The OnePlus Nord is kind of a big deal. Or, at least, that’s what OnePlus has been working hard to convey. The PR “hype machine” has been working over-time and the results are definitely showing. For better or worse, everybody seems to be discussing the Nord and a lot is actually riding on its success as a result.
Going off of the company’s own commercial message, the OnePlus Nord is intended to mark a new beginning, a bold start of a whole family of Nord devices. Another stab at the mid-range market and an attempt to break ground where the OnePlus X failed. And when the makers of the original “flagship killer” phone, the masters of guerilla marketing, the proverbial “underdogs” from a wilder, past Android realm start saying such things, people tend to listen and then expect nothing short of a market splash.
It’s frankly hard to think of a harder and tighter position to put one single phone in on today’s cutthroat mobile scene. And the most baffling bit is that OnePlus singlehandedly self-engineered the entire predicament. Sure, if anyone has the resources, market standing production and supply chain to pull-off a new “messiah” phone, it has to be the mighty BBK corporation. And in all fairness, the OnePlus Nord is a solid and well-rounded product. It’s important to get that on the record right away.
OnePlus Nord specs
- Body: 158.3×73.3×8.2mm, 184g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame; Colors: Blue Marble, Gray Onyx.
- Display: 6.44″ Fluid AMOLED, 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 408ppi; 90Hz refresh rate, HDR10+.
- Chipset: Qualcomm SDM765 Snapdragon 765G (7 nm): Octa-core (1×2.4 GHz Kryo 475 Prime & 1×2.2 GHz Kryo 475 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 475 Silver); Adreno 620.
- Memory: 64GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM; UFS 2.1.
- OS/Software: Android 10, Oxygen OS 10.0.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.3, 119˚ (ultrawide); Depth: 5 MP, f/2.4, (depth); Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro); Dual-LED flash, HDR, panorama.
- Front camera: Wide (main): 32 MP, f/2.5, (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.5, 105˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm; HDR.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps.
- Battery: 4115mAh; Fast charging 30W, 70% in 30 min.
- Misc: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass; NFC, 5G connectivity.
It’s just that “good” or even “great” was never going to be enough to stop this particular hype train. Now the OnePlus Nord finds itself in a rather unfortunate, even if entirely predictable situation. Ever since it has hit shelves, the reception has been universally lukewarm. A big chunk of that response has been coming off as emotional, more than anything else. You’ll get none of that on the following pages, since the Nord deserves an evaluation on equal grounds, just like any other device we take a deep dive into.
That being said, the Nord, or rather OnePlus, won’t be getting a pass on some of its polarizing decisions in recent devices. Objective things, like the persistent absence of a telephoto camera, which still has fans harking back to the OnePlus 7T and a broader debate on the changing nature of a “value” that the brand and the 2020 mobile industry, as a whole, are now offering.
Unboxing OnePlus Nord
Presentation is vital if you are building a proper brand image. Ever since its early viral-marketing days, OnePlus has been among the best in the entire Android realm at selling ideas and feeling. A lifestyle brand, if you will. At least in some sense. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the Nord has its own, distinctive twist on the OnePlus look. Teal or aquamarine, depending on how much light is present, are the new accent colors. At least, going by the sturdy, two-piece box on the OnePlus Nord, as well as the accompanying “welcome letter”. Like we said, OnePlus knows its way around designing a lifestyle brand.
The thick rubber USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable in the box is still colored in the familiar bright red. Aquamarine on the cable would have really shown some extra care and attention to detail. The 30W wall charger is the same as on other OnePlus phones.
Cost-effective is not the worst thing to be accused of, though, especially since we can’t outright say OnePlus was stingy with the accessory bundle. You also get a nice and thick, frosted-look silicone case in the box. Complete with a rather odd geometrical pattern on the back. The latter is probably meant to mimic a compass arrow, which is the original inspiration for the Nord name. The only notable omission, in our mind, is a USB Type-C to 3.5mm dongle, since the Nord lacks a 3.5mm jack.