OnePlus Nord 2: Five reasons this cheap phone is great A great lineup of features and an affordable price make the Nord 2 a superb option.


OnePlus calls its brand new Nord 2 the “flagship killer” and why do I think so. This phone has some impressive specs and performs well all round, and has been paired with a reasonable starting price of just £399 in the UK. It’s designed to offer everything you need from one phone without emptying your bank account. A powerful processor, a solid dual rear camera setup, 5G connectivity, super fast charging – and it’s not bad to look at either.

Like the previous Nord – and cheaper Answer CE, launched just a few weeks ago — Nord 2 will not be available for sale in the US. It’s slated for the UK and wider Europe, where a version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will cost £399, or £469 with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. For reference, £399 converts to about $540 or AU$740.

But no, it doesn’t actually “kill” any flagships. It’s not as powerful as a “true” flagship iphone 12 pro max or S21 Ultra, nor will its camera prowess attract the world’s most in-demand photographers. I think the flagship that is most at risk OnePlus’ own 9 series, which shares many features with the Nord 2, yet has a starting price of £629 ($729).

I’ve spent very little time with the Nord 2 before its unveiling and here are five things I love most about this new handset.

A powerful MediaTek processor

OnePlus has usually used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors for its phones, but it has gone with MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200-AI chip for the Nord 2. You won’t notice any difference at all in use – it’s still about the same as any other Android phone – but you’ll see that it’s surprisingly powerful for the price.

While it doesn’t line up with the iPhone 12 Pro Max in terms of benchmarks, it beat the Pixel 5 and wasn’t far below the more expensive OnePlus 9. It’s certainly powerful enough for gaming, photo editing, and video streaming and navigating. The Android 11 interface is smooth and stutter free.

Which neatly tells me five reasons Nord 2 is great.

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android 11 software

The Nord 2 runs Android 11 at its core, on top of which OnePlus slaps its usual Oxygen software. I really like OnePlus’ software because it’s clean, easy to use and doesn’t try to load the phone up with too many bundled services and bloatware. As a result, the phone remains nippy and hassle-free for a long time.

This is especially important on lower and midrange phones that can’t cope with being stuck with services. The result here is a smooth performing phone which I expect to remain so for some time to come.

OnePlus says it’s guaranteed to get at least two years of Android upgrades — so an update to Android 12 this fall and Android 13 next year — with an additional year of security updates after that.

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Incredible Fast Charging

The Nord 2 has the same 65-watt fast charging seen in the OnePlus 9 series and is amazing. It will take the phone from empty to full in just 30 minutes, which makes it wonderful for a quick boost before you leave the house. The 4,500-mAh battery can still give you a day’s use off a charge, but when you can recharge that quickly, battery life is somewhat curtailed.

What’s even better is that a 65-watt fast charger comes in the box, so you don’t have to try to find Amazon, which will give enough power. The phone doesn’t have wireless charging, but personally I don’t see this as a particular problem.

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lively, fast performance

The Nord 2’s display measures 6.43-inches and boasts a resolution of 2,400×1,080 pixels, which is enough to make even small text look nice and sharp. It’s an AMOLED panel, which also makes it extremely vibrant, which is great for playing videos, photos or whatever color game that’s circling the Google Play Store.

It has a 90Hz refresh rate which is a touch less than the 120Hz of the OnePlus 9 series, but I doubt you’ll be able to tell any real difference in day-to-day use. It’s silky smooth when scrolling around the interface, but you can also turn it up to the more regular 60Hz, which will obviously help save on battery life.

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good rear cameras

We haven’t done our full camera testing yet, but what we’ve seen from the cameras so far looks good. The main sensor is a 50-megapixel case – the same one seen in the OnePlus 9’s ultrawide camera. Outdoor images are well exposed, with lots of detail and natural-looking colors.

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OnePlus Nord 2 outdoor camera test, standard lens.

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OnePlus Nord 2 outdoor camera test, standard lens.

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OnePlus Nord 2 outdoor camera test, super-wide lens.

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OnePlus Nord 2 Outdoor Camera Test, Standard Lens with 2x Digital Zoom.

The 8-megapixel super-wide lens is noticeably less detailed, but it also seems capable of capturing good-looking outdoor images. There is an on-screen option for 2x zoom, but not a truly zoom lens, so that 2x is based on digitally cropping in the shot. The results still look good, but it’s worth keeping in mind that doing so won’t give you maximum quality.

There’s also technically a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor which, in my opinion as a photographer, is completely pointless. If you want great-looking black-and-white images, use the regular camera and apps like Adobe Lightroom or Snapseed to take full control over converting to mono. To be honest, I think OnePlus could have taken it out and made another 20 KWID or less for the price.

oneplus nord 2 specs

display size, resolution, refresh rate

6.43-inch AMOLED, FHD+ (2,400×1,080 pixels), 90Hz

pixel density

410ppi

Dimensions (inches)

6.25×2.88×0.32 inch

Dimensions (millimeters)

158.9×73.2×8.25mm

Weight (grams)

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