OnePlus returns to its roots with a budget-friendly and specs-stacked smartphone. But has it truly recaptured the old magic?
What we love – Good design, fast charging, strong performance
The OnePlus Nord CE has an understated, tasteful design which contrasts favourably to some of its more bombastic rivals in the budget spectrum of the smartphone market. Aside from just looking good, it also keeps the headphone jack, a relatively punchy speaker and an in-screen fingerprint scanner that gives it a premium touch belying its plastic construction.
The AMOLED screen measures 6.43 inches and is straightforward to use with just one hand, while the wide colour gamut and 90Hz refresh make it pleasant to look at, though the brightness level isn’t exceptional in direct sunlight.
Regardless of their price, OnePlus phones typically punch above their weight in terms of performance, and the Nord CE is no different, being very zippy in day to day operations and delivering minimal lag. The fact that it packs in 5G connectivity is also a big recommending factor.
The fast-charging tech on this phone is also excellent, getting you from dead flat to 61% in 30 minutes, and delivering a full battery in 69 minutes.
What we didn’t like – Battery life and cameras are nothing special, and there are better bargains around
The camera set-up includes a main 64-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens and a useless monochrome sensor. Overall photographic performance is fine but nothing special; it doesn’t blow away its competitors by any means.
While charging is fast, the battery itself (with its 4500mAh capacity) will last you a day of usage but little more than that, while other devices in this class can do far better.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G is a decent smartphone overall, that notches up recommendations for its snappy performance, speedy charging, and its classy design. However, it is by no means ahead of the rest of the pack at the same price point, as you can see from its mediocre showings with regard to its camera and battery life.