OnePlus Nord 2: Five reasons this cheap phone is great

    Andrew Hoyle/CNET

    OnePlus calls its model new Nord 2 the “flagship killer” and I get why. This telephone has some spectacular specs and performs nicely all spherical, and it is paired with an inexpensive beginning value of solely £399 right here within the UK. It’s designed to supply every little thing you’d want from a telephone with out emptying your checking account. A strong processor, a strong twin rear digicam setup, 5G connectivity, tremendous quick charging — and it is not unhealthy to have a look at both. 

    Like the earlier Nord — and the cheaper Nord CE, launched just some weeks again — the Nord 2 is not going to be on sale within the US. It’s destined for the UK and wider Europe, the place it will value £399 for the model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or £469 with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. For reference, £399 converts to about $540 or AU$740.

    But no, it does not actually “kill” any flagships. It’s not as highly effective as a “true” flagship just like the iPhone 12 Pro Max or S21 Ultra, nor will its digicam abilities entice the world’s most demanding photographers. The flagship that I really feel is most in danger is OnePlus’s personal 9 collection, which shares many options with the Nord 2, but has a a lot larger beginning value of £629 ($729). 

    I’ve spent a brief period of time with the Nord 2 forward of its unveiling and listed below are the 5 issues I like most about this new handset.

    A strong MediaTek processor 

    OnePlus has usually used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors for its telephones but it surely went with MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200-AI chip for the Nord 2. You’ll discover completely no distinction in use — it is nonetheless the identical as every other Android telephone — however you’ll discover that it is surprisingly highly effective for the value. 

    While it is not up there with the iPhone 12 Pro Max by way of benchmarks, it did beat the Pixel 5 and wasn’t far beneath the dearer OnePlus 9. It’s definitely highly effective sufficient for gaming, picture enhancing and video streaming and navigating across the Android 11 interface is {smooth} and stutter free.

    Which brings me neatly on to 5 causes the Nord 2 is nice.

    Andrew Hoyle/CNET

    Android 11 software program

    The Nord 2 runs Android 11 at its core, over which OnePlus has slapped its normal Oxygen software program. I actually like OnePlus’s software program because it’s neat, straightforward to make use of and does not attempt to load the telephone up with too many bundled companies and bloatware. As a outcome, the telephone stays nippy and trouble-free for longer.

    It’s significantly essential on decrease and midrange telephones that may not cope as nicely with being slowed down with companies. The outcome here’s a smooth-performing telephone that I count on to stay as such for a while to come back. 

    OnePlus says it is assured to get at the very least two years of Android upgrades — so an replace to Android 12 this fall and Android 13 subsequent 12 months is a given — with a further 12 months of safety updates after that. 

    Andrew Hoyle/CNET

    Incredible quick charging

    The Nord 2 has the identical 65-watt quick charging seen on the OnePlus 9 collection and it is wonderful. It’ll take the telephone from empty to full in solely about 30 minutes, which makes it wonderful for giving it a fast increase earlier than you head out from house. The 4,500-mAh battery ought to nonetheless offer you a day of use from a cost, however when you may recharge so shortly, battery life turns into considerably much less of a difficulty.

    Even higher is {that a} 65-watt quick charger comes within the field, so you do not even have to scour Amazon to attempt to discover one which’ll put out sufficient energy. What the telephone does not have is wi-fi charging, however personally I do not see that as a selected downside. 

    Andrew Hoyle/CNET

    Vibrant, sharp show

    The Nord 2’s show measures 6.43 inches and boasts a decision of two,400×1,080 pixels, which is adequate to make even tiny textual content look good and sharp. It’s an AMOLED panel, making it extraordinarily vibrant too, which is nice for movies, photographs or taking part in no matter colourful recreation is at present doing the rounds on the Google Play Store.

    It has a 90Hz refresh price which is a contact decrease than the 120Hz of the OnePlus 9 collection, however I doubt you’d have the ability to inform any actual distinction in day-to-day use. It’s silky {smooth} when scrolling across the interface, however you may also flip it right down to a extra common 60Hz, which is able to apparently assist save battery life. 

    Andrew Hoyle/CNET

    Decent rear cameras

    We have not executed our full suite of digicam exams but, however what we have seen from the cameras to date seems to be good. The fundamental sensor is a 50-megapixel affair — the identical one seen within the OnePlus 9’s ultrawide digicam. Outdoor photos look well-exposed, with loads of element and natural-looking colours. 

    OnePlus Nord 2 out of doors digicam check, customary lens.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    OnePlus Nord 2 out of doors digicam check, customary lens.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    OnePlus Nord 2 out of doors digicam check, super-wide lens.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET
    OnePlus Nord 2 out of doors digicam check, customary lens with 2x digital zoom.
    Andrew Hoyle/CNET

    The 8-megapixel super-wide lens is noticeably much less detailed, but it surely too appears able to capturing handsome out of doors photos. There’s an on-screen possibility for 2x zoom, however there is not really a zoom lens, in order that 2x is predicated on digitally cropping in to the shot. Results nonetheless look good, but it surely’s value maintaining in thoughts that you simply will not get the utmost high quality doing this. 

    There’s additionally technically a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor, which, for my part as a photographer, is completely pointless. If you need handsome black and white photos, use the common digicam and apps like Adobe Lightroom or Snapseed to have full management over changing to mono. Frankly I really feel OnePlus might have pulled this out and lopped one other 20 quid or so off the value. 

    OnePlus Nord 2 specs

    Display measurement, decision, refresh price

    6.43-inch AMOLED, FHD+ (2,400×1,080 pixels), 90Hz

    Pixel density


    Dimensions (Inches)

    6.25×2.88×0.32 in

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    158.9×73.2×8.25 mm

    Weight ( Grams)

    6.66 oz; 189g


    Android 11


    50-megapixel (fundamental),  8-megapixel (wide-angle),  2-megapixel (mono)

    Front digicam





    MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI processor




    8/12GB RAM

    Fingerprint reader



    4,500 mAh





    Headphone Jack


    Special options

    5G-enabled, 65W quick charging, 90Hz, twin stereo speaker, face unlock

    Price (USD)

    Approximately $540 (transformed from UK value)

    Price (GBP)


    Price (AUD)

    Approximately AU$740

    Discover the newest information and finest opinions in smartphones and carriers from CNET’s cell consultants.

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