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First Impressions Of The Brand-New OnePlus Nord

by : Jonny Lee on : 21 Jul 2020 15:30
OnePlus

So this is it. OnePlus are finally going back to their roots. It took a while for the OnePlus Nord to be revealed, but there is a good reason for that.

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In an interview with tech YouTuber MKBHD the company’s co-founder Carl Pei said OnePlus were waiting for the mid-range technology to be just right before delving back into the market that made them so loved by tech enthusiasts. And after a little while with the phone, I’m glad they waited. It seems that now, in 2020, the technology is in just the right place.

OnePlus phones are known for being fast. That industry-leading feeling of speed essentially is the OnePlus brand. With the recent 8 and 8 Pro they absolutely nailed it. I reviewed both those phones and they are by far the fastest and most responsive phones I’ve used this year. Miraculously, with its £379 starting price tag, the OnePlus Nord manages to feel just as fast as most flagship smartphones I’ve used.

As Carl Pei said, the reason OnePlus haven’t put out a mid-range phone in such a long time is because they’ve been waiting for the right mid-range smartphone chip to come out. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G is that chip. Paired with a fast 90Hz AMOLED 6.44-inch display, this mid-range phone truly feels like a flagship killer. That’s what we want and expect from OnePlus.

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The display’s speed is not something I was expecting at all for a smartphone in this price range, which makes it extra nice to have. There are a few drawbacks with the display, the viewing angles aren’t as good as its older brothers the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. But honestly, if that’s the sacrifice that has to be made for 90Hz I’ll take it. The snappy feeling is enhanced by the up to 12GB of RAM, the brilliant, and the 300-odd optimisations OnePlus say they’ve made to get the Nord feeling this good.

The design is really nice too. It’s a very clean looking phone. The back is very simple, with a vertical camera array down the right-hand side of the back of the phone. On the front, there’s a double camera hole punch in the top left corner of the display. The display itself is completely flat to the phone. It’s not curved like the 8 and 8 Pro, and I am a big fan of this decision.

I imagine the main reason for this is to remove the extra cost of building a phone with a curved screen, but honestly, I massively prefer a phone with a flat-screen anyway. So, thank you OnePlus. The buttons are the standard OnePlus layout. Volume rocker on the left, power button and alert slider on the right.

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On the back there’s a 48MP main camera (the same 48MP camera that’s on the OnePlus 8), an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a macro camera, and a depth sensor. It’s a shame there’s no telephoto camera, but for a phone like this, you have to cut costs somewhere. And on the front there’s a 32-megapixel main camera, and another 8MP ultrawide camera. I’ve not had a chance to use them much, but from what I have used they seem great. I’ll have a lot more to say about them in the full review which is coming soon.

Right now, it honestly feels like OnePlus has met the lofty expectations they’ve created for themselves. With the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model starting at £379, it’s an almost unbelievable deal. If you’re wanting the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage model, the price goes up to a still impressive £469.

Of course, with a phone at this price point, there are going to be things which are cut, IP rating, and a telephoto camera are two of the most obvious omissions from the OnePlus Nord. And in the full review, I’ll go more into what has been omitted and why.

But at the moment, in general day-to-day use, I notice the things OnePlus have been able to keep, like the 90Hz display, and the blistering speed, much more. Maybe more cons will show themselves with extended use, as they usually do, but right now the OnePlus Nord is shaping up to be the mid-range competitor that Android has been desperate for since Apple released the iPhone SE.

Topics: Technology, Nord, OnePlus, smartphone, Tech