May 28, 2024
The Nord CE 2 5G boasts an attractive design, commendable battery life, and a user-friendly interface. However, it may fall short in terms of performance, particularly for hardcore gamers, and the camera could use some improvements. The absence of stereo speakers is also disappointing. Nevertheless, the phone offers a 3.5mm headphone jack and a memory expansion slot, making it worth considering after carefully evaluating your options.

OnePlus has made a name for itself in the flagship smartphone market, but its foray into the mid-range segment has been equally impressive. The brand introduced the original Nord a few years ago, followed by the more affordable Nord CE (review) last year. The Nord CE series, standing for Core Edition, focuses on providing value without compromising on the brand’s core proposition. However, facing tough competition in this segment, the newly launched Nord CE 2 5G needs to prove its worth. In this review, we will examine its performance in various aspects and determine whether it stands out in the market.

7.9 TOTAL SCORE

OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G

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OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G

Design 8
Display 7
software 9
Performance 7
Camera 7
Battery 8
Connectivity 9
PROS
  • Attractive design and solid build quality
  • Attractive design and solid build quality
  • Capable primary camera for daylight photography
  • Capable primary camera for daylight photography
CONS
  • Performance may not match that of its rivals
  • Lack of stereo speakers
  • Low-light camera performance could be improved
  • No Android 12 out of the box

OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G : Design

The Nord CE 2 opts for an understated yet elegant design, deviating from the flashy aesthetics of some other brands. While it may not immediately catch your attention, the Bahama Blue model, in particular, exudes a youthful vibe. Drawing inspiration from the OPPO Reno7 5G (review), the device features a flat screen on the front and a subtly curved glass back that seamlessly blends into the frame. The minimalistic polycarbonate rear showcases the OnePlus logo at the center, with the camera module housed in a sleek glass-like bump. The module prominently features two large camera sensors, accompanied by a smaller one and a flash on the side.

Oneplus Nord CE2 design

On the right spine, you’ll find the power key, while the left side houses the SIM tray and discrete volume keys. Remarkably, the SIM tray not only supports dual nano-SIMs but also allows the use of a microSD card—a first for OnePlus phones. At the bottom, you’ll find a Type-C port, a speaker, and a much-appreciated 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s worth noting that the phone lacks stereo speakers, which is a letdown considering this feature is commonly available across various price points. Additionally, the signature alert slider key is absent. Overall, the Nord CE 2 feels premium in hand, despite its affordable price. It is compact, lightweight, and slim, measuring just 7.8mm in thickness. OnePlus also includes a pre-installed screen protector and a sturdy-looking case in the box, ensuring immediate usability without concerns.

Oneplus Nord CE2 weight

Display

The front of the phone boasts a 6.43-inch FHD AMOLED display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and is HDR10+ certified. OnePlus offers a range of customization options, including dark mode, eye comfort mode, and the ability to adjust color temperature and display mode. The phone also supports an always-on display feature, allowing you to personalize the font and size. While the bezels are slim on three sides, the bottom chin is slightly wider. Located in the top left corner is a punch-hole cutout for the front camera, and an under-display fingerprint scanner is also incorporated. The display delivers satisfactory brightness and offers a decent viewing experience for various tasks. However, it should be noted that the phone does not support HDR streaming from Netflix, although HDR videos work fine on YouTube.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G: Cameras

Now let’s dive into the camera capabilities of the Nord CE 2. The device is equipped with a 64MP primary sensor with an aperture of f/1.8, accompanied by an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro lens. The primary camera captures impressive photos, particularly in daylight. The images exhibit excellent detail, a wide dynamic range, and accurate colors.

However, the 8MP ultra-wide sensor produces average results with some visible noise. While exposure control is decent and distortion is minimal around the edges, the focus tends to become less sharp towards the sides.

The 2MP macro lens does not perform exceptionally well and should not be relied upon for high-quality close-up shots. In low-light conditions, the Nord CE 2 shows room for improvement, as evident from overexposed images and light flare issues. The dedicated night mode does not significantly alleviate these concerns. As for the 16MP front-facing camera, it captures decent selfies in daylight. There may be slight exposure issues, and the edge detection in portrait shots could be better, but the skin tones appear accurate. In summary, if you are an occasional photographer, the Nord CE 2’s camera setup should suffice in most situations. However, if you prioritize advanced camera capabilities, you may want to explore other options.

Software, Performance, and Battery Life

The Nord CE 2 runs on Oxygen OS 11, which is based on Android 11. OnePlus continues its tradition of providing a clean and user-friendly interface with minimal bloatware. The software offers a near-stock Android experience, with extensive customization options available in the settings.

Powering the Nord CE 2 is the MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset, ensuring smooth performance for everyday tasks. The phone comes with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on the variant, and offers 128GB of storage. App switching and multitasking are snappy, with no noticeable lags or stuttering. Navigating through the user interface remains fluid, and casual gaming performs well.

OnePlus Nord CE2 performance

However, for intensive gaming, the Nord CE 2 may fall short, requiring you to lower graphics settings for smoother gameplay. Despite this limitation, the phone’s performance can still meet the expectations of most users. It supports 5G connectivity, and during testing with Airtel 4G in South Delhi, there were no issues with call quality. The in-display fingerprint scanner is fast and reliable, and face unlock works efficiently. The 4,500mAh battery easily lasts a full day with moderate usage, and in the PCMark battery test, it achieved an impressive battery life of 14 hours and 40 minutes. The Nord CE 2 also supports 65W fast charging, allowing you to recharge the battery from 0 to 100 percent in less than 40 minutes.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G may not excel in every aspect of smartphone usage compared to its competitors. The Realme 9 Pro+ offers superior camera performance, while the Mi 11X provides better overall performance. The Xiaomi 11i is another noteworthy rival in this price range, and increasing your budget slightly could get you the Nord 2 or even the iQOO 7. However, the Nord CE 2 does deliver satisfactory performance, good daylight photography, and reliable battery life. Its well-built design and clean interface, combined with extensive customization options, make it a viable option that deserves careful consideration.