OnePlus Nord — the new, affordable OnePlus phone — is set to go up for pre-order this month. OnePlus already put a hundred units of the OnePlus Nord on pre-order in the UK and other European markets on Wednesday and has managed to sell them off immediately. The company has teamed up with Amazon for India pre-orders and already has a microsite up and running as well. But what can we expect from the OnePlus Nord?
OnePlus doesn't do names for its products as it usually has a number, or a number followed by the letter ‘T'. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei explained that Nord comes from the concept of true North. Pei said, “We each have this inner compass that guides us. This product line reminds us to always search for our true north, and we hope it will keep reminding you of yours.”
So, is a budget friendly OnePlus the company's true compass?
The OnePlus Nord is an important device for OnePlus and we have already seen a couple of teasers from the company. OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau revealed that the OnePlus Nord will priced under $500 (roughly Rs. 37,700). The pricing could be even lower in India since that is exactly what OnePlus did with the OnePlus 8 series in India. The OnePlus 8 starts at Rs 41,999 in India whereas it is priced at $699 (roughly Rs. 53,000) in the US.
Since OnePlus has been aggressive with pricing earlier, I hope the OnePlus Nord will be priced around Rs. 30,000 in India. Aggressive pricing is very important here because in recent times, the price of OnePlus smartphones have gone up to flagship levels. People have been waiting for a budget alternative for a while now and OnePlus has the chance to deliver it in the form of the OnePlus Nord.
It was also confirmed that the OnePlus Nord will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC. Previous leaks have also pointed out that the OnePlus Nord could sport 12GB of RAM. There are no smartphones currently in India to sport this processor that makes the OnePlus Nord the first. Also, it has support for 5G connectivity which isn't available in this price range. If OnePlus gets the pricing for the Nord right, it could be the trendsetter for the Rs. 30,000 market in India.
The Snapdragon 765G SoC might not be as powerful as the Snapdragon 865 SoC but there is no reason to suspect that it will be a major downgrade. If the OnePlus Nord does get 12GB of RAM as leaks suggest, then it won't have any issues with multitasking or gaming. In fact it will possibly have more RAM than most of the competition in the market. Also, since the OnePlus Nord will run the latest OxygenOS on top of Android 10, expect a clean user experience. We were happy with OxygenOS running on the OnePlus 8 (Review) and the OnePlus 8 Pro (Review) as it did not have any bloatware onboard nor did it push spammy notifications.
Rumours suggest that the OnePlus Nord will sport a 4,300mAh battery and have support for 30W fast charging. The battery capacity seems good as anything higher could make the smartphone thick and bulky. And I wouldn't be surprised if OnePlus bundles a 30W Warp charger with this device. This would also help keep charging time down.
Surprisingly, OnePlus has managed to keep the design of the OnePlus Nord under wraps. Reports tip a quad-camera setup at the back and a dual-selfie camera setup but neither a render, nor a live image of the Nord has leaked out pointing at a dual-selfie camera setup. An early live leak had suggested a center mounted hole punch display with a flat design, which is possible.
I am fully expecting a quad-camera setup on the OnePlus Nord with a 64-megapixel primary camera like the leaks suggest. But I have my doubts about the new OnePlus smartphone having a dual-camera setup for selfies. OnePlus still doesn't have such a setup on its flagship series, so I am expecting the company to stick to a single selfie camera setup only.
The thought of OnePlus using an older design just the way Apple did with iPhone SE 2020 crossed my mind. The company could use a similar design as the OnePlus 7 or the OnePlus 7T. Repurposing an older design could help OnePlus keep its price down which seems to be the whole point with the OnePlus Nord. But since there have been no leaks about the design it is purely speculation on my part here. I would be fine with a slightly older design if it helps keep the price of the smartphone down. But there is a slight possibility that OnePlus could bring a new design to the market.
So far, the OnePlus Nord sounds like a good smartphone to me based on the confirmed and rumoured hardware. It will depend on how OnePlus prices this new smartphone and I think it will be under the Rs. 30,000 mark. If OnePlus manages to do this, it will stir up some competition in this price range.
Is OnePlus 8 Pro the perfect premium phone for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.