back in 2020, OnePlus changed the rules of the game when it decided to launch nord series. With the original Nord, the company slowly made its way into the budget segment that was vacated a few years back. The phone received a good response, helping it become a fan favorite.
A few months later, OnePlus upped its mid-range game with an even more aggressively priced device, the Nord CE. However, it did not become such a hit. And now, the company has launched a follow-up device in the form of Nord CE 2. On paper, the phone offers a good price to performance ratio with a great design. But how does it perform in real life? Let’s find out in its in-depth review Nord CE 2,
OnePlus Nord CE 2: Build and Design
OnePlus has a history of making good looking phones, and the Nord CE 2 is no exception. It has clean lines and a glossy back panel. In line with other Nord series phones, the Nord CE 2 also strives to keep things simple and classy. However, due to some design decisions, the phone now looks sleeker than other Nord series phones that we have seen in the past.
The biggest of these is the decision to equip the phone with a raised camera module which is quite prominent. This gives the phone a distinct look from the back – unlike anything we’ve seen on Nord series phones in the past. OnePlus Nord CE 2 is being launched in two color variants. First up is Gray Mirror. OnePlus explains that it offers a smooth, mirror-like finish with attractive overtones that look like “luxurious polished metal”. And the other one is the Bahama Blue colorway. While OnePlus would like you to believe that it is understated and classy, the reality is quite different. Make no mistake, it looks cool. But sadly, a phone that’s trying so hard to look good.
The phone feels slippery in the hand because of the material used in the device and the back panel is also a huge smudge magnet. But due to the presence of a light-reflective gradient pattern at the back, the smudge effect is toned down a bit. Apart from this, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 also offers solid build quality which definitely works in the favor of the phone.
OnePlus Nord CE 2: Display
In the display department, the Nord 2 comes with a 6.43-inch 90Hz Fluid AMOLED display which performs as expected. The panel is HDR10+ certified and offers a peak brightness of 800 nits. It also comes with HDR support for platforms like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.
The panel itself is par for the course and works well for all intents and purposes. It gets very bright – even under direct sunlight – and produces vibrant and punchy colours. OnePlus has included two display profiles. Of these, we found Gentle to be more balanced for all basic usage, however, if you want to watch movies on Netflix, or play games, we recommend switching to the Vivid profile for access to a wider color gamut. Will advise The panel of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 also offers decent viewing angles and good text clarity, and overall the display is good for games and watching videos and movies on it.
OnePlus Nord CE 2: Specification and performance
The OnePlus Nord 2 is a phone for the masses, and as such, the company has attempted to cover all the bases with the device – including the core hardware. Under the hood, we get a powerful mid-range chipset in the form of the Dimensity 900 SoC, paired with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This hardware interacts with a copy of OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11. While we would have preferred Android 12, the wait won’t be too long as the device is expected to get the Android 12 update soon.
This combination of Nord CE 2’s core hardware and neat software ensures that the phone delivers adequately to handle day-to-day tasks with ease. In our time with the phone, there was no noticeable lag, and apps for daily use worked without a hitch.
However, it was in the benchmarks and gaming department that the phone left a bit to be desired. We tested the phone using benchmarks like AnTuTu, Geekbench and 3DMark WildLife and in all these tests, the results thrown by the device were a bit underwhelming.
In fact, all the benchmarks we ran on the device prove one thing, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 isn’t even making the best use of the chipset, with its scores lower than those of the Oppo Reno 7, which sports the same chipset . cover. While the difference in score isn’t night and day, it’s still enough to point out in this review.
Thankfully though, the phone’s average performance in benchmarks didn’t carry over to gaming, where the device managed to run simple titles like Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9 Legends without any lag. Playing these games, we noticed no frame drops and performance was generally smooth. The Nord CE 2 also performed well in the CPU throttling test, where it throttled itself to around 95 percent of its performance. This is a good sign that the phone handles its thermals well, and also that it can offer sustained peak performance during long gaming sessions.
OnePlus Nord CE 2: Cameras
The OnePlus Nord CE 2 offers some decent hardware in the camera department. The phone packs triple cameras at the back with a 64-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 2-megapixel macro lens completing the set-up. On the front, we have a 16-megapixel selfie camera.
In our limited time with the device, we found that the Nord CE 2’s cameras perform quite well. The primary camera of the device is capable of clicking some really good looking pictures in daylight with a good amount of detail and clarity. Backed by OnePlus’ advanced photography algorithms, pictures clicked in daylight come out with natural colours. This is largely the case with the ultra-wide lens as well which manages to capture a good amount of detail and color accuracy is again on point.
However, due to the low megapixel count of this lens, the photos do not come out as sharp as the primary lens. There is also some barrel distortion effect in these photos, but thankfully it has been kept to a minimum level.
Low-light performance is decent for both lenses, with the phone’s computational photography algorithms boosting brightness in most Night Mode shots rather than filling the shot with more detail. Additionally, there is some level of noise in these low-light shots.
The phone also has a 2 megapixel macro camera lens. But it looks like it’s just for making up numbers. It is largely let down by its low megapixel count, as macro shots clicked using it come with less detail and lack in sharpness. The front camera of the device does a good job of capturing accurate skin tones and details. I’ll be honest, this lens isn’t in the segment, but it’s good enough and gets the job done.
OnePlus Nord CE 2: Battery
The battery department is where the OnePlus Nord CE 2 makes up a lot of lost ground. This is because OnePlus has not only equipped the device with a massive 4500mAh battery but has also added support for its top-of-the-line 65W Warp Charge. These two working together help it not only achieve one over the Nord CE but bring it on par with the Nord 2.
After a full charge, the phone can generally last for a day and a half on moderate usage. However, if you plan to watch movies or play games on the device then the battery life takes a slight dip. To give our readers an idea, in our video loop test this meant the Nord 2 managed about 9 hours of screen time on a 40 percent charge loss and 4 percent after 20 minutes for games like Call of Duty Mobile. Battery dropped. Use. When we ran out of charge, we hooked the device up to the OnePlus 65W Warp Charger to top up the battery to about 50 percent in 13 minutes, and to full charge in about 32 minutes.
OnePlus Nord CE 2: Is it worth buying?
In my opinion, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 doesn’t do anything outstanding. At this price point, there are other phones like the iQOO Z3 and Realme 9 Pro+ that offer better value. Both these phones bring powerful hardware, and the Realme 9 Pro+ brings slightly better cameras as well. But then again, both these phones have their failing points as well. For example the iQOO Z3 doesn’t sport an AMOLED panel, while the Realme 9 Pro+ loses out to the competition in the design department.
In comparison, the Nord CE 2 successfully manages to avoid falling into this trap. The new mid-range device from OnePlus doesn’t offer segment leading performance in any of the key departments. In fact, it remains strictly above-par overall. But what the Nord CE 2 does right is that it doesn’t fail in any of these departments. Be it the camera, general performance or even gaming, it delivers superior results everywhere, thereby establishing itself as a good contender for your money – albeit not an outright winner.