The OnePlus Nord was launched in July last year to focus on the sub-Rs. 25,000 price segment. As OnePlus flagships got more and more expensive, the OnePlus Nord promised good performance at a somewhat more affordable price. Now, it has been discontinued, clearing the way for an even more affordable model, the Nord CE 5G, and its true successor, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G. This new OnePlus smartphone has an improved camera setup and a MediaTek Dimensity processor. Does it still deliver the OnePlus experience? I got my hands on the OnePlus Nord 2 5G and here are my first impressions of the device.
The OnePlus Nord 2 starts at Rs. 27,999 in India for the base variant, which has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There are two more variants of the OnePlus Nord 2, one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and finally 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. These are priced at Rs. 29,999 and Rs. 34,999 respectively. I had the top-of-the-line variant with me for review.
The OnePlus Nord 2 looks familiar and seems in place along with the OnePlus 9 series and the OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Review). Picking up the OnePlus Nord 2, it instantly feels premium to the touch. It has a 6.43-inch display with a camera hole in the top left corner for its 32-megapixel selfie shooter. The OnePlus Nord 2 5G sports an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and full-HD+ resolution. It also has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection for the display as well as the back.
The mid-frame of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is made out of plastic. On the right side, it has the power button and the alert slider (which is missing on the OnePlus Nord CE 5G), and on the left are the volume buttons. I found the button placement to be quite good, and reaching them wasn't an issue during one handed use. The USB Type-C port, loudspeaker, SIM tray, and primary mic are at the bottom, while the secondary mic is at the top. The OnePlus Nord 2 5G has dual speakers – the earpiece doubles up as the secondary speaker for stereo sound.
On the back, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G has a triple camera setup and the camera module bears some resemblance with that of the OnePlus 9R (Review). The camera module consists of a 50-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.88 aperture and OIS. There's also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera with EIS and a f/2.25 aperture. These two sensors look like they have big lenses while the 2-megapixel mono camera is smaller and sits next to the flash. The OnePlus logo is slap bang in the centre of the rear panel .
OnePlus offers the Nord 2 5G in three colour options, Gray Sierra, Blue Haze, and the India exclusive Green Wood. I had a Blue Haze unit with me, and it did not pick up smudges easily. OnePlus also offers a case in the box. The phone weighs 189g and is 8.25mm thick. It does not feel very bulky, and one-handed use is possible.
OnePlus has opted for a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor which has been somewhat customised with additional AI processing power to create the Dimensity 1200-AI, according to both companies. This is also a little surprising since other OnePlus devices so far have been powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. There are 6GB, 8GB, and 12GB RAM options, with 128GB of storage for the lower two and 256GB on the highest one. Storage is non-expandable and the Nord 2 5G only has two Nano-SIM slots with support for dual 5G. There is also support for WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and five satellite navigation systems. The Nord 2 5G packs in a 4,500mAh battery and comes with a Warp Charge 65W charger in the box.
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G runs OxygenOS 11.3 based on Android 11. My unit had the June Android security patch. The UI is clean and only a few Google and OnePlus apps, plus Netflix, were preinstalled. I did not have any issues navigating through the UI and found it to be intuitive to use.
The in-display fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the device, and given the 12GB of RAM that my review unit has, I did not face any hiccups while multitasking. The “enhanced” MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI showed a lot of promise and it'll be interesting to test OnePlus's claims that there are additional camera, gaming, and display features enabled by the AI enhancement. The Realme X7 Max 5G (Review) and the upcoming Poco F3 GT are two smartphones with the same SoC, minus OnePlus' customisations, so it'll be interesting to see how the OnePlus Nord 2 5G fares.
Overall, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G seems like an upgrade over the original Nord in every respect, based on the specs. However, it has gone up in price as well, so it'll be interesting to see if this new smartphone still offers good value for money, or whether you'd be better off with the Nord CE 5G. I will be putting the Nord 2 5G through benchmarks and camera tests, so stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for the full review, coming up soon.