Cheatsheet:

  • The OnePlus Nord CE 2 takes over from the Nord CE as the brand’s most affordable smartphone
  • Design language will remind you of the Oppo Reno 7, especially the rear camera module. We dig the cool Bahamas Blue colour option
  • Propelled by a Mediatek Dimensity 900 processor
  • Rear triple cam combines a 64MP primary cam, an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro lens
  • The 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED display features a 90Hz refresh rate
  • There’s no Android 12 out of the box

We’ve seen a couple of key changes in OnePlus’ strategy over the last few years. It’s no longer a company that releases just one or two devices per year company, and the Oppo connection is now becoming more visible. OnePlus’ play in multiple market segments is also driven by market dynamics. The brand is now spread across a wider set of price bands, and the Nord CE 2 that takes up the baton from the Nord CE is the brand’s new entry-level smartphone.

Look and feel

The similarities between the Oppo Reno 7 should not come as a surprise. From the OS to the branding of the charging solution, OnePlus is moving closer to Oppo. The rear cam module looks almost identical to the Reno 7. The similarities don’t end there. We like how this device feels in your hand. It’s under 8mm thin and weighs just 173gm; the perfect heft for a smartphone with a large display. The back is a tad shiny and glossy – yes, this one likes fingerprints, but it doesn’t look tacky. We like the cool Bahamas Blue that we checked out. There’s also a subtle Gray Mirror colour option for those who prefer something more sober. The phone is not IP-certified for dust or water resistance.

NORD CE 2

Hardware that gets the job done

Videos play out really well (the display is HDR10+ certified) on the 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED display (2400×1080 pixels/409 PPI). Colours are punchy just like on its predecessor and the Oppo Reno 7. The CE 2 also shares the same processor as the Reno 7 – the Mediatek Dimensity 900. Our Geekbench benchmark test results were almost identical to the Oppo, with the CE 2 clocking 2154 (multi-core). Our review unit came with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, in addition to support for MicroSD cards. There’s also a 6GB/128GB variant. Performance is quite solid with enough firepower for most everyday users.

The OnePlus Nord CE 2’s battery life is a key win too. The 4500mAh battery lasted more than a day in our standard tests. The 65W Super VOOC charger in the box can power up the device in just over 30 minutes. The triple rear cam does well in optimal lighting but struggled a bit in lowlight in our tests. It’s still one of the best cams at this price point.

Bottomline

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 boasts a refined design aesthetic, a dependable camera, and hardware that will please most average users. Battery life is quite solid too. We, however, wished it featured Android 12 out of the box. The CE 2 lives up to its name (CE stands for Core Edition). It’s a device that offers solid bang for your buck with an uncluttered user interface and is a welcome addition to the OnePlus portfolio.

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 comes in Bahamas Blue and Grey Mirror. It costs Rs 23,999 (6GB/128) or Rs 24,999 (8GB/128GB)