OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review: Design
There is no doubt that the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is one good-looking mid-tier 5G smartphone. However, the brand has definitely cut some corners, as the back panel and the frame are made using plastic. Although it has a plastic back, it looks and feels like a glass back panel with a glossy finish. However, things like keys and coins can easily and permanently scratch the back panel.
It also misses out on the OnePlus’s iconic alert slider. To make it, the phone does come with a dedicated microSD card with dual nano-SIM card slots. On top of that, there is also a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is again something that we don’t usually see on OnePlus smartphones. The brand has made certain choices, which makes the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G more of a balanced mid-ranger rather than a typical OnePlus smartphone.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is available in two color options — Bahama Blue and Gray Mirror. Although I am testing the Gray Mirror variant, I personally like the Bahama Blue color, which is similar to some of the previous OnePlus Nord smartphones. On top of that, the smartphone weighs 176 grams, making it a light device to carry around.
During my testing, I was able to show the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G to my friends, who are iPhone users. Everyone who experienced the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G said that the phone is light and looks more premium than their iPhone. Hence, OnePlus has definitely struck the right balance in terms of design and looks.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review: Display
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G has an average-sized 6.43-inch display with FHD+ resolution. This is an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, and there is also an in-display fingerprint sensor, which is an optical fingerprint sensor and is fast enough to unlock the smartphone in a jiffy.
Although this is not the sharpest or the highest resolution display on a smartphone, the display is pretty good and offers HDR10+ resolution. However, there is no Dolby Vision certification, hence you won’t get the best experience on platforms like Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, and Prime Video.
The only caveat here is the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G’s display that has a slightly large chin. In fact, the bottom chin on the Nord CE 2 is bigger than the one on its predecessor — the original Nord CE. Overall, the AMOLED display offers great performance while watching content, as an AMOLED display offers a great contrast ratio and the colors look bright and saturated.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review: Cameras
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G has a triple camera system if you include the 2MP macro lens. There is a primary 64MP sensor and an 8MP ultra-wide angle lens. At the front, there is a 16MP selfie camera, which supports 1080p video recording. While the primary camera takes some good pictures in the daylight situation, there is also a night mode, which assists low-light photography.
While the photos taken in the normal mode come out pretty detailed, the pictures captured in the night mode look slightly grainy. Coming to the Ultra-wide angle lens, it captures wider images; however, when compared to the primary camera, the photos look less sharp. If you are plan on taking photos on the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G, then we recommend you use the primary camera instead of the ultra-wide angle camera.
Lastly, there is the 2MP macro lens, which again can take some good macros in well-lit conditions. Do note that, due to the lower resolution sensor, the macro shots lack clarity and mostly come out soft.
Although the phone supports 4K video recording, it lacks EIS while the 1080p videos look much more stable, especially when shot on the primary camera.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review: Performance
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is powered by the Mediatek Dimensity 900 SoC, which is a pretty capable octa-core processor with a peak CPU clock speed of 2.4GHz on four high-performance cores. The smartphone also offers up to 8GB LPDDR4x RAM and 128GB UFS 2.2 storage, which is again a class-leading storage solution.
On Geekbench 5, the device scored 729 points on the single-core and 2131 points on the multi-core CPU benchmark test. Similarly, on AnTuTu, the device posted 428179 points with 117748 points on CPU test, 120102 points on GPU test, 87941 on the memory test, and 102388 points on UX test.
In our stress test, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G held up pretty well and maintained a peak performance of 81 percent even after 60 minutes of the stress test. Even when it comes to gaming, you can easily get 60fps at 1080p high graphics settings on COD: Mobile without any issue.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review: Software
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G ships with Android 11 OS with a custom OxygenOS 11 skin on top. The phone offers an almost stock-like OS, and the company has promised that the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G will receive Android 12 and Android 13 updates. Unlike a stock Android smartphone, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G has a lot of customization options.
Given the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G’s launch time in India, the phone should have come with Android 12 OS. When it comes to user experience, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G offers stable performance and there are no third-party apps. It is my favorite aspect of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review: Battery
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is fueled by a 4,500 mAh battery with support for 65W of fast charging. The smartphone just takes around 37 minutes to fully charge the device. In my usage, the smartphone can easily offer over six hours of screen-on-time and should easily last for an entire day for an average user.
I also noticed that the phone does not get hot even while fast charging, which speaks a lot about the cooling capabilities of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G. However, in terms of battery size, the company should have included at least a 5,000 mAh battery, which could have further improved the battery life of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G Review: Verdict
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G has a lot in common with the Oppo Reno 7 5G. However, when it comes to pricing, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is cheaper than the Oppo Reno 7. Hence, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is definitely the best pick amongst the two.
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G feels a lot different from a typical OnePlus smartphone, as this device has a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack. Again, the phone also misses out on the OnePlus’s signature already slider. OnePlus has come out of its comfort zone to create the Nord CE 2 5G, which makes has definitely helped to create a competitive device that has a bit more than the branding.
Is the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G the best smartphone at the asking price? Definitely not! Is this probably the most balanced smartphone at that price? Yes. Overall, if you are a regular user, who wants a phone that can handle normal day-to-day tasks and can also do a bit of gaming, then the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is a great pick.