Words like “Never Settle” and “Flagship Killer” were synonymous with the OnePlus brand when the company first started. It wasn’t only trying to kill over competitors by offering really decent devices at cheaper price points but also including these “enthusiast” features that make earlier adopters of the OnePlus smartphones different from the rest of the smartphone consumers on the market however over the years, the company has slowly pulled away from the flagship killer rhetorics as it’s now making flagship-tier smartphones as well – maybe we give that crown to Poco.
While there has been some buzz around the fact that OnePlus has joined the league of profit-only companies and does not care about its earlier fan base, the company decided to introduce the mid-range product line which it calls the “Nord”. While this post isn’t an in-depth story of how OnePlus operates as a company and so forth, I’ll just focus on the newly announced OnePlus Nord 2 5G which is in my opinion one of the coolest yet affordable smartphones on the market right now.
Even though it might not be fair to just yank off the flagship killer crown from OnePlus and place it on Poco, the company continues to make some really incredible devices in the Nord series which also rivals the likes of the Galaxy A series or the Non-pro iPhone 12 models.
When the Chinese company announced the Nord with the US$240 price point, it was obvious the company was up to something and then released an even cheaper Nord N100 which was in fact cheaper than that.
Then welcome the new OnePlus Nord 2 5G which costs a fraction of the price you’ll pay for the more expensive OnePlus 9 series from the company. Its U$458 price tag definitely placed it in the realms of the newly announced Poco F3 GT or the Redmi Note 10 Pro or the Galaxy A72.
The design similarities among all OnePlus devices in 2021 is a good consideration which kind of brings the entire line up under one umbrella for ease of marketing I guess but anyone will be able to easily tell what kind of device you’re holding and that’s partly due to the resembling camera module on the Nord 2 5G which resemble that of the OnePlus 9 series even though the Hasselblad badge is missing on this one.
If you don’t like the restrained tones (there’s also a green and a gray option available depending on your region), OnePlus is also selling an aggressively wacky faux transparent case covered in white graffiti or a season-appropriate neon sunset case that’s already become my favorite.
In the camera department, you get a triple rear setup with the primary sensor being 50MP with optical image stabilization which help you shoot smooth images and videos without the need to use special equipment like smartphone gimbals.
While a two-megapixel difference might not seem like, well, anything worth noting, the new primary sensor has a bigger pixel size (1μm), up from the 0.8μm pixels on the original Nord, but still falling short of the 1.12μm pixels of the OP9 Pro.
You also get an 8MP 119.7-degree wide-angle sensor and a mono sensor which help with quick focusing. In terms of zoom, there is about 2x optical zoom and the big primary sensor can then get you up to 5x and in fact, you can take things a bit further via digital zoom and reach 10x just that digital zooms aren’t always the best practice.
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G is a great point-and-shoot pocket camera and though there are usually some occasional inconsistencies with the dynamic ranges unlike other expensive devices like the iPhone 12 Pro or even the OnePlus 9 Pro, this device still gets the job done when you understand its weakness and use it as its strength.
In terms of hardware specs, there are a few tweaks between the current Nord 2 5G and the original Nord even though there aren’t significant differences in terms of their performances.
And in recording videos, you can max that out to 4K at 30fps or 1080P at 60fps. You can also get smooth footage using its electronic image stabilization or EIS which prevents your footage from wobbling all over the place. Recording videos in low light isn’t essentially great, to say the least, but depending on your skills, you might be able to get something good out of it.
Then OnePlus was generous enough to slap a 32MP front-facing selfie camera on the Nord 2 5G which allows the device to capture some pretty cool images with less effort. There is also the proprietary group shots 2.0 which allows you to snap pictures of about 5 faces.
OnePlus also added a dual view video mode to shoot from both the rear and front-facing cameras at once, and there’s a NightScape Ultra mode for low-light shooting too, but nothing too thrilling.
Now the screen is a 6.47-inch AMOLED panel with 90Hz refresh rate and any company that sticks with an IPS panel for that price point should be ousted from the smartphone market – I’m talking to Huawei.
The processor of the Nord 2 5G is from MediaTek instead of Qualcomm and the Dimensity 1200-AI seems to be good enough for the job offering great image processing and faster CPU and GPU all for improvements over the previous model.
Although a proper review will give us a better understanding of how really fast this device can be and how well it can handle tough tasks such as graphic-intense games or large media formats such as HD videos or even internet browsing.
Although OnePlus wants to kill flagships, well the OnePlus Nord 2 5G won’t be able to do that however, it’s got its own fair share of strength in the game as well. Despite using the MediaTek chip, the breeze switching between apps and the fact that no app shut off by itself.
And bad news for US residents because the device will not be making its way over there. It got released in India just this past week and that might not be pleasing news to some considering its affordable price point and that might have been a big advantage but OnePlus wants to keep you all poor by forcing you to chunk out US$1000 in your “developed world” and leave the cheap for the “developing” countries.
OnePlus still definitely have some pretty cool devices under its belt and we’d be glad it doesn’t get digested by Oppo in the future as the company merged however things seems to be going on smoothly so far and there has been no foul play to take away our beloved OnePlus.
In fact, a OnePlus spokesperson told Engadget that the company was “keen to keep expanding in the US, and [the Oppo deal] gives us more resources to do it.”