Review OnePlus Nord: Great but not bold enough
OnePlus North is an effectfull but not very bold step back to the roots for OnePlus – it’s still a no brainer for OnePlus fans. See my review with pros and cons and three great alternatives.
OnePlus Nord review
No matter how you pronounce the name it’s a great phone that most people could easily hail as the best phone for the price 2020 – even though I had expected OnePlus to be a bit more bold with this phone.
Rumours said that OnePlus North could be a direct competitor to the small iPhone SE 2020 – but it isn’t. North is a big phone with 6,44 inch display and with a fairly big frame around the display.
Front and back is made in glass – protected by Gorilla Glass 5 – and the frame is made in plastic. The plastic frame is one of the downgrades compared to the aluminium frame on OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro but in daily use you don’t notice it for one second.
The phone is not IP certified – so no official water protection but OnePlus promise that it is more or less just as waterproof as most IP certified phones. You can see on the sim card case that it is more protected than normal. But of course – still don’t drop it in the toilet.
The Alert Slider is still on the right side fullfilling it’s great low practical job – turn on silent mode, vibration or sound. Very handy…
All in all it looks very similar to the way more expensive 8 Pro and it’s in general great looking and well build.
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The camera on OnePlus Nord – better than feared
The camera is perhaps the keyfeature for most people in phones today. We simply wants a great camera for most situations as the phone is our primary camera. I was both excited and a bit nervous about the camera. OnePlus have improved the camera experience on their phones but their track record doesn’t put them in the top position.
Would a cheaper phone come at the expense on a worse camera? Actually not. There is no optical zoom and ultra wide angle could be better – but to be honest – do we really need that? The phone takes great landscape pictures, great pictures in the dark without using photo light thanks to optical image stabilazation, portrait phones looks nice and selfies are more than decent.
Compared to another cheap phone, Motorola Moto G 5G Plus, there is a better camera on the OnePlus North.
Read more: Best camera and video quality
User-friendliness & navigation speed
As said earlier it’s not a small phone but it is smaller than the other Oneplus phones from 2020. This make it a bit more handy and user friendly for one hand use. The user interface is more less the same as on the other OnePlus phones but there are minor differences. For some reason they for example choose to use Google Message app instead of their own.
On paper Snapdragon 675 is not the most powerfull chipset in the world but it handles all actions more than fine – and then some. It also gets a helping hand from 8 or 12 GB RAM.
A fast tip: Turn of Animations – it will speed up the navigation speed quite a bit.
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Display, battery and gaming
I’m not gonna spend a lot of energy on display, battery and gaming – just a few words.
The display is pretty standard in this price level med 6,44 inch AMOLED and full HD resolution. Is has 90 Hz refresh rate – but in daily use it’s difficult to see any difference compared to 60 Hz refresh rate.
The battery capacity is 4.115 milli amp hours which gives a decent battery life – however it could be better if it had not been for the poor antenna quality. The fast charger does a great job – from 0-100 percent only takes around 55 minutes.
Finally gaming: The phone handles even the most heavy games without problems and it comes with the same Game Mode as its more expensive siblings.
There is only one speaker – and the sound is not impressive. Not for gaming or music. A speaker or headset fixes that problem pretty easy.
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The price for OnePlus Nord starts from 399 euros or around 470 dollars. That is a great price for an overall great phone.
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Cons – poor antenna quality
There is more or less only one thing wrong with this phone – the antenna quality. I hear you yawing and I know antenna quality is not the most sexy thing to discuss – but hear me out.
Poor antenna quality gives you a poor online experience in areas with poor network coverage. It’s also affect calling opportunities. But it doesn’t stop there. Poor antenna quality also has a negative effect on battery life and performance because the phone has to use more power and energy pinging for the signal than phones with better antenna quality.
Other than that there are only minor things on the negative side:
- No 3,5 headphone jack
- No memory card slot
- It’s not officially waterproof
Read more: Cellphones with best antenna
As great a phone it is there are still a lot of great alternatives on the market at this price level.
- Motorola Moto G 5G Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S10e
- Oppo A72 5G
Read more: Best phones for the money
It’s a mighty fine phone the new Oneplus North. But it’s really gonna cannabilize on the more expensive 8 and 8 Pro. It’s strange that OnePlus didn’t try to stand more out with the North phone – make it smaller for people who wants a small but still great phone. Now it’s just another among many phones in this price level. Still a great phone and a great buy but I had just hoped that OnePlus had the balls to do something more bold…
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