It began as a trickle and has now transformed into a steady flow—my reference is to the growing popularity of OnePlus devices in the Indian market. The brand has emerged as a top choice among the country’s cost-conscious, yet tech-savvy mobile phone users, the youth segment in particular. In a deft strategy last year, the company introduced its more affordable OnePlus smartphone line, called Nord, in order to attract die-hard OnePlus fans as well as prospective new customers. The phone really impressed with its slim form factor, great performance and long-lasting battery. Needless to say, it was a runaway success in the market.
OnePlus has set the mid-range market on fire yet again with its latest offering. OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Core Edition) is the new addition to the OnePlus Nord product line; the device boasts of powerful features at an even lighter price—all packed into a beautiful design. It has a judicious mix of hardware and software, and offers a good user experience. There’s a competent camera system, powerful processor, sharp and vibrant display and long-lasting battery—features that have made the brand quite visible and popular among the consumers here.
The Nord CE is a good-looking phone that comes in three colours: Charcoal Ink, Silver Ray, and Blue Void. The latter features a fingerprint-resist matte finish which reveals a fresh nuance from every angle. Prices range from Rs 22,999 for the 6GB+128GB variant, Rs 24,999 for the 8GB+128GB variant and Rs 27,999 for the 12GB+256GB variant. Our trial unit was the Blue Void, 12GB+256GB device, an attractive phone with the latest specs, impressive camera capabilities and good overall performance.
At 7.9mm in thickness and 170g in weight, Nord CE 5G is said to be the slimmest OnePlus device since the OnePlus 6T. But cutting back doesn’t mean subtraction. Extra features have been added to Nord CE, like the 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone has a 6.43-inch 90Hz AMOLED display that makes everything incredibly smooth and responsive. HDR10+ offers vivid colours to ensure immersive and enjoyable viewing experience. Of late, this reviewer has been watching a lot of movies on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, as well as plenty of snack videos on YouTube and needless to day, the Nord CE 5G provides a rich and immersive viewing experience. The screen features good brightness and colour balance, and offers users fairly reasonable viewing angles.
Probing the innards, Nord CE is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G Mobile Platform which offers a 20% CPU and 10% GPU boost over its predecessor, thanks to the Kryo 570 CPU and Adreno 619 GPU. The advanced AI Engine also provides users with an incredibly smooth and intuitive experience, from enhanced gaming to improved voice-chat. The phone comes pre-installed with OxygenOS 11, OnePlus’s fastest and most responsive software to date. OxygenOS 11 features significant improvements to features like Dark Mode, Zen Mode, and a new always-on-display (AOD). In addition, OOS 11 has been optimised for single-handed operations, thanks to repositioned touch controls and a simple yet bold design.
Moving on to the cameras, Nord CE sports a powerful triple rear camera setup with a 64MP main camera with a large f/1.79 aperture that captures crisp, high-resolution images and next-level detail in bright lighting conditions, and a 119-degree ultra-wide angle lens for enhanced versatility. On the front, Nord CE features a 16 MP camera for capturing great selfies. Needless to say, the phone is pretty good at clicking good photos and video that are bright, sharp and lively. Like all OnePlus flagship models, Nord CE comes with Nightscape for a better low-light photography experience. This must-have feature for night-time shooting takes up to eight pictures at varying exposures and effortlessly weaves them together to produce clearer, brighter, and more dramatic photos.
On the battery front, Nord CE comes with a large 4,500mAh battery, but with improved Warp Charge 30T Plus charging technology, the battery still charges at the same speed — 0 to 70% in just half an hour. Like all OnePlus devices, Nord CE also adapts to reduce the time spent at 100% battery to maintain good battery health while charging overnight.
In terms of real-world performance, Nord CE is fairly good. It is blazingly fast, loads web pages quickly and is generally easy to navigate. It is very good at taking photos, it has a stylish design. If you are looking at buying a fantastic and very capable phone that does not cost too much, then Nord CE is the one to get. It has all the elements of becoming a hot favourite among the tech-savvy youth segment and hence finds a strong mention.
Dimensions: 15.92 x 7.35 x 0.79cm, 170g weight
Display: 6.43 inches (2400 x 1080 pixels), 90 Hz Fluid AMOLED display
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G mobile platform
Operating system: OxygenOS based on Android 11
Memory & storage: 6/8/12GB RAM, 128/256GB storage
Camera: 64MP+8MP ultra-wide+2MP mono sensor, 16MP front camera
Battery: 4500mAh battery, Warp Charge 30T Plus fast charging
Estimated street price: Rs 22,999 (6GB+128GB), Rs 24,999 (8GB+128GB), Rs 27,999 (12GB+256GB)