Why the OnePlus Nord 2 is Wouter’s favorite smartphone of 2021

With 2022 on the horizon, the editors of Android Planet back on their (least) favorite smartphones of the year. Wouter explains why his favorite smartphone is the OnePlus Nord 2 and what has disappointed him.

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Why the OnePlus Nord 2 is my favorite smartphone

Traditionally, the Android Planeteditors back on the past year. 2021 also brought many different smartphones, of which we have tested many. Time to pick our favorites and downers. For 2021 I have chosen the OnePlus Nord 2 as my favorite smartphone.

This is quite striking, because in recent years I have invariably used a high-end device as daily driver. However, the OnePlus Nord 2 is so good that I don’t miss the faster hardware and better cameras of more expensive devices. In fact: the Nord 2 is one of the best devices of this year and has an excellent price-quality ratio in any case.

Nice and fast and nice software

With a suggested retail price of 399 euros, the OnePlus Nord 2 is hundreds of euros cheaper than the high-end top devices, but nevertheless offers excellent performance. The device is nice and smooth thanks to the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor, which does its job well and runs apps and games without any problems. You also have enough RAM (8GB) and storage space (128GB) at your disposal.

The performance of the Nord 2 is of course not as good as that of OnePlus’ own OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro (or, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and iPhone 13), but that makes sense given the suggested retail price. In any case, I don’t notice a lot of difference: as a long-term user of high-end Android phones, I was so used to the midrange OnePlus Nord 2.

I am also very satisfied with the 6.43-inch screen, which shows beautiful images and has a high refresh rate of 90Hz. The device looks great – especially because of the blue housing – and is also sturdy. The fingerprint scanner under the screen also works great and almost never lets me down.

I also enjoy using the software. With the Nord 2, OnePlus pulled its own OxygenOS shell a little more together with the Oppo software, making everything look slightly different than on previous OnePlus phones. Not everyone is happy about this online, but it hardly bothered me. The software is smooth and still close to stock Android – which is the most important to me.

Never worry about the battery

I think the best feature of the OnePlus Nord 2 is the fast charging. The box contains a 65 Watt charger, which means that the phone is charged very quickly, just like with the more expensive OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. Ideal if you – like me – often forget to charge your phone in the evening and then look at an almost empty battery in the morning.

oneplus nord 2 review

Fifteen minutes on the power will fill the battery for tens of percents and with that you can go for a lot of hours. Half an hour is enough for a fully charged battery. I often choose to hang the Nord 2 on the charger just before I walk out the door, and it amazes me every time how high the battery percentage is.

In summary, with the Nord 2 you never have to worry about the battery – even though the battery life isn’t that great. A full day is no problem, but with very intensive use it is also possible to empty the device within a day. However, the charging speed more than makes up for it.

Update policy could be better

The OnePlus Nord 2 still has some points for improvement. Especially the update policy could be better. Although OnePlus brings two major Android updates to the smartphone (Android 12 and 13), you have to wait much longer for this than with the more expensive phones of the company. In addition, security patches do not always appear on time: it has regularly happened that I received the update from the month before.

Of course, OnePlus had to make more concessions to be able to sell the Nord 2 for 399 euros. For example, the cameras are good – especially the 50 megapixel main camera – but not at the level of the absolute top devices. The wide-angle lens, in particular, doesn’t always take the best photos. Furthermore, I do not understand the usefulness of the 2 megapixel monochrome lens: I have never used it and probably never will.

Setback (little) of the year: Android 12

It might be a bit crazy to choose an Android version as ‘setback of the year’, especially because I was quite positive about Android 12 in the review. After all, the update adds all kinds of cool new features, is again smarter than its predecessor and changes – for the first time in years – the design of Android really thoroughly.

android 12

However, there is one bigger ‘but’: Android 12 is an update that is especially interesting for Pixel phones. And let these Google phones not be officially sold in the Netherlands. It is therefore more difficult to get a Pixel smartphone and for smartphones from other brands Android 12 is simply not such a big deal.

For example, Samsung sticks to its own One UI design, although the manufacturer does make some adjustments so that you get some Android 12 design elements. Other features of the update, such as the Privacy Dashboard and the camera and microphone icons, will come to devices from other manufacturers. It’s just a shame that Google is targeting the latest Android version so specifically at its own Pixel phones. This was (much) less the case with previous Android versions.

The favorite smartphones of 2021

The other editors of Android Planet have also chosen their favorite smartphones of 2021. In the articles below you can read about the choices of Colin, Michel and Rens.


Source: Android Planet by www.androidplanet.nl.

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