OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G review: An all rounder mid-range phone with an identity crisis


OnePlus introduced its Nord smartphone series for buyers who couldn’t afford the expensive flagship model (so much for launching an affordable premium smartphone). The series was a perfect all-rounder and was pocket-friendly especially for the users in India. Fast-forward two years, OnePlus has introduced yet another sub-category, the Nord CE or “Core Edition” smartphone series that focuses more on core essentials to make the model even more cost-effective. The recently launched OnePlus Nord CE 2 has a lot of nuances in comparison to its predecessor, however, differs only slightly from the OnePlus Nord 2. Obviously, there are some sacrifices here but the question is whether this phone justifies the compromise. does it demand? Read further to know.

Looks just like every other Nord; not that i’m complaining

If you’ve seen one Nord, you’ve seen them all! The company has kept the design language of its newly launched Nord similar to its predecessor. The Bahamas Blue color variant that I got looked pretty and premium, not so great that you would consider it a flagship phone, but that phone makes the plastic look gorgeous and that is something!

The smartphone is light in weight, measuring 173 grams and is quite usable as well. It’s not too slippery, which is a relief for people with butterfingers like me. The handset does attract fingerprints, but they are not so visible that they make it ugly, which is usually the case with my OnePlus 7 handset. The phone also adopts the same rounded, vertical camera module on the back.

Since there was little room for improvement in the design of the mid-range Nord handset, the company decided to fill in the last caveat. This phone also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, which we thought had become obsolete in OnePlus phones until the Nord CE 5G. This headphone jack is placed on the bottom edge along with a single speaker grille and Type-C slot for charging.

oneplus nord ce 2 5g

On one hand, I’m quite happy that I can stick to my wired earphones, but I’m sad that the company has removed its signature alert slider from this phone. I’ve seen it come since, it was also missing from its predecessor, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G, but I still think the slider was a useful element of the design. For those who don’t know it yet, this slider is used to put the phone in silent and ringing mode.

beautiful presentation as always

Barring the dual front camera setup like the Nord 2 5G, the Nord CE 2 5G sports a single punch hole camera that sits at the top left corner of the display. I must admit, the cut-out is so small that after some time you do not even notice its presence.

oneplus nord ce 2 5g

The handset has the same display as its predecessor. It is a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels and a 90Hz refresh rate. The display delivers punchy colors and great contrast.

Overall, you are definitely going to enjoy playing games and watching videos on it.

Good daylight camera but night photography will disappoint

oneplus nord ce 2 camera

For Rs 23,999, you will be considered to have a triple rear camera setup that includes a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. In daylight, you’ll get sharp images with vibrant colors and fine details. No, they do not look processed or unnatural. Even in portrait mode, it did well when it comes to subject separation, with lots of detail and natural-looking colors.

However, the camera struggles when it comes to low-light photography. Images appear noisy and details are blurry. In my opinion, Night Mode produced balanced light images compared to Standard Mode. For selfies, in broad daylight and in low light, you’ll get detailed and crisp pictures. Overall, the camera is pretty mediocre and doesn’t clearly shine in this area, if camera is what you’re looking for in this phone.

Here are some camera samples,
oneplus nord ce 2 5g

A MediaTek chipset and Oppo-based OxygenOS

The smartphone is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset and offers 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage that is expandable with up to 1TB of microSD storage. Although the MediaTek chipset is a step down from the Snapdragon chipset it is certainly not a fatal flaw. The phone did not stop even while shuffling between apps or playing games. You may face jerky app transitions at times but in very rare cases.

The smartphone is still tied to Android 11 based OxygenOS, which is disappointing as rivals these days already come with Android 12. The new Oppo’s ColorOS Integrated OxygenOS looks clutter-free and sleek compared to others on the market but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s not OxygenOS like it used to be. The obvious places where you can really see the difference are the camera UI and the phone’s settings. Again, not a deal-breaker as it is still the best in the segment.

Oh! No need to worry about running out of juice!

Like its predecessor, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G also comes with 65W fast charging support, similar to the flagship OnePlus 9 series. It takes around 40 minutes for a smartphone to fill a dead battery.

I had to put the phone on charge before going to sleep at night as it survived a day’s regular use and extensive binge-watching. Anna’s Invention or witchcraft Later in the day. It was about 15 percent when I finally had to plug in the charger.

It all looked good until a day after booking my Uber ride, I realized my phone had just 10 percent battery. I had to charge my phone quickly and thankfully it lasted as long as I made a few calls to my cabbie as he got a little lost and then did a quick scroll through my emails on the way to my workplace. So yes, I am quite impressed with the fast charging technology of the Nord CE 2.

The Wrap-Up: Should You Buy It?

OnePlus has put in a lot of effort to make the Nord CE 2 5G an all-rounder. However, the phone is not special in any one segment. Now that I think about it, isn’t this the secret sauce of the Nord CE series in the first place? OnePlus has cut some corners like using a MediaTek chipset instead of a Snapdragon, plastic-y back, hitting the alert slider but it’s a well-rounded phone with no significant flaws.

oneplus nord ce 2

However, if you have a special allegiance to OnePlus, then I would suggest going for the OnePlus Nord 2 5G which costs Rs 29,999. If you can take the leap, you can not only get a better display but a premium built and a decent rear camera. Al it amazes me, that the company has crowded the price segment and because of this the smartphone may struggle to find its footing, hence an identity crisis.

But, if you’re not a fan of OnePlus and are open to taking a look around, there are a few options out there including the Realme 9 Pro+ and the Samsung Galaxy F62, but not without small compromises.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G after review: An all-rounder mid-range phone with identity issues first appears on BGR India.

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