I’m here today with a quick review of the brand new OnePlus Nord! The Nord is OnePlus’s new mid-range budget device that was recently released overseas. When it was announced, I was pretty disappointed because it was looking like OnePlus wasn’t going to be bringing the device to the US. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on the device and I’m glad I did! I would’ve really missed out if I hadn’t!
The OnePlus Nord starts out at around $500 USD and comes in two different colors, Blue Marble and Gray Onyx. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 76 5G processor and either 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR4X RAM. The 8GB version comes with 128GB of UFS2.1 storage and the 12GB comes with 256GB. Powering all of that is a 4,115 mAh non-removable battery. Then last but not least comes one of my favorite features, a 6.44-inch display with a 2400×1080 resolution, a 20:9 aspect ratio, and a 90Hz refresh rate.
As far as specs go, the Nord is not the most powerful device on the market, but it is still no slouch. It’s just one of the many things I like about the phone. When I was using the phone, I kept finding more and more things that I wanted to include it my review. I know you guys don’t want to talk to me all day, so I cut my list down a bunch and have limited it to the five things I like most about the phone. In the interest of fairness, I also tried really hard to look for things I didn’t like. I managed to find two whole things! I’m going to give you guys a quick spoiler alert, neither of those things is a big deal, and I 100% recommend this device and think you should check it out!
The very first thing, and probably the most noticeable thing on my list is the display. Despite this being a budget mid-range device, OnePlus didn’t skimp on the screen. The display is sharp and vivid and it produces colors in a nice and natural tone. I know some people prefer the over-saturated look but that just isn’t for me. I much prefer the natural look. When using the device, the screen is responsive and fluid and provides an overall smooth experience. A big part of that is due to the optimizations OnePlus does with Oxygen OS but a bigger part is because of the default 90Hz refresh rate.As a side note, another thing I love about the display is that it is flat. I know that a lot of people like the curved edge display on a lot of more expensive phones, but I’m not a huge fan. They cost more to make, they cost more to repair, and they add no real functionality to the device. If anything, they make the device more difficult to use because you have to hold it in a way that you’re not accidentally touching the screen. It was refreshing to have a device that just worked without needing to throw a useless feature on there to make it look better.
The next thing on my list is the battery and Warp charging. I know that’s technically two things but together they help keep the device going longer than a lot of other devices. The 4,115 mAh battery delivers just enough power to get you through a full day of regular usage with no problems. It does suffer a bit when gaming but the good news is that the Nord comes with OnePlus’s Warp Charge 30T and charges insanely fast! With Warp Charge, the phone should charge from 0-70% in 30 minutes. It had no issues charging my device to 100% in just under an hour every time.
Number three on my list is actually one of my favorite things about OnePlus devices in general. I love that OnePlus gives me the ability to customize my device and make it my own. OnePlus has always had close ties to the development community. They are big supporters of Custom ROM and kernel developers, themers, and more. They make it easy to unlock your bootloader, they don’t block you from rooting your phone, and you can customize your phone to your heart’s content. If that’s all a little too much for you, OnePlus has done an amazing job of building in its own customization options within Oxygen OS. There are several built-in and customizable themes, extra gestures, custom navigation bars and SO much more!
Fourth on the list would be the price. As I mentioned earlier, the device sells for just under $500 USD. At that price point, the Nord is a little outside of what I’d call the “budget” range, but when compared to other devices, you’re getting a LOT of bang for your buck. It will outperform every budget device, most mid-range devices, and even many flagship devices. The Nord packs a massive punch with great specs, tons of storage, a beautiful body, a smooth operating system, insanely fast charging, 5G support, a 90Hz display, and so much more! With everything crammed into it, the Nord is worth every penny!
The fifth thing on my list would be the camera. The OnePlus Nord ships with a primary 48-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide angle, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and then a 5-megapixel lens that acts as a depth sensor. That 48-megapixel camera is the same one that ships with the OnePlus 8 Pro and is capable of some amazing pictures! It does seem to take a bit longer to process sometimes, but overall, it is a solid experience and takes beautiful shots!
Now as I mentioned earlier, there were two things I didn’t like about the device. I feel like both of them are fairly superficial and both can be resolved very easily. In fact, they are so small, I hate bringing them up!
The first thing is the power button. The power button itself isn’t a problem, but with the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, OnePlus decided to try something new, they changed the default behavior of the power button. Normally, when you hold down the power button, it will pop-up the power menu so you can shut down or restart your device. Instead of doing that, the power button brings up the Google Assistant. It’s easily changed back to the usual behavior but it is a bit annoying if you don’t know about it beforehand. Be sure to check out our YouTube Video showing how to fix it! You can watch it here: How to Fix the OnePlus Nord Power Button!
The second thing is the pre-applied screen protector. I’ve had OnePlus devices with pre-applied screen protectors in the past, and have never had a problem. I don’t know why, but this time, the screen protector just felt cheap and had an almost sticky feeling. The good news is that you can peel it off and put on your own!
Before we wrap this up, OnePlus did have one specific request when they sent me the device, they wanted to know how it handled connectivity in my area. Since the Nord was designed to be used overseas, it doesn’t support all the mobile bands that we have in the US. As such, I expected to have very limited data access outside of wi-fi. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that with T-Mobile, I had almost no issues. I got 5G, 4G, and 3G all at my home, and around town. I was able to make calls and send texts everywhere I went. I only had an issue one time where I didn’t get 5G or 4G and had to resort to 3G speeds. Other than that, I have been very impressed with the connection and would have no problems using it as my primary phone! Please keep in mind, your experience may be different on other carriers and in your area. Before ordering the Nord, you should check your carrier’s band support and the coverage in your area.
In closing, I know that I said I was going to just give you my top five things, but I’m going to sneak one more in here at the end. One of my favorite things about the Nord is that OnePlus is getting back to its roots. In the beginning, all of OnePlus’s phones were Flagship Killers. They were affordable devices that could perform as well as any flagship device. Fast forward to today, and OnePlus has joined the ranks and is making flagship devices themselves. Although their devices are still cheaper than the competition, the prices have been going up and up. With the Nord, they are going back to those Flagship Killer roots. I hope this is a sign of things to come and that OnePlus has more Flagship Killers soon!
So in summary, yes, I would recommend the Nord. It is an awesome device that will do everything you need it to and more. It’s not as cheap as some budget devices, but with the Nord, you are getting way more than what you are paying for. I love the Nord and am grateful that OnePlus gave me the chance to try it out. I hope to be able to bring you more content featuring the Nord here real soon!
Roy likes to dabble in all things Android and contributes everywhere he can. He owns the site rwilco12.com and its accompanying forum, he develops his own apps and ROM’s, is a Moderator and Recognized Developer on XDA-Developers.com and is the VP of Public Relations for AndroidFileHost.com.