OnePlus changed the game when it came to affordable smartphones back in 2014. For just $299, you could get your hands on a bloat-free Android device, with the latest Snapdragon processor that made other devices look overpriced and under-designed.
Fast-forward six years and the new flagship range, the OnePlus 8 series, was the company’s most expensive yet, with prices ranging from £599 to £899 for features such as wireless charging and 5G. People were worried the scrappy start-up brand from two former Oppo employees had lost its touch.
Those worries have been abated with the official reveal of OnePlus Nord. The new device is a return to the company’s more affordable roots and will certainly appease fans and newcomers to the brand.
Here’s what you need to know about the new OnePlus Nord phone.
OnePlus Nord: Quadruple camera tech
A cheaper price tag doesn’t mean OnePlus is scrimping on the tech. When it comes to the camera, the device will have a 48MP main camera on the back, plus an 8MP ultra wide-angle lens, a macro camera and a 5MP depth sensor for things like portrait shots and Nightscape — OnePlus’s low-light photography mode.
On the front of the phone there’s going to a 32MP main lens, along with an ultra-wide camera with a 105-degree field of view. Wide angle selfies will be back, handy given all the socially-distant socialising we’re doing at the moment. This is the first time OnePlus has launched a camera with a dual-front camera set up and we’ve been waiting for a good wide-angle selfie lens since Google ditched it for the Pixel 4 series so this should be fun to try out.
OnePlus Nord: Smooth design
The OnePlus Nord looks rather like the OnePlus 8 range in terms of design. There are the same two colours, aqua Blue Marble and the Grey Onyx, and there’s the punch-hole selfie camera on the front left-hand-side of the device.
On the back, things look a little different. The camera set-up has shifted from the centre to the right-hand side so things look neater in this regard.
Size-wise, the phone has as 6.44-inch screen which isn’t curved, also a good sign.
Some compromises have had to take place for the new Nord series and one of them is the screen. However, it’s not a major issue. The screen has a 90Hz refresh rate, which means it serves up images 90 times per second, offering less motion blur and better image quality. Whilst the OnePlus 8 Series has a 120Hz refresh rate, 90Hz is found on the likes of the OnePlus 7T and the Pixel 4 range, and is more than enough.
OnePlus Nord: Inside specs
Inside, the Nord will feature the Snapdragon 765G processor which is a decent mid-range chip that also includes 5G capabilities so this will be one of the more affordable 5G phones.
In terms of RAM and storage, there will be an 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage version, as well as a more expensive 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
If you’re looking for a phone with solid battery life, this is it. The OnePlus Nord features a 4,115 mAh battery and the company’s Warp Charge 30T tech which promises to take the phone from zero to 70 per cent charge in only half an hour. OnePlus has included the cool battery tech you can find on the 8 Series which learns how you charge your phone overnight so it reduces the amount of time it spends charging at 100 per cent to enhance the health of the battery.
As well, the phone will run Android 10 with OxygenOS 10.5, the company’s latest Android skin on top. The device will receive two years of software updates and three years of security updates too.
OnePlus Nord: Low cost
To buy the OnePlus Nord in the UK all you need to do is fork out £379 which is impressive for a phone with a 90Hz refresh rate, six cameras, and 5G, though you can splash out on the 12GB version for £469.
Will it be enough to help OnePlus regain a footing in the mid-range market? Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight says that while OnePlus should be applauded for creating such a buzz around a mid-range phone, it is entering a depressed market because of coronavirus.
“CCS Insight currently estimates mobile phone sales will be down approximately 13 per cent year on year. Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the market so there is going to be a battle royale between the smaller players to grab a share of what’s left.
“Although the OnePlus Nord ticks all the boxes on specs, the company still faces the challenge of differentiating itself in a market where all devices look the same. Getting ranged across a wide range of channels is going to be a key factor in beating its rivals,” said Wood.
If you want to buy the new OnePlus Nord there is a pop-up open now at oneplus.com/uk/nord/popups. If you miss out today, however, the phone will be on sale at John Lewis from July 31 exclusively for 24 hours. And if you miss that, then the phone will be available to buy properly from OnePlus and John Lewis from August 4.