Seven years is a lifetime in the smartphone space. During the time the first OnePlus was launched in 2014, the iPhone 5S was Apple’s premier device.
Many OnePlus die-hards who bought into the brand in the early years remember a very different OnePlus experience compared to the brand’s current flagships that now do battle in the premium segment. Back then it was a brand that did more for less and practically owned the flagship killer tag. OnePlus’ Nord series, a post pandemic phenomenon is a throwback to that past and equally a recognition of new market dynamics that demand a strong performer at the Rs 30K price point. Does the Nord 2 5G find that balance between performance and value?
The Nord 2’s design language is more in line with the latest OnePlus 9 family. It’s a better-looking device than the first Nord that debuted last year. I like the rear camera module design better. Although it’s finished with a plastic back, it looks every inch premium. We checked out the Blue Haze colour option that’s a beautiful play on aquamarine. We also like that the back doesn’t attract smudges or fingerprints, an excuse to ditch a back case. It’s under 190 gm and feels great in your hand. You won’t experience any fatigue even if you’re gaming or texting all night. There’s no 3.5 mm headphone jack but you will find the trademark OnePlus alerts slider on the right spine. The design upgrade you won’t notice are the stereo speakers that add to this device’s Entertainment creds.
One of our favourite features of last year’s Nord was the display. The Nord 2 is kitted with a near identical display – a 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED display (2400 x 1080 pixels / 410 PPI) with a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s ultra-smooth; videos (that get a boost from the stereo speakers), and gaming are immersive. While the display is unchanged, OnePlus changes tack with its processor strategy, ditching Qualcomm for MediaTek.
OnePlus has worked closely with MediaTek on maxing out the AI capabilities of the new Dimensity 1200 processor. It’s why the official OnePlus spec sheet calls it a MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor. We tested the 12GB/256GB hardware variant (There’s also an 8GB/128GB option) and it’s all the firepower most of us need. The Nord 2 notched up an impressive 807/2382 (single-core/multi-core score) in our Geekbench benchmark test. A significant improvement over the Nord.
The other improvement is the camera performance. The Nord 2 opts for a triple lens rear cam (the Nord came with a quad cam) that is headlined by a 50MP primary lens omitting the macro lens. While there’s no significant jump in videos, there’s a noticeable improvement in lowlight photography (with the night mode option). Just don’t expect flagship level camera performance.
OnePlus’ warp charging solution is one of its product differentiators. The Nord 2 comes with a 65W charger in the box that powers the device in just over 30 minutes. OnePlus claims that a 15-minute charge is all you need for a full day battery. It’s not an exaggeration – the 4500 mAh battery comfortably lasted a day and a half in our tests. It’s one of the many handy touches that makes the Nord 2 a dependable smartphone. This is vintage OnePlus, one of your best options if you’re looking for a device with a 30K budget
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G comes in Blue Haze and Grey Sierra and costs Rs 29,999 (8GB/128GB) or Rs 34,999 (12GB/256GB)