OnePlus Nord 2 5G Affordable Alternative To Oneplus 9

A few weeks after formalizing its OnePlus Nord CE 5G, the manufacturer presents a new version of its mid-range smartphone, the OnePlus Nord 2 . It is a smartphone that offers more performance, but while containing its price, thanks to a MediaTek processor instead of a Qualcomm. But what is this OnePlus Nord 2 really worth?

PROSCONS
Attractive, premium designSlippery back panel
Solid battery lifeNo water resistance
Good quality stereo speakersNo 120Hz display
Good stills photography

Key Specification

OnePlus Nord 2 5G
ChipsetQualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865+ (7 nm+)
Display7.6 inches
Memory12 GB
Storage256/512 GB
Camera12 + 12 + 12MP
Fingerprint Sensor Side

Design

DimensionsUnfolded: 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9 mm
Folded : 159.2 x 68 x 16.8 mm
Weight282 grams
Display TypeDynamic AMOLED 2X
Screen Size7.6 inch
Pixel Density373 PPI
Screen Resolution1768 x 2208 pixels
ColorsMystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Thom Browne Edition

OnePlus is a brand that does not change the design of its smartphones too much. For a good reason, when something works, why change it? The OnePlus Nord 2, therefore, adopts a reasonably classic aesthetic for a OnePlus smartphone, but which works very well and offers a pleasant grip. As usual, the manufacturer relies on a sufficiently thin device while providing a build quality that meets our expectations.

With a flat glass screen, not curved, we find the smartphone in its box, first this time. OnePlus does not do us the blow to hide the smartphone under the cardboard suitable for the shell and the warranty documents. This reveals a desire to place the smartphone in a relatively high range, putting everything on the product from the first glance. It must be said that the device’s appearance is not premium, but it will look a bit like it.

Beautiful finishes, an elegant and tidy photo module, shiny edges, and a lacquered back, the OnePlus Nord 2 has many assets to please anyone who loves well-finished devices. Let’s take a tour of the owner.

With its pre-installed protective film, the screen protects it from possible scratches or minor inconveniences on the front side. It is not tempered glass; however, a simple film does not protect against shocks. In this case, a silicone case is provided—a habit among Chinese manufacturers.

However, we can be a little disappointed by the screen, which, at the bottom, presents us with a relatively thick chin for a smartphone of this range. It’s a shame and OnePlus could have reduced the size of this low screen to give us the benefit of a larger panel. On the upper part, we find the loudspeaker for calls, but also the front camera. The latter is located on the left of the screen. The OnePlus Nord 2 has a decent-sized front camera. However, for aesthetic purists, the screen protector leaves a huge hole in this camera, which will displease the more obsessed.

On the left edge of the device, we find the volume button. It’s good to have put it here for two reasons. The first is for ergonomics; the second is simply that there would be no room to put it right. However, we would have preferred to have it in the form of two separate buttons. Despite everything, its position is quite ergonomic.

On the right side is the device locking/unlocking button. It is its place that the vast majority of smartphones and it is very well positioned. However, the latter does not include a fingerprint sensor. OnePlus took the opportunity to use an AMOLED screen to place the sensor under the screen. Just above is the notifications slider, always in three positions! OnePlus had exempted itself from it on the Nord CE 5G; fortunately, the OnePlus Nord 2 has this convenient slider. 

Even more practical than that of the iPhone, it is quite resistant to each press not to switch the smartphone into ring mode unexpectedly while it was silent. OnePlus loves to put this slider on many smartphones, and that’s good; we love to find it on OnePlus smartphones.

On the lower edge of the device are the SIM drawer, the main microphone, the speaker for listening to music/videos, and the USB-C port for smartphone charging and data transfer via OTG. On the upper edge is placed the secondary microphone, allowing you to pick up ambient noises to cancel them when you call.

Finally, let’s come to the back of the device. OnePlus has chosen the version that was sent to us with a lacquered surface. It’s very nice, and although it will be quite sensitive to fingerprints, it’s not a real problem. On this light turquoise blue, the traces will hardly be seen. You can always put the provided shell or find a shell on the brand’s website in the worst case. The manufacturer also sent us some models of hulls specially designed for the Nord 2.

What we also like is the photo module. The latter is well organized and tidy. We find the two main photosensors bulky, allowing us to take the photos that we will see in a few lines and a third sensor, as well as the flash composed of four LEDs. However, we can regret that the photo module protrudes a little from the surface of the Nord 2, almost 2 mm more compared to the surface of the back of the device. It’s a shame, but it does not matter. Once again, it can be filled via the provided shell or another model.

On the back, we find the logo of the brand, shiny, and some obligatory mentions at the bottom, still a little too visible for my taste.

Display

If the OnePlus Nord 2 wants to play it high-end in terms of performance, it remains fairly classic when it comes to the screen. Far from disappointing, we find here an AMOLED panel of 2400 x 1080 pixels, 6.44 inches. OnePlus has chosen to put slightly smaller screens in its smartphones than other manufacturers. However, that’s not a problem, and it is not 0.3 inches that will make the difference in daily use.

The OnePlus Nord 2 uses an AMOLED panel, which allows it to offer a perfect night mode and a fingerprint sensor under the screen. With this resolution, the pixel density is 409 DPI, which is quite correct and well beyond 326, limiting the perception of the human eye. In addition, the screen here adopts a frequency of 90 Hz, allowing perfect fluidity. Certainly, other smartphones offer 120 Hz, but it is not always useful to push the vice further on a mid-range smartphone screen; OnePlus has chosen balanced compromises; we will not blame it.

The colors are beautiful, the screen fills the DCI-P3 color space, and we can see that we only find two modes of colorimetry settings in the camera settings. Indeed, the Nord 2 offers to switch the device to sRGB or to keep it in DCI-P3.

It is also possible to adjust the color temperature, which is certainly practical but not essential. The colors of the screen are well-calibrated; it is not really useful to touch anything. Although some might not like the cool enough toned colors here, it is possible to lower the color temperature.

The screen offers a frequency of 90 Hz. However, it is possible to lower this frequency to 60 Hz for users who wish to save a little battery. As we know, the screen is one of the biggest consumptions in a smartphone, and increasing its frequency does not only do the battery well. 

The OnePlus Nord 2 also has a Dark Mode to preserve your eyes at night without sending too much aggressive light. But the screen has more than one trick up its sleeve and also offers a notification display system called “Horizon Light.” No, this is not a new science fiction film in space; it is a system for displaying notifications from various applications via light halos around the device’s edges. The color is customizable, although the choice is limited. You can use the following colors:

All these small features on a fairly standard screen in terms of definition and frequency now are satisfactory. OnePlus doesn’t overdo it but serves us as it should.

Performance

ProcessorOcta-core (1×3.09 GHz)
GPUAdreno 650
RAM12GB
Internal storage256/512 GB
Storage expansionNon-Expandable
OSAndroid 10, One UI 2.5

Relatively well mounted, especially in the version we received, the OnePlus Nord 2 has a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor. No Qualcomm processor on this model; it is indeed an MTK. A fairly rare choice for OnePlus, which has stuck with Qualcomm for many years. However, we have to find better performance/price ratios to offer a “flagship killer”! However, he will not be able to defeat the colossus Realme GT, a furious little monster in terms of performance/price ratio, but wishes to go and titillate him.

With this, 12 GB of RAM in LPDDR4X in our version, coupled with 256 GB of storage. However, another 8GB RAM / 128GB storage version is also available at a lower price. For our high-end version, as the more accessible version, the graphics processor remains a Mali G77-MC9.

OnePlus found itself in a bit of turmoil when GeekBench announced that the brand’s smartphones would be removed from its app if they continued to cheat on performance scores. In short, the score is real, and the performance is good, but as mentioned above, OnePlus restricted its smartphones to applications other than those of the benchmark, which does not seem to be the case here. 

It’s a good score overall, a very satisfactory score even for a smartphone of this range. The MediaTek processor is a high-end model, which does not cost as much as Qualcomm models. This allows the device to be well equipped for a quite correct price. So well in multi-core that even in single-core, the smartphone is performing as it should.

We notice that the OnePlus hit hard is in the RAM, these 12 GB of LPDDR4X are very powerful with more than 3900 MB / s read, and 3444 MB / s write exactly. We could say that this harms low latencies, but absolutely not! The OnePlus Nord 2 displays just over 32ns of latency, an excellent result once again.

Storage meanwhile remains in UFS 3.1, with good overall performance here. With 600 MB / s read and 338 MB / s write, the smartphone shows outstanding performance and clearly shows it. Again, no complaints, for the price, we are satisfied.

Finally, the graphics performance is also pleasant here, with still more than 54 fps in OpenGL, which is very good for an aging game engine, requiring high performance to be efficient. This allows you to enjoy the 90 Hz screen of the device pleasantly on games.

Camera

Rear12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide)
12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto)
12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚, 12mm (ultrawide)
Front10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide)
Video recording4K@60fps, 1080p@60/240fps (gyro-EIS), 720p@960fps

Multimedia

Headphone jack 3.5 mmNo
LoudspeakerYes, with stereo speakers

Oxygen OS

Despite a very strong tie-up with Oppo announced by the manufacturer, OnePlus retains Oxygen OS, which is good. The ColorOS system from Oppo is certainly pleasant, but the purity and simplicity of Oxygen make it one of the significant assets of OnePlus smartphones. We find there a very pure interface, simple but far from being simplistic.

The applications are generally stored in folders; this is the case for those of Google and OnePlus. However, they can be taken out of there, like the Settings app, which is difficult to find when you are unfamiliar with the house.

By default, OnePlus offers us to use Android gestures instead of the three navigation buttons.

The operating system is pleasant, fluid, although, in some respects, it does not work as well as at Xiaomi, which also offers an excellent software interface.

However, OnePlus lacked some effort, especially for the telephone application and the SMS application. These apps are from Google. Admittedly, they are convenient; they must be admitted, especially for the SMS application. But, it would have been nice to find a homemade application, if only on principle.

We also find all the customizations in a single menu, as in all smartphones of the BBK group, Oppo and realme do the same. It is possible to change the colors, icons, aspects of the notification drawer, and the font and the wallpapers. Even the fingerprint sensor benefits from some customization.

Battery Life

Capacity4500 mAh
TypeLithium
User-ReplaceableNo
ChargingFast charging 25W
Wireless Charging Wireless charging 11W

With its 4,500 mAh battery, it should hold up as it should. OnePlus has recently been pinned down by some benchmark applications to give all the smartphone’s performance in a benchmark, but not in daily use. We overlooked such practices on the Nord 2, despite intensive use. However, it was for a specific purpose, to clamp the smartphone to allow the battery to last longer.

It is clear that in intensive use, the Nord 2 will not last more than a day. However, if you have a little more moderate use of it, it can last up to a day and a half, or even two days for those who really don’t use it much. Some features can be deactivated to save a few percent.

On the charging side, it’s a great satisfaction to see that more and more brands are making ultra-fast 65 Watts charging available on their smartphones. The OnePlus Nord 2 has a 65 Watts charger, with its red cable, a custom with the manufacturer. However, it doesn’t have wireless charging, which is a bit of a shame. While other smartphones of the brand benefit from it, this is not the case on the Nord range.

Connectivity

SIMSingle Sim
Bluetooth5.0, A2DP, LE
Wifi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band
NFCYes
USBUSB Type-C 3.1
SensorsAccelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer

The smartphone is compatible with the two nano-SIM ports it embeds. Bluetooth 5.1, is a good thing, but a negative point: the smartphone does not have Wi-Fi 6. It is a pity that we stopped at Wi-Fi ac when the smartphone satisfied us on almost all points. 

The Nord 2 is also NFC compatible for a quick connection to certain compatible devices and contactless payment via Google Pay.

In terms of connectivity, we take advantage of a USB-C port, and that’s it. The latter still does the OTG, essential on a large number of smartphones. It allows you to connect a USB key for data storage.

Conclusion!

Loaded by the brand as a flagship killer, it does not really include all the flagship codes of the year. As usual, OnePlus relied on its achievements for many points and put the package on performance. However, if the achievements are reliable and already very good, that does not pose a problem, on the contrary. The OnePlus Nord 2 is performing and fierce, enough to shake the competition!

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