OnePlus Nord – the latest handset released by the popular mobile brand – is down today. It follows the release of the popular 8 Series, and although it does not have the price tag for a flagship phone, it does come loaded with the features OnePlus users have come to expect.
The phone launches on August 4 in Europe and India, at £ 379 for the 8GB / 128GB model and £ 469 for the 12GB / 256GB version. At the time of writing, there are no announcements for other markets, including North America.
I have managed to get my dirty gloves on in the Nordics and considering that the phone is famous as a cheaper mid-range handset, I am suitably impressed by the results. While I have not yet done so really put it through its paces (hey, I just got it, give me a break) I have some first thoughts to share with you.
Let’s check out the most important details before we take a first look at what OnePlus Nord has hidden its proverbial sleeve. Nord packs all this:
- 6.44-inch, 2400 × 1080p, AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate
- OxygenOS 10.5 based on Android 10
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G 5G processor
- 8 GB / 12 GB RAM
- 128 GB / 256 GB storage
- Type-C USB port (supports Type-C headphones – no headphone jack)
- Power switch, volume rocker, sound mode controls
- Rear cameras
- 48 MP main camera
- 8 MP ultram wide angle camera
- 2 MP macro camera
- 5 MP depth sensor
- front Camera
- 32 MP main camera
- 8 MP ultram wide angle camera
- Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, 2.4G / 5G
- In the box: OnePlus Nord handset, charging cable Type-C, WARP Charge 3.0 adapter, pre-assembled screen protector, clear smartphone case
- Specifications reviewed: 256 GB / 12 GB
I have to say, given that this has been billed as a non-flagship priced phone, it really feels like one. It is so nice to hold, thanks to its minimal weight and perfect hand size. It also has a Gorilla Glass back, which adds to that pro Pipe. Without a fall, the back is very smooth against the palm; it really is a great looking smartphone.
It is available in two colors: Blue Marble (which I test and which looks fantastic) and Gray Onyx. The back of the handset has an almost milky bluishness, with the edges of the Nordic countries with an icy metallic strip. The screen has a pleasantly thin frame, which is nice because it does not take up much property in front.
The back of the phone has a camera strip with four lenses. In addition to this, the dual LED flash is to ensure that your snaps are bright and well defined. The top left of the screen has an extra wide “hole punch” for the camera lenses, which includes an 8 MP ultra-wide angle camera. Dual front cameras are a first for OnePlus, but the company tells us that this will make taking selfies even easier.
So these are the details of the internal processing of OnePlus latest handset, but what do I really do think about it? I mean, this is my first impression. Well, I’ll give you my first thoughts now, but hang on to a full review until I’ve had a chance to test it over time. Here’s what I think:
- The overall dimensions of the phone are perfect. At least they are for me, and I do not have the biggest hands in the world. I thought I could easily reach which icon or key I needed, even when I only used the phone with one hand (I smoke, this is important during a smoking break). It also does not feel too heavy in the hand, which is good.
- That may be a pretty small point, but the fact that OnePlus included a case in the box (which is common for OnePlus and some budget phone manufacturers) is an ingenious blow. My girlfriend actually had the OnePlus 3T and she dropped it the day it was delivered. This cracked the screen. Had she had a fall in the box, it would not have happened. More smartphone brands need to be noted here. Having to go and buy a target after getting your handset is honestly a pain in the ass.
- The flat screen is a welcome return to form. The 8 series has a curved screen. My current non-OnePlus phone has a curved screen. I do not like curved screens. They encourage unintentional gestures and have resulted in an annoying loss of information when I have filled out forms online and accidentally navigated away from the screen. The flat screen also makes the phone more secure in your hand, I think.
- The Type-C USB charging port is obviously good for charging. But if you want to listen to music with a cable connection, you need a pair of Type-C headphones – there is no 3.5 mm socket. Either that or you need a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter that is sold separately. This is a notable shortcoming of a mid-range phone – compare it to the Pixel 3a series, which included a headphone jack after the more expensive Pixel 3 dropped it. It’s good that OnePlus is releasing its first set of real wireless earbuds today as well, huh?
- I love the screen. The colors are bright and bold – they do not seem to be washed out or misted in the same way as some cheap phones. The lines are sharp and well defined. As a first impression, I would say that the screen is definitely flagship quality, although a full test with different sources will reveal how it works across the board.
- The sound mode slider is a welcome touch and has always been present on all new OnePlus smartphones. Not all phones have these and they are very useful for quickly turning off the phone if it accidentally starts up to a full version of your No woman, no crying ringtone at your Auntie’s funeral. Doing this on the screen simply serves to prolong the pain. It is a very welcome convenience that is worth mentioning.
So there we have it – a first look at OnePlus Nord. The handset is available for pre-order right now under a one-time pop-up store with limited time, so go to the website if you are interested in grabbing an impressive yet inexpensive smartphone. And if you fail to grab the handset today, you can visit a 24-hour John Lewis pop-up store on July 31st.
Nord will be officially sold directly from OnePlus, Three, John Lewis and Amazon from 4 August. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for my full review, which is coming very soon.