OnePlus Nord review - the hottest smartphone of summer 2020!
OnePlus Nord review - can the smartphone be a hit?
OnePlus started its journey around the world with an inexpensive and powerful OnePlus One smartphone. The flagship from no one, in fact, an unknown brand was taken first of all by the price - for the money that was asked for it, it was impossible to buy such a cool and powerful device. Of course, the brand quickly gained its own army of fans, and its popularity only grew.
Now OnePlus is just one of the brands of the BBK concern, but it is under this name that the “most flagship flagships” are produced, which in one way or another plug the devices of other companies owned by BBK, such as OPPO and Realme, into the belt.
OnePlus smartphones have earned popular love not only for high quality materials, powerful hardware and regular updates, but also for the excellent Oxygen OC firmware, “not overloaded” with unnecessary applications and features. In fact, this is a “pure” Android with a minimum number of branded applications. The logic of this approach is simple: the user will download everything he needs, and if he does not need some kind of FaceBook, WhatsApp or another “three in a row” toy, why impose left rubbish and clog the system?
The main disadvantage of OnePlus smartphones, which did not allow them to win even more hearts and minds, was (which is banal) the cost. Yes, flagships are always expensive, there are no powerful processors, “computer” amount of RAM and cool cameras for 100 bucks, but still, not everyone needs excess power, and money is not tight for everyone. So middle-class people who want to get acquainted with (or stay on) Oxygen OC often buy used VanPlaces of past generations or arrange loans and installments for coveted devices. But not everyone needs the power of the 800s "dragons" in real life, so we often overpay for the "pluses in the portfolio" of the manufacturer and the steepness of the processors, all of which we will never use.
Whether for this reason, or because of the current economic crisis, which has affected almost everyone who in one way or another is the target audience of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, OnePlus has finally released a mid-budget smartphone based on the sub-flagship Snapdragon 765G processor and is significantly cheaper than the current flagship OnePlus 8 .
Cheaper than the flagship - but at the same time more expensive than competitors running on the same processor. So what is the overpayment for and is the new OnePlus Nord worth the 400 euros that they ask for it at the start of sales?
OnePlus Nord received an unremarkable design, reminiscent of almost any mid-ranger: a vertical row of cameras, a glossy glass back, an elongated screen, a front-facing screen ...
It is noteworthy that the flagship OnePlus 8 Pro flaunts a matte back panel - some consider this solution to be optimal, because matte glass does not collect fingerprints as actively as glossy glass, and not everyone wants to hide beauty in a case. However, what kind of beauty can we talk about if, immediately after picking up the device, it becomes covered with absolutely unaesthetic spots? And covers not only nullify the very idea of a beautiful back cover - they also increase the dimensions of the smartphone to one degree or another.
Nord, on the other hand, didn't get a beautiful matte finish - both the blue and black versions sparkle with a bored gloss. The complete cover, of course, will protect in the event of a fall and will not allow prints to “stick”, but all the same, with the cover, the “feelings are not the same”. But thanks for it anyway. As well as for a film pasted from the factory - fingers glide over it normally, the color rendition is not distorted, there is protection against scratches.
The frame is, of course, plastic. The glass back panel is a matter of aesthetics and prestige, it is becoming the norm even for budget devices, but the metal frame must be earned. In a sense, to be a flagship and cost at least 600-700 dollars so that the “rank” is higher and the price pays off production costs. I won’t say that the plastic frame is such a significant minus, and it affects the weight of the smartphone, but again, “the sensations are not the same.” If you switch to this device from glass and metal, it will become clear what it is about. On the other hand, the habit and the cover very quickly make you forget about the "shameful" plastic - it's not the most important thing here, after all.
The bundled charger, of course, supports Vanplas's proprietary Warp Charge technology - a 4115 mAh battery from a native 30-watt power supply is charged by 70 percent in just 30 minutes.
The paperclip allows you to get the SIM card tray and discover with disappointment that it is impossible to install a memory card in principle: OnePlus Nord received only two SIM card slots.
Of course, taking into account the fact that even the younger version of the device has 128 gigabytes of internal memory (and the older one has 256 gigabytes in general) and many users may never even fill this volume, it is still always more pleasant to have the opportunity to expand the memory and not use it than not having one at all. For example, I have a speaker with a slot for a memory card, so it’s easier for me to transfer music directly from my smartphone than to connect the phone to a laptop, insert a memory card into it through an adapter, dump everything on it and return everything back to normal. In addition, I don’t always have a laptop with me, and a paper clip (ordinary, clerical - in opening the SIM card tray copes no worse than any branded one) always hangs on the keys.
OnePlus Nord can (albeit with a stretch) be called an almost compact device. The diagonal of its screen is “only” 6.44 inches, and the bezels around the screen are quite thin, so in fact it is not much, but less than many competitors.
The cutout for two modules of the front camera slightly reduces its attractiveness - of course, you get used to the hole in the screen quickly, but in the same games, the strip with the camera is often simply “cut off”. So the working area of the screen becomes smaller. I can only guess why manufacturers disliked periscope cameras so much, but I just want to shout - hey! It was a great idea, give it a second chance! The OnePlus 7 Pro, for example, looked great…
An important feature of the OnePlus Nord screen is the 90 hertz screen. This is not yet the most important criterion when choosing a smartphone, but it's nice that increased hertz is slowly becoming the norm for the mainstream segment. At first glance - nothing special, the smoothness of the interface is not particularly striking, and if we talk about games, it's worth remembering that not all of them support a screen refresh rate above 60 frames per second. But it's worth getting used to ... After 90 hertz, "returning" to 60 is excruciatingly painful, so the more cool screens on the market, the better.
In general, if you get used to the hole for the camera, you can’t find fault with the screen - the brightness is good, the screen corners are excellent, PWM is not critical ... In any case, until it becomes necessary to lower the brightness to 30 percent.
And then a problem comes out that is massively discussed by users of technology forums: the screen joyfully turns pink or green. Is that what it is, a marriage of the assembly, the screens themselves, or crooked software? Both Samsung and OnePlus 8 had a similar problem, but they fixed it with updates. Well, let's wait. However, it is not clear why this jamb could not be taken into account in advance and corrected before the release?
The cameras on the OnePlus Nord may not be the best in their class, but they're pretty good nonetheless.
The main one received four modules: the main one at 48 megapixels, the ultra-wide at 8 megapixels, the depth sensor at 5 megapixels and the macro camera at 2 megapixels.
The Sony IMX586 main module is similar to that installed in OnePlus 8. However, the final shots are not “flagship”, although quite good. The ideological competitor of OnePlus Nord can be called Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite – and sometimes the quality of photos is slightly higher.
In daylight and shooting on the main module, both devices show themselves very worthy, Nord even slightly wins in contrast. The color rendition is in order, the detailing is on top - what else do you need?
In low-light conditions, the Nord misses out on color reproduction, but the photos are quite acceptable.
But the over-width is clearly better in Mi 10 Lite: Nord is sorely lacking in detail, and the color reproduction is somehow not the same. The viewing angle, of course, is wider than when shooting on the main module, but who needs it if the quality of the final image, as they say, is lame on all four legs? OnePlus, of course, pulls up the cameras with each update, but this is not Xiaomi, which always has a camera that shoots almost “half-heartedly” at the start.
A macro camera with a resolution of 2 megapixels is generally laughter and tears. In fact, macro shots on the main module are even better, in which the presence of optical and electronic stabilization plays an important role.
The main problem with the budget OnePlus is that it mercilessly blurs the left side of the frame. This may not be the biggest evil, but it affects the overall impression and clearly speaks of the quality of the optics themselves. In general, this is not a flagship, not a flagship.
The front camera is much more interesting. Firstly, it is good, at least not worse than the Mi 10 Lite. And secondly, the feature of the second front module can be useful for many, because its viewing angle is 119 degrees. It is not difficult to find an application for this module: a selfie at a party, shooting stories with sights (or vice versa) - in general, sometimes selfie cameras really do not have enough viewing angle, but here there will be no such problem.
Due to optical and electronic stabilization, video shooting is also quite pleasant. The detail is good, the color rendition is natural, so everything is fine here.
OnePlus Nord is produced in two versions: the younger one received 8 gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes of permanent memory, the older one - 12 operational and 256 built-in. The volumes are considerable, so almost any user will have to try hard to fill the smartphone to capacity. LPDDR4X RAM standard, built-in UFS 2.1. This may not be the flagship level, but for the average budget it is very, very worthy.
The Snapdragon 765G is the heart of the smartphone – supporters of the “dragon” can rejoice, the rumors about the Dimensity 1000 turned out to be false. A sub-flagship processor allows you to run any games at maximum graphics settings and not suffer from FPS drops, and if so, who needs expensive flagships of the 800 series? Unless to photographers, because they cope with photo processing better than their budget counterparts.
The lack of a slot for a memory card, on the one hand, is quite understandable (128 gigabytes in the younger version, where more?!), but on the other hand, it forces those who know why he needs “extra” gigabytes to pay another hundred euros to the older versions. The increase in RAM in this case is rather a pleasant bonus - for example, I still have not managed to score at least 5 out of 6 gigabytes of RAM on any of my last three smartphones. Why, I have 8 gigabytes of RAM on my laptop and I don’t even think about expanding it yet - I have enough for everything. So personally, I don’t see a real need for 12 gigabytes of RAM on a smartphone, but this is me - I don’t even need 6 cameras on my phone, so here, as they say, the taste and color.
Perhaps the main argument in favor of OnePlus Nord is the chic Oxygen OC shell. The novelty is not cheap, significantly more expensive than the practically similar Realme X50 (this device in the 8/128 modification costs about 275 euros, and Nord - 399 euros). Of course, at the start of sales, all smartphones are more expensive than a couple of months after the release, but now things are that way.
However, it is Oxygen OC that provides OnePlus with an army of fans. Nord "takes" not with hardware (not only it has a Snapdragon 765G installed and a good supply of RAM and internal memory), not with cameras, which in fact still work and work on, and not even with a screen that many users joyfully turn green, namely, smooth, light and a well-thought-out shell with virtually no unnecessary debris.
Practically. OnePlus still began to install third-party applications when selecting certain regions. For example, Facebook and Facebook Messenger (which, fortunately, are easily removed). Frankly, such innovations annoy me - I still prefer to install everything that I can use on my own, and I don’t need the manufacturer’s opinion on this matter.
Fortunately, everything is removable, so let's get back to the good stuff. For example, Oxygen OC has a cool feature, the so-called quick gestures. With them, it’s like with NFC: until you try it, you won’t understand why it is needed and how convenient it is. But then it is almost impossible to “get off” from either one or the other.
Another plus of OnePlus smartphones is long-term support and prompt updates to new versions of Android. Again, it’s more pleasant to receive updates (the installation of which can be prohibited if necessary) than to wait several years for the transition to a new Android with the risk of not waiting (which, by the way, was one of the reasons for the fall of Meizu).
OnePlus Nord got almost everything a modern smartphone needs: NFC, 5G, aptX and aptX HD, a fresh Wi-Fi standard, fast memory, 4K video recording, all the necessary bands and even a 90 hertz display. Yes, the absence of stereo speakers and a headphone jack is not encouraging (although many manufacturers have abandoned 3.5mm), the camera could be better, the jamb with the screen is generally somewhere beyond, but in general this is a very interesting device. True, not for the money that the officials want for him: version 8/128 now costs 399 euros, and 12/256 - 499 euros. And this is, in fact, the cost of Poco 2 Pro , Realme X 3 Super Zoom and Realme X50 Pro, which, although they came out earlier, offer more powerful hardware and are positioned as flagships. So taking it now is rather the prerogative of OnePlus and Oxygen OC fans who, for one reason or another, did not take the current flagship for themselves or deliberately waited for the “budget”. For the rest, I can advise you to wait a couple of months and wait for the price to drop or pay attention to other models that, perhaps, will offer more for the same money.
Network: GSM/GPRS/EDGE (900/1800/1900MHz), WCDMA/HSPA (900/2100MHz), FDD-LTE (1/2/3/4/5/7/8), TD-SCDMA, TDD -LTE (34/38/39/40/41), 5G
Operating system: Android 10, OxygenOS 10 shell
Display: 6.44", 20:9, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 90 Hz, 408 ppi, Fluid AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5, DCI-P3 100%
Processor: Snapdragon 765G 8 cores (Kryo 475 up to 2.4GHz) 7nm 64bit
Graphics Chip: Adreno 620
RAM: 6/8/12 GB, LPDDR4x
Permanent memory: 64/128/256 GB, no support for microSD cards
Main camera: four sensors, 48 MP (Sony IMX586, 0.8 µm, OIS, f/1.75) + 8 MP (wide-angle, 119-degree field of view, f/2.25) + 2 MP (macro, f/2.4) + 5 MP (depth sensor, f/2.4), dual LED flash, PDAF+CAF
Front camera: dual, 32 MP (Sony IMX616, f/2.45) + 8 MP (wide angle, viewing angle 105 degrees, f/2.45)
Navigation: GPS, GLONASS
Wireless interfaces: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), MIMO, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, dual SIM support. support for aptX and aptX HD, LDAC and AAC
Sensors and connectors: USB Type-C 2.0, fingerprint sensor (integrated into the display), Face Unlock
Battery: 4115 mAh, fast charging Warp Charge 30T at 30W (5V/6A)
Dimensions: 158.3x73.3x8.2 mm
Weight: 184 grams
Colors: black, blue