OnePlus is a brand that has been around us for barely a decade now and yet has succeeded to make a strong impression on us and once was one of the favourite brands for people, especially in the smartphone industry. The past few years were not so good for the OnePlus as some of their past releases were heavily criticized. Now they have added a new mid-range smartphone to their Nord series called, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G which seems very similar to the Oppo Reno 7 5G.
So the new Nord CE 2 5G is worth buying? Well, the question is surely interesting and I am a little excited to share my review on the new OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G so let’s not chit-chat any further and quickly start with the in-box contents.
Oneplus Nord CE 2 5G Unboxing
So in the box, the first thing that pops out is some paperwork along with a sim ejector tool and a silicone case. Next comes the Nord CE 2 which is available in two colours, the one I got was the Gray Mirror variant but you can also get the Bahamas Blue variant and both of them look pretty cool. Moving on next you will be getting a 65W SuperVooc charger that we all love paired with a red-coloured cable.
That’s all you will get in the box and now let’s quickly slide on to the next segment. For more info, please check the review video on our Youtube Channel: Geekman.
Design & Build
One of the biggest reasons why people love OnePlus over other brands is their premium build and their good-looking design. The Nord CE 2 very much stands on that ground. It is pretty sleek, feels durable, and has a glossy finish on the back of it that surely catches eyes. As I had mentioned earlier, the phone looks exactly similar to the Oppo Reno 7 5G just comes with some minor changes and in the OnePlus branding.
Yes, the design is undoubtedly good-looking and surely is an improvement over the last Nord CE 5G. Even though the body still has the same plastic build as the old Nord CE 5G, this time OnePlus has included a Gorilla Glass 5 protection to both of the sides of the phone.
On the front, you will be able to see the punch hole camera module that sits on the top left corner of the display. The bezels around the screen are pretty slim along with a comparatively thick chin at the bottom. Looking at the bottom of the phone you will see the headphone jack along with the microphone hole and a USB Type-C port to charge the device. Next to the Type-C port, you will see a single speaker which honestly disappoints me a bit as you would at least expect stereo speakers at this price point.
Keeping that aside, another thing that is missing is the famous, OnePlus alert slider which was also missing in the first Nord CE too. On the top of the phone is the secondary microphone for noise cancellation whereas on the left side you will get the volume keys placed below the sim tray that now supports an external microSD card which is pretty rare for the OnePlus smartphones. Now the last side is the right side that stays clean with only a power button placed on it.
The phone is pretty lightweight and manages to weigh only 176 grams which is just 6 grams heavier than the previous Nord CE. It feels very well built and has nicely curved edges which make holding it a very pleasant experience. Even though there is no official IP rating for Oneplus Nord CE 2, the sim tray still has a rubber gasket around it that will offer a small amount of protection if you accidentally drop it into water. Although going to swim or taking a bath with it would not be the best idea so don’t blame me for that.
Overall the design and build are pretty decent on the Nord CE 2 but there is still a thin line that OnePlus could have crossed to match it to the OnePlus standards.
Now let’s come on to the next part that a OnePlus rarely fails to impress at, its Display. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 flaunts a beautiful 6.43-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2400 x 1800 pixels and supports a max refresh rate of 90Hz. As I mentioned already, the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 protection. This display offers a peak brightness of 800 nits along with HDR 10+ support which sounds pretty amazing on the paper but on the real ground, Amazon and Netflix did not detect the HDR support which I believe would soon be fixed with some minor software updates.
On digging a bit in the display settings, I found there are two display modes out of which, one is called the Vivid P3 and another one is called the sRGB mode which you can switch according to your preferences.
Overall the display quality is pretty good, all the images and videos look crispy and sharp. The colour contrast and the viewing angles are pretty decent as well. One thing I do need to mention is that the display is impressively bright which makes it usable even under direct sunlight. The touch response is pretty good and the in-display fingerprint scanner does a great job as well.
Yes, I know you are already saying “Prateek everything is fine, but what about the performance?”. So I will let you know about the performance before moving on any further.
The Oneplus Nord CE 2 houses a powerful MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset with an octa-core CPU with 2x Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.4 GHz and 6x Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz, along with a Mali-G68 GPU. It is available in two RAM variants that is the 6GB variant and the 8GB variant paired with 128 GB of standard UFS 2.2 storage.
I have personally used this device as my main device for about a week and I felt the performance was more than enough for day-to-day usage. Apps opening and closing were super fast and multitasking with some apps was effortless too.
I am not a big fan of mobile gaming and yet I tested it out with some games like the BGMI and the performance was pretty fluent. Yes, I can’t deny the fact that there were some minor performance drops amid gaming but I would let it pass considering the fact that this is not a gaming smartphone. I also like to mention that between my 30 minutes of continuous gaming sessions, I felt little to no amount of heat on the device which is appreciable.
Now the next thing is literally what I can talk about for hours, yes, I am talking about the OxygenOS. The Oneplus Nord CE 2 just like all the other OnePlus devices, runs on OxygenOS which is based on Android 11. The OxygenOS is what I would like to call, the “Tony Stark” of all the android builds, yes we know it could have been better but there is nothing that can come even close to it after the Stock Android. If you compare it with some other builds like the ColorOS or the MIUI, they stand no way closer to the experience OxygenOS has to offer.
Yes, with time OxygenOS has changed and is not what it initially used to be but this is what best we have so can’t complain about it. You get almost no bloatware installed in the system by default, there are 3-4 preinstalled apps but they can be easily uninstalled if not needed.
One thing that still hurts me is why OnePlus has not offered Android 12 out of the box. Even its sister brands like Realme are offering Android 12 with their latest releases out of the box but still OnePlus is choosing to stick with the old Android 11. Some theories suggest that this is done to save OnePlus from pushing extra updates as they promise two major updates and if they had offered it with Android 12 out of the box, they would have to offer updates till Android 14 but now with Android 11 in your hands, they would only need to think about the Android 12.
Anyways keeping that aside, the OxygenOS works pretty neatly and offers a bunch of useful features that you would surely love to explore.
Now let’s quickly discuss the big bulky camera setup that has surely made you gaze at it for a while. The Oneplus Nord CE 2 has a triple camera setup on the back which consists of a 64 MP f1.7 primary camera with an 8 MP f2.2 ultra-wide camera, and a 2 MP f2.4 macro camera. Meanwhile, the front has a single 16 MP f2.4 camera which is a punch-hole camera on the top left corner of the screen.
The first thing that I noticed about the camera is that the old OnePlus camera app is no more the simple powerful app we used to love. It has now turned into a more complex Oppo-like camera app which surely introduces a bunch of cool new features but at the cost of simplicity and ease of use.
Anyways, the new features of the app include the night mode, portrait mode, AI image enhancement, and beautification mode. It also has a video portrait mode which works only with 720P which I would consider close to being useless. One mode that excites me is the dual-view mode that allows you to record videos from both of the cameras at the same time. You also get the expert mode that allows you to manually tweak the camera settings to capture as per your requirements.
Now comes the moment of truth, the picture quality. Well, the good thing is the camera still does not disappoint me and does an impressive job of capturing colour-accurate photos in broad daylight conditions. It manages to capture a good amount of details which makes the camera a plus point.
The ultra-wide camera does boost the colours a bit and the texture isn’t that sharp either but it’s not a big issue to worry about. The macro-lens also lack colour accuracy and details. Both the cameras are pretty average but the primary camera successfully wins my heart.
I took some close-up pictures and videos and the results were impressive as well. The camera also performs pretty well in indoor lighting conditions. When it comes to the low-light performance, I can’t deny that it struggles a bit but when the night mode is turned on it manages to capture a decent amount of details.
Coming to the video recordings, it can easily record up to 4K videos at up to 30 FPS and 1080P videos at 60 FPS. Although these high numbers are better if left on paper as when tested on actual grounds they are a bit unstable to be presentable. Still, you can record 1080P videos at 30FPS which comes out to be an optimal choice.
The front shooter also captures a decent amount of details in normal daylight conditions. It can easily shoot 1080P videos at 30 FPS without any issues and results are pretty promising.
Now at last comes the battery which is one of the good parts of the Oneplus Nord CE 2. OnePlus packs a 4500 mAh battery which is the same as the previous Nord CE but the new thing this time is the 65W SuperVooc charging support. Previously, Nord CE came packed with a 30W charger but now OnePlus sends a 65W charger out of the box which is a good thing.
The Nord takes about 35 minutes to fully charge itself up which is pretty amazing and can charge up to 92% within the first 30 minutes. On my regular usage, the phone easily lasted for about two days which I think is more than enough. Even if you are a heavy user, the phone can easily last for a whole day so you won’t have to run for the charger that soon.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is an impressively affordable mid-range phone, with only a few flaws.
In fact, it’s the biggest challenge is simply that spending only a little more would net you the even better Nord 2. And the hardware is nearly unchanged from its predecessor, which immediately puts the Oneplus Nord CE 2 5G at a disadvantage — particularly when there are so many great smartphones in this price range.
If you just looking for a good all-rounder decent phone under 25000 Rs, then you can definitely go with the Nord CE 2 5G. The performance, camera, battery, and charging all impress for the price, and the design is slick enough to outgrow its humble plasticky origins. Another main advantage is OxygenOS. Yes, the OxygenOS is quite changing and you can easily notice the ColorOS present, but still better than the competitors.
The camera has its flaws, but is typical for the price segment, with the main camera that’s good during the daytime, and other lenses that are at least serviceable. Overall, if you compare it with some other options in the market under the same price segment then you may find something that better options suit your needs.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or doubts, feel free to drop them down in the comments section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.