Image Courtesy – One Plus Official Website
OnePlus, the brand that needs no introduction, has started out focusing on ‘flagship killer’ title with flagship specifications (specs) at an affordable price. The company’s main objective was ‘Technology for everyone’.
Over the years, the company has made a lot of improvements to its software as well as its hardware, the build quality, the cameras, their UI, everything’s gotten better. However, the prices of their phones have also been increased gradually and in 2020, the flagship killer brand has turned into a flagship brand with the new OnePlus 8 series.
This flagship lineup series is fueled with some impressive specs, such as SD 865, curved waterfall display, plenty of RAM, gorgeous looking back glass, even wireless charging & IP68 rating, and many other features with a hefty price tag to match with.
So, Oneplus gradually got out of the mid-range market. Despite the change, it has received a huge demand for this series. It certainly proved that the brand can sustain the market for a very long time, thanks to the partnership with Amazon and the Oneplus fan community. However, they were abandoning the market that got them there and they had to come up with something down there, but now, they definitely could not build a flagship killer.
To Bridge the gap, Oneplus has announced the second crack at the budget market after the not so famous Oneplus X released 5 years ago. Here comes the Nord into the picture.
The much affordable phone was originally planned to launch with the Oneplus 8 series on April 14th, but that didn’t happen, so the company decided to turn it into an affordable series of smartphones, teasing with the tagline ‘New beginnings’.
Finally, it was launched on 21st July 2020 and will be up for sale from 6th August 2020. Amazon has kept us notified about all the updates.
It even has its own Instagram page titled ‘one plus.nord’ where it keeps the customers and fans connected with day-to-day news. OnePlus has come up with the world’s first AR (augmented reality) smartphone launch and has handed out invitations which can be scanned in our mobiles to experience the device.
In an interview of Carl Pei hosted by a well-known youtuber Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), we got to the first clearer view of the looks of the device and other prototypes of the design. He stated that the reason behind the nord lineup is because they felt SD 765G would be the best chipset to get into the midrange market where other brands have been overlooking and the user would be having a flagship like experience. He also stated what areas they’re focusing on to minimize the cost and still provide a flagship experience.
Given the budget-friendly price segment, we cannot expect the same features of it’s flagship models in the mid-range device. So, the company’s basic priority is to provide a device which is fast enough to do daily tasks and gaming seamlessly. Given the specs, it would beat the Iphone SE in some areas which looked unbeatable with its A13 bionic chipset.
About the Device:
The Nord is the first phone in a brand-new product line and the company has come up with a different design approach from the Oneplus 8 and 8 pro. It is powered by Qualcomm’s snapdragon 765G chipset- a premium mid-range chipset & ‘Naturally, it’s fast as hell’ is their tagline for it. The Soc is coupled with Adreno 620 GPU for its best performace , maxing out at 2.4GHz. It is one of the few phones which sports a 765G chipset, what makes it special is that it has integrated 5G modem.
Oneplus phones have been long known for their AMOLED display and it has been the same with the Nord.The phone measures a 6.44-inch fluid AMOLED display. Unlike the previous 8 series, the display is flat with a 90Hz screen refresh rate with a FHD+ resolution. It does not have any color accuracy certification but does support HDR 10+.
It is a good looking panel overall with deep blacks and punchy colors, although the brightness is a tad bit low compared to its flagship lineup. There have been some rainbow-ing and minor tint issues that can be sorted with software updates. Under it, is an in-display fingerprint sensor that just needed a quick tap to unlock the phone. Face recognition is equally fast and seamless too.
The device packs a 6-camera setup, 4 in the rear, and dual-lens In-display camera module. The camera module sports a 48MP (SONY IMX586) primary OIS camera, an 8MP Ultra-wide, a 5MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro lens. The sony IMX 586 is an old sensor that one plus has used in their previous models (Oneplus 8 being the latest), but considering that they know how to tune the camera for its best performance, we can give it a go. The current pictures published by famous tech influencers of beaches and scenic views are looking great with this OnePlus Nord camera.
In a practical view, I have a mixed feeling for the 5MP depth sensor camera as that sort of background blur might be achieved from a few software tweaks, or we could wait for another update where the sensor is fine-tuned. The additional 2MP macro lens feels almost pointless here because of its color accuracy and aperture.
On the flip side, the dual punch hole camera setup contains 32MP and 8MP sensor with f/2.45 aperture. OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) technology reduces hand-induced blur and judder in photos as well as videos. It also allows the camera shutter to stay open for longer, in other words enabling better low-light images. One of the factors where the Nord made it different is that the front camera supports 4K-60fps whereas the rear doesn’t.
Visually, they might want the Nord to look like a premium flagship with the Quad camera setup, but if they want to move down in price, they might want to get rid of the last 2 cameras and make some other part of the device better.
It packs a 4115mAh battery with 30W wired charging speed which ‘OnePlus’ terms as WARP charge juicing up the device to 70% charge in about 30minutes and turns out the battery backup is pretty good.So, it does not disappoint in the battery department.
Gone are the days of 64GB storage, well, we only thought so, because the lineup starts at 64GB ROM-6GB RAM and the upgraded models with 128GB ROM-8GB RAM and 256GB ROM-12GB RAM. There is no option to expand the internal storage as it comes with a 2-nano sim card slot. Although it shouldn’t be an issue for the 128GB &256GGB variants, those with the 64GB variant might fall short of storage after a year or so, depending on the usage.
About the interface, the user interface is Oxygen OS 10 which runs on top of Google’s Android 10. The UI is the same for all Oneplus devices. We get a seamless experience with all the bells & whistles as a flagship device interface. One difference is that the device has google phone & messaging apps. The brand promises 2 years of software updates along with 3 years of security updates.
Overall, The Nord has a sub 30,000 INR price tag, 5G ready, AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate, a super smooth experience, superfast charging, camera as good as a flagship, and what all a customer would expect. It does have a few compromises, the headline one being the processor & no IP certification, headphone jack, a little bit lower end stuff but making the right cutoff for a 400$ price bracket making you rethink whether you want to spend at least double its cost on a flagship.