It’s not a OnePlus phone without a slow release of small details leading up to the official announcements. All this marketing, OnePlus Nord hype, leaks, specs tease, and collaboration with the influencers led to this OnePlus AR event (which is also the first of its kind). They haven’t marketed anything like this till now – confusing the netizens with the name memes, exclusive covers, a documentary series for this phone series (Yes! it’s a series. Carl Pei has stated on record that they plan to launch more products under ‘Nord’ in future), official social pages for the product). OnePlus has stated it now on multiple occasions that Nord is the most important phone of this year for them. We have discussed the importance of OnePlus Nord, OnePlus TV, and a possible OnePlus Ecosystem in my previous article. OnePlus Nord will be available in Europe and India first, while some users in North America will get a chance to experience the new device through a highly limited beta program. The company has suggested that Nord could get a wider launch in the US eventually if it proves successful. We will cover the OnePlus AR event comprehensively here.
Since the starting, OnePlus have been pushing the mid-level phone segment to the extreme (Almost flagship-level capabilities with some trade-offs). Since last year, they are increasing the prices of their phones along with the capabilities; ‘OnePlus Pro’ series is priced similarly to other flagships in the market. What started as a ‘flagship-killer‘ ended up becoming one. This transition did upset some of their loyal fans who still demand what OnePlus initially offered: an under-priced flagship killer. That’s where Nord comes to the rescue; an affordable phone which may offer a premium experience at a budget price.
They have stressed on the camera a lot during the promotions with promotional images promising a lot. It will feature a quad-camera setup on the back – for the primary sensor, Nord comes with the 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor with f/1.75 and OIS (the same sensor which OnePlus has used previously in their devices); the primary sensor is accompanied by an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, a 5MP depth sensor, and a 2 MP sensor with a f/2.4 macro lens. At the front, it looks similar to Samsung Galaxy S10+ with a similar dual hole-punch cutout. Nord has a 32 MP selfie camera and an additional ultra-wide-angle camera with a 105° FOV – it will recognize the presence of multiple people in the shot and switch to the wide-angle selfie camera when needed. It will also make use of long exposures in low light to brighten up selfies and reduce noise.
Power and Interface
OnePlus Nord will run Android 10 with the firm’s OxygenOS 10 interface over the top, which brings with it features and customization options on top of Google’s core operating system. Nord will come with more stock android apps than any other OnePlus device (duo, phone, and messages). It will be powered by a 765G 5G processor (it would have been better if they gave 855/855+ with 5G support) with up to 12 GB of ram and up to 256GB of onboard storage. It’ll sport a 6.44-inch full HD+ (1080 X 2400) AMOLED display with a 90Hz high refresh rate. It’ll have a 4115 Mah battery along with the support of Warp charging 30T (0 to 70 % in 30 mins). Nord will not have an official IP rating (though OnePlus has said it can withstand up to 30 cm of water for some time). It will have an in-screen fingerprint scanner along with the face recognition unlock. It will not have a stereo speaker which is pretty standard these days but an outdated mono speaker. The RAM is LPDDR4X, whereas the onboard storage is UFS 2.1. As for connectivity, it will include Wi-Fi 2X2 MIMO, Bluetooth v5.1, NFC.
Cost and Our thoughts
OnePlus Nord will start at Rs 24,999 in India and 399 euros in Europe for the base 6GB + 64GB model. The 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB models will retail at Rs 27,999 and Rs 29,999, respectively. With this crazy pricing, Nord seems to be a bang-for-buck. It tends to perform well in every field. Unlike other good mid-ranged phones, this phone doesn’t give a partial flagship experience (camera in pixel 3a, A13 in iPhone SE) but an overall decent experience. Nord is a great mid-budget phone with not-so flagship features – It has a great screen, processor, camera, and all but it can’t be compared to a flagship on any of the aspects. It’s a good allrounder since you aren’t paying for a flagship anyways. In India, it’s a lot cheaper than iPhone SE or Pixel 3a or mostly upcoming Pixel 4a too so nothing like Nord at the price. In Europe, it is comparable to other good mid-range phones, so you can decide it as per your priorities – grab the Pixel for the better camera, go for the SE if you need that extra power. OnePlus Nord is a good phone to settle on if you don’t have any specific need. We’ll advise you to purchase at least (8GB + 128GB) version for the future-proofing. It’ll be available in two colours: Gray Onyx and Blue Marble.
Until a few days ago, this was just another thing that fans demanded from OnePlus. After some wireless headphones tease, they finally revealed that they are going to launch OnePlus buds alongside Nord. They resemble AirPods a lot in terms of design. Like Apple Airpods, with no silicon tips, these are a high-risk product; either “wow they fit so well” or “ouch”; Airpods have been on the “ouch” side for me. OnePlus also revealed that they will have environmental noise cancellation – which is not a fancy word for active noise cancellation but some experiment OnePlus did with the software so as to reduce the outside noise (It will not be even near to Active noise cancellation). Earbuds are teased to come with seven hours of battery life on a single charge. The runtime increases to 30 hours when re-charged using the battery in the case. The case supports warp charging – like bullets wireless Z, they give audio playback of up to 10 hours with just 10 mins of charging the case.
Carl Pei used OnePlus buds while discussing OnePlus Nord with MKBHD. From that video, it appears that it has a great call quality which is a necessary feature for a truly wireless earphone. It’ll also be IPX4 water-resistant (splash proof and sweat proof). It uses 13.4mm driver for deep bass and better sound quality. Buds will be available in grey, white and Nord blue colour. They are light on ears too with the weight of 4.6 grams each and 36 grams of the case. OnePlus Buds will cost Rs 4,999 in India and euros 79 in India.