental’ Nord that they can also offer a nice device in this price range. In terms of quality and experience, this just feels good again, just like the more expensive devices from the manufacturer.
We are not yet fully convinced of the cameras, although we will have to test that better in the extensive review. All in all, the new path to the North is a positive turn. Especially for the people who are fed up with average specs and don’t want to spend too much money.
OnePlus Nord price and release
You can read the prices and release of the OnePlus Nord below. The device is immediately (July 21) pre-order from Belsimpel, T-Mobile and Coolblue. On Tuesday, August 4 the release will take place.
- OnePlus Nord (gray / blue) 8GB / 128GB – from July 21 in front of 399 euro
- OnePlus Nord (gray / blue) 12GB / 256GB – from July 21 in front of 499 euro
- OnePlus Buds (black / blue / white) – from July 21 in front of 89 euro