Let’s cut to the chase. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is the company’s first device under Rs 20,000, and the question on everyone’s mind is whether it delivers the OnePlus experience we’ve come to expect or does it cut too many corners. Before we get to that, we have to remember that OnePlus is not the same company that it was. A lot has changed since 2014, when the first OnePlus smartphone debuted, and one of those changes is the debut of the Nord line in 2020.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G

New Direction

I’d like to think of the OnePlus Nord line as a Russian Matryoshka doll set. There’s the Nord 2 that starts at Rs 27,999, the Nord CE 2 that is priced 4,000 rupees lower, and now the Nord CE 2 Lite with an asking price of Rs 19,999. OnePlus has built its cult following in India based on its reputation for speed (including charging speeds), the uncluttered Oxygen OS and the pleasing design aesthetic. We can argue that the camera has become a big selling point only over the last couple of years with its premium flagships. So does the Nord CE 2 Lite live up to OnePlus’ core attributes? The CE 2 Lite was launched alongside the OnePlus 10R and the first Nord-branded TWS earbuds. We’ll bring you those reviews soon.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G

Blue Tidings

The Nord CE 2 Lite is one of the best-looking smartphones at this price point. We checked out the Blue Tide colour option; it’s a gorgeous spin on aquamarine blue. We like the dual-tone matte finish that also repels fingerprints. The Black Dusk colour option pays homage to the original OnePlus One’s sandstone rear cover with a smooth finish. While the CE 2 managed to keep the heft under 180 gm, the CE 2 Lite weighs 195 gm and does feel slightly heavier in your hand. That’s something we’d also put down to weight distribution. There’s a flip side to this though. The CE 2 Lite features a larger 5000 mAh battery that comfortably lasted more than a day in our standard tests. There’s also a 33W Super-VOOC charger in the box. The Nord CE 2 Lite also features thoughtful additions like a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G

Mixed Bag

This is how we’d best describe the camera and the display. OnePlus opts for an IPS LCD 6.59-inch display (2412×108 pixels / 401 PPI) with a 120Hz refresh rate but gives HDR10+ support a miss. We checked Asphalt 9 that played out quite well with the 120Hz refresh rate but you can get better displays for HD Content on platforms like Netflix at this price point. The triple rear cam combines a 64MP primary lens with a 2MP depth sensor and 2MP macro lens. There’s no ultra-wide lens; this is also an omission we’re seeing on some of OPPO’s smartphones at this price range. Images are reasonably good in optimal light but don’t quite cut it in lowlight

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G

Bang for the Buck?

We’re likely to see more Nord-branded smartphones as OnePlus starts to play across price segments. We like the design language and build quality of the Nord CE 2 Lite. Performance is quite solid with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage (expandable via Micro SD card support up to 1TB). There’s also 6GB/128GB version. The device clocked 1997 on our Geekbench (Multi-core) benchmark test (the CE 2 clocked 2154). The One Plus Nord CE 2 Lite marks a new price zone for OnePlus and it’s a good start.

The OnePlus Nord CE2 Lite comes in Blue Tide and Black Dusk colours, and is priced at Rs 19,999 for the 6GB+128GB and Rs 21,999 for the 8GB+128GB variant There’s also an instant cashback of Rs 1,500 on SBI Cards.