It was probably the moment I attempted to capture a night panorama in Udaipur that I was impressed with the Nord 2T’s rear camera. Ultimately, smartphone performance is a bit like parenting. It’s all about managing the key moments. Does the camera rise to the occasion when you need it and does the processor back you when you push it over the edge with intense gaming. Of course, all these scenarios also have to factor in the price: value equation that OnePlus’ new Nord devices seems to have got right. 

The love of sandstone

Eight years may not seem like a long time but it’s almost a lifetime in the smartphone world. OnePlus fanboys always look back longingly at the sandstone finish on the OnePlus One, the device that started it all. That’s one reason OnePlus keeps resurrecting this unique finish in back cases and its smartphones. Our review unit of the Nord 2T featured a sandstone finish in the Gray Shadow colour variant; there’s also a Jade Fog option that we checked out. It’s sort of a meeting point between green and grey. We’d definitely recommend the Gray Shadow option if the 2T is on your radar. OnePlus keeps the heft at 190 gm; this device feels good in your hand. It’s a tad slippery despite the matte, sandstone back. I still wouldn’t slip this phone into the back cover that’s bundled in the box. Call it the love of sandstone. 

Does all the OnePlus things

OnePlus has built its reputation around a no-nonsense user experience and the promise of speed. The Nord 2T doesn’t fall short on these expectations. At its heart is a MediaTek Dimensity 1300 processor that’s complemented by two hardware variants – 8GB/128GB or 12GB/256GB. We tested the higher-end variant and it sure has wings. Multi-tasking and our usual gaming tests were hassle free. The device notched up a respectable score of 2716 in our Geekbench Benchmark test (multi-core). It certainly holds its own at this price point. OnePlus has guaranteed two major Android updates (the device comes with Android 12 out of the box). We’re also relieved to see OnePlus’ clean Oxygen OS 12.1 powering this device. I don’t use the OnePlus slider for notification settings but I know it’s a feature that many OnePlus die-hards will be happy to see on this device. 

The surprise element

The rear cam design is our favourite design element on the Nord 2T. I totally dig the large lens pattern that also allows the device to stand out in a crowd. It’s not just the design, the rear cam also walks the talk. It combines a 50MP Sony IMX766 primary lens with an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP mono-lens. There’s no macro or depth sensor in this setup though. There’s also a 32MP selfie cam that won’t let you down. The rear cam does well in optimal lighting and manages a decent performance in lowlight. It gets a boost from OIS and the Night mode images are good at this price. Don’t expect a ‘OnePlus 10 Pro-type’ performance here though. 

All-round appeal

We’ve said this before, OnePlus’ Nord devices are a throwback to the OnePlus of the old. Devices that tick key boxes and don’t include flagship features like wireless charging or water resistance. What’s changed since 2014 is the expectations around the camera even in the sub Rs 30K price point. The other key element is the display. While the 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate scores, a 120Hz refresh rate would have been even better. The Nord 2T is a solid all-round device with useful features like an 80W SuperVOOC charger in the box that powers the device in less than 30 minutes (Battery life is dependable). It deserves to be in your consideration set if you’re in the market for a sub Rs 30K smartphone.

The OnePlus Nord 2T comes in Gray Shadow and Jade Green. The 8GB/128GB costs Rs 28,999 while the 12GB/256GB is priced at Rs 33,999. There’s an instant discount of Rs 1,500 on ICICI debit and credit cards.