When buying a new smartphone, you need to look beyond the glitzy advertisements and focus on your real purpose behind buying the new device. After all, all you could ever need is a mid-range phone that does what you want it to. The Nord CE 2 is not the fancy smartphone you expect from OnePlus, but an excellent mid-range phone, which covers the basics for Rs 23,999. Here is my review of the new OnePlus Nord CE 2.
OnePlus Nord CE 2: Design and aesthetics
OnePlus is taking significant elements from the Oppo Reno 7 and integrating them into the body of the Nord CE 2. That’s not a bad thing – Oppo now controls OnePlus directly and it’s pretty obvious that you’ll start to see more of the influence from Oppo on OnePlus phones in the future. But yeah, the good old days when OnePlus phones had a distinct style and appeal seem to be over.
Going back to the Nord CE 2 (“CE” stands for “Core Edition”), the phone is part of a new direction that involves more mid-range smartphones aimed at mass consumption. The Nord CE 2 has a plastic back and frame, a step up from previous OnePlus smartphones.
There’s no traditional alert slider on the side of the phone or an IP rating for dust and water resistance. Still, the Nord CE 2 feels solid and well-made, and I could comfortably use it one-handed. The bottom of the phone, surprisingly, has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone is considerably light and thin, weighing 178 grams and measuring 7.8mm thick. But I have to say that the Nord CE 2 doesn’t look drab and boring, especially my review unit which came in the Bahama Blue color option.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 review: screen and speakers
There’s a 6.43-inch AMOLED display, and it does the job well. Colors are vivid and the 90Hz refresh rate makes everything smooth. You can also unlock the phone with your face, but the on-screen fingerprint scanner is lightning-fast, and you’ll be asked to set it up, as well as select a PIN if you choose to do so. The mono speakers aren’t great, although they do get quite loud when watching a YouTube video or listening to casual music.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 review: performance and battery
The Nord CE 2 uses a MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor, paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage (expandable up to 1TB of microSD storage). I had reservations about finding a MediaTek chip in a OnePlus smartphone, but the performance didn’t disappoint, especially when playing games like Genshin Impact. When it comes to switching between apps, editing videos and photos, and multitasking between all of those things, it always feels smooth. Of course, you won’t get the same level of performance you’d expect from a high-end premium Android smartphone. But yeah, this phone performs the same in day-to-day use when it comes to the most common tasks you do on a phone, which is a very good thing. That means the Nord CE 2 should be fast and capable for years to come. There’s 5G on board, which many newer phones (even in this price range) offer.
If battery life is the most important factor, the Nord CE 2 is something you should definitely consider. The phone’s 4500mAh battery easily lasts more than a day, from 7am on day one to 10am on day two. This was after using the phone for multiple tasks in a day, listening to music through my Samsung Galaxy Buds, reading news articles on Indianexpress.com and The New York Times, and streaming Little Sheldon on Amazon Prime Video. Charging the Nord CE 2 with the included 65W SuperVooc charger is incredibly fast, and in my testing I was able to fill the battery from 5% to 100% in around 35 minutes.
With OnePlus fully folded under Oppo, the two brands now share the same resources as well as the software running on the phones. OnePlus has already announced that it is merging its native OxygenOS with Oppo’s ColorOS, but the Nord CE 2 is currently running on OxygenOS, which is based on Android 11. It’s unfortunate to see that this phone is running on an older version of Android and not on the latest Android 12. Be clear, every OnePlus phone runs on OxgenOS. The custom OxygenOS does a good job on the Nord CE 2. I find the OxygenOS to be a more polished, bloat-free version of Android. It offers lots of customization options that users would like. It’s fast and easy to use, just like the Android experience that Google offers on its Pixel smartphones.
OnePlus currently offers software support for three years, including two years of Android version updates. But things are changing rapidly. Samsung, by comparison, now offers four years of updates and Apple already offers five years of software updates. So OnePlus really needs to catch up in this space.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 review: Camera
On the back of the phone are three cameras, including a 64MP main, an 8MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP monochrome camera, the latter of which I find to be gimmicky and doesn’t make any real difference in the image. photographic experience. The 64MP main camera is generally good, with good detail and color accuracy. For me, it sometimes becomes difficult to find differences between photos taken with the Nord CE 2 and a high-end Android smartphone.
Images taken with the Nord CE 2 are well exposed and you get balanced photos with a neutral color balance. In low light, noise and grain are more prevalent, but OnePlus’ software attempts to mitigate this and dramatically improve image quality. The 8MP ultra-wide lens, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. OnePlus could have used a higher resolution ultra-wide lens and for users who like to take pictures of landscapes and historical monuments, it would have made a huge difference. The 16MP selfie camera took great photos in good lighting and low light.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 review: should you buy?
As I said at the start, the Nord CE 2 has more nuances from Oppo than from OnePlus. It is quite obvious that the future range of OnePlus phones, especially on the budget and mid-range, will have similarities with that of Oppo phones. That, however, shouldn’t affect the quality consumers expect from a OnePlus phone. If you ask me who should buy a Nord CE 2, I would say anyone who wants to upgrade an older Samsung Galaxy phone or Xiaomi Note phone. The Nord CE 2 might appeal to Android phones that have never experienced OxygenOS due to OnePlus’ high price tag.