It’s been almost five years since OnePlus released a midrange phone. The OnePlus X came on the market next to the then OnePlus 2 at the end of 2015 and cost only $ 250.
However, the OnePlus X did not create a new line of phones for the company, and it was soon forgotten when OnePlus focused on making “flagship killers”, high-end smartphones with the latest technology – and a constantly rising price .
As prices for OnePlus phones continued to rise, many fans were priced out, with the OnePlus 8 Pro being the last straw for many at $ 1,000.
But OnePlus is nothing if not sleek and adaptable, and that brings us to OnePlus Nord – a new affordable OnePlus phone for 2020 and the launch of a brand new line of similar hardware. It is a spiritual successor to the OnePlus X.
Should you look at this instead of a OnePlus 8, an iPhone SE, a Pixel 3a or even a Galaxy S20? I can’t give you a final answer yet – that will appear in the full review – but my first impressions of OnePlus Nord are positive.
The OnePlus Nord is effortlessly attractive. There are no new paths and instead draw inspiration from Xiaomi’s Mi 9, the Realme X50 Pro and the Huawei P30 Pro for its style. The Gorilla glass back is glossy and available either in gray onyx on our photos or in a lighter color blue marble with simple OnePlus branding. However, the ugly legal text below is unfortunate.
A camera module with four lenses sits proudly on the body a few millimeters and is located on the top left on the back. If you grasp the neatly rounded sides, it immediately becomes clear how slim and light the north is. The 184 gram weight corresponds to the Galaxy S20 Plus and is only a few tenths of a millimeter thicker.
On the front is a flat 6.44-inch fluid AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 90 Hz, a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, an aspect ratio of 20: 9 and support for the sRGB and display P3 color space . It’s bright and colorful, and far from what we would expect from a midrange smartphone.
You instantly know that if you hold the North, it is a OnePlus phone as the slider is on the right side of the body to change the alarm mode from silent, vibrating or ringing. The edited texture makes it easy to use, and this OnePlus hardware staple is surprisingly useful. The volume and power buttons don’t feel as solid or expensive as those of the OnePlus 8, with a less positive click when pressed.
The OnePlus Nord comes very close to the ideal size for a modern smartphone, at least for those who are not influenced by the attraction of huge screens on cell phones like the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It can be operated with one hand, is easy to put in your pocket and the built-in fingerprint sensor is located deep on the screen, making it easy to use without having to juggle the phone with two hands. It doesn’t have a “wow, that’s a OnePlus Nord” design, but the ergonomics are just right.
Camera and technical data
There are four camera sensors on the back of the OnePlus Nord. The main sensor is a Sony IMX586 with 48 megapixels and optical image stabilization as well as 4K video recording. It is located next to an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, a 5-megapixel depth sensor and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. In the top corner of the screen is a selfie camera with two lenses – a first for OnePlus – consisting of a 32 megapixel sensor and an 8 megapixel ultra-wide sensor.
I can’t comment on camera performance or show you examples yet, but I can tell you that the app is identical to that on OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. It is quick and easy to use. However, OnePlus is a little cheeky, as it adds a link with 2x zoom in addition to the standard and wide-angle buttons, although the phone only has a 2x digital zoom function. Do not be fooled. There is no optical zoom here.
OxygenOS 10.5 is installed on the North and is one of the best Android versions available. Clever, logical, fast and full of functions, it is a great advantage to have it on board. OnePlus promises general software updates for two years and security updates for three years so you can be sure the phone will last for some time.
The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor with 5G connectivity. 5G isn’t a big deal for consumers yet, but it will become more accessible over time. If it’s available on your phone, you don’t need to update it when the service arrives near you. This is essential on a phone that costs $ 1,000. So it’s great to see it on a phone that costs less than half.
Available with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage or 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage as well as a 4,115 mAh battery with OnePlus’ super-fast Warp Charge 30T, with which the larger cell of the OnePlus 8 is full in about an hour Most the desirable specifications we all want.
What does it not have? It has no water resistance, although OnePlus says it will be good in the rain. A headphone jack and wireless charging are also missing.
To protect the body, you can take a case designed by OnePlus with you. The blue and black versions are available in the three versions shown above and have the distinctive, sandpaper-like texture of OnePlus for additional support.
OnePlus said the north would cost less than $ 500 and the 8GB / 128GB version will cost £ 379. That’s about $ 480. The 12 GB / 256 GB model costs £ 469 or around $ 593. Based on the UK price, this is less than the iPhone SE 2020, which makes the 8 GB / 128 GB model an absolute bargain.
However, if you’re in the U.S. and want to buy one, OnePlus made the unfortunate decision not to officially sell it in North America. You have to have it imported.
Why this is the right business move is not clear, since OnePlus is pushing bargain hunters into the open, waiting arms of Apple with the setting of the Pixel 3a in the USA. OnePlus says it will offer some kind of a “beta” program for the North in the US, but adds that it will be very limited. It is also claimed to have other plans for a mid-range phone in the U.S., but there is still no timeframe for a device.
OnePlus Nord is sold in the UK, Europe, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Russia. In true OnePlus style, the start is pretty complicated. On July 21, OnePlus will offer the Nord for sale through its pop-up website, but only in limited numbers. A pre-order is started at Amazon. On July 31, a limited number of phones will be sold through the John Lewis retail stores in the UK, and finally general sales will begin on August 4 through OnePlus, John Lewis and the Three network.
It all comes down to this £ 379 price. It’s better than we hoped and based on my early use, specs and build quality, OnePlus hit the sweet spot with the North. You look at what is becoming one of the cheapest phones.