OnePlus latest flagship: OnePlus Nord CE 2 Review!

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The OnePlus Nord CE 2 isn’t a stripped-down OnePlus Nord 2, despite the ‘CE’ standing for ‘Core Edition.’ Its design is equally Oppo and OnePlus, its performance is several notches below that of its mid-range predecessor, and it lacks the flagship-grade main camera sensor seen on the Nord 2.

But, most importantly, this is a nice phone to use daily. Spend some time with the OnePlus Nord CE 2, and you’ll be won over by its subtle pleasures.

Quick Glance:

It may seem harsh to refer to the OnePlus Nord CE 2 as “money for old rope,” but that was our immediate impression. The phone’s display and camera system are the same as the previous OnePlus Nord CE, while the plastic body is only slightly improved.

Its performance has improved somewhat but noticeably, and OnePlus’ OxygenOS remains one of the more sleek Android UIs available. In a mid-range market packed with gaudy UIs, illogical custom app selections, and overstuffed home screens, the importance of the latter point should not be overlooked.

Rather than any particular specification, the Nord CE 2’s defining attribute might just be its overall sense of balance and competence. For the same price, there are phones with better screens, CPUs, and displays, but few are as well-integrated.

The Nord CE 2’s 65W SuperVOOC charger is undoubtedly the component that deserves special attention here. You might just stop plugging it in overnight now that it can get you up to a full charge in just over 30 minutes.

But, at the end of the day, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 is a phone of quiet competence and understated appeal. It’s for individuals who don’t care about box-ticking specs and just want a low-maintenance £300 phone with no frills.

Price and Availability

On March 10, 2022, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 begin to get available in the UK, Europe.

OnePlus has preserved the pricing of the OnePlus Nord CE from last year, which means that the only variant available in the UK is £299 (€349/around $400/AU$550) from OnePlus.com, Amazon, and John Lewis. This model comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, as well as a Gray Mirror or Bahama Blue color option.

At that price, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 will compete with the Realme 9 Pro and the somewhat more expensive Poco F3, as well as other lower mid-range smartphones. It costs exactly £100 less than the OnePlus Nord 2, with which it has shockingly little in common, at least in terms of hardware.

Display:

AMOLED display 6.43-inch

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 has what appears to be the same 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED display as the previous model. Once again, this screen can output at a 90Hz refresh rate, which is acceptable but not exceptional in its class.

One difference is that this time around, the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, which is more robust than the DragonTrail glass used on the OnePlus Nord CE 5G.

Aside from the inherent similarities, this is a wonderful screen to work with. It’s flat, has minimum bezels (save for a slightly wider chin), and produces 800 nits of brightness.

Refresh Rate is 90Hz.

The default Vivid P3 display mode brightens colors significantly, but not to the point of being distracting. This changes to a Gentle sRGB mode and the settings tweak further using the warmth slider in the corresponding options menu.

Because Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video are HDR10+ certified, you’ll be able to see the full range of colors.

OnePlus’s Always-On Display choices are still among the most attractive on the market, providing crisp notifications without losing too much battery life.

Another notable feature is the incorporation of an in-display fingerprint sensor rather than the side-mounted options that are frequently found in more cheap phones. This one is good, fast, and dependable.

Design

The OnePlus Nord CE has the same design and dimensions

The design of OnePlus’ latest inexpensive mid-ranger hasn’t changed all that much. It’s another plastic phone with a firm grip and an uninspiring appearance.

It’s a tad thinner than its predecessor, at 7.8mm thick. In fact, since the OnePlus 6T, this is the brand’s slimmest phone. It’s also a fraction of a millimeter higher and thinner than previously, but we’re talking millimeters here.

The new phone weighs 173 grams, an insignificant three grams more than the original. At the very least, it’s light for a modern smartphone.

Camera module’s attractively curved shape

On a more positive side, we like the redesigned camera module design on the OnePlus Nord CE 2. The way it lifts from the rear of the phone gently and smoothly reminds me of the Oppo Find X5 Pro, which makes sense given the two companies’ recent mergers.

From certain perspectives, it appears drab, but it is highly reflecting. Because it constructs of plastic rather than glass, it has a little cheap feel to it in the hand.

There is no IP rating, which adds to the ‘cheap phone’ vibe. It might be able to withstand a strong downpour, but we wouldn’t bet our reputations on it.

The phone’s left edge houses a SIM slot that can hold two SIM cards and a microSD card. Simultaneously, which is a valuable feature.

No stereo speakers or alert slider

The 3.5mm headphone connector is still present in this second-generation model, as is the absence of an alert slider. The latter omission is a bit of a letdown, as it’s always been a nice differentiator in OnePlus’ higher-end phones.

Another disappointment is the lack of stereo sound, which means you’ll have to make do with a single mono speaker. This isn’t a must-have for a phone at this price point. But the Realme 9 Pro Plus or the Poco F3 will provide you with a richer, more immersive audio experience.

Cameras: OnePlus Nord CE 2

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 keeps the same triple-camera setup as the OnePlus Nord CE, continuing the trend of incremental changes. A traditional 64MP wide lens leads the way, followed by an 8MP 119-degree ultra-wide and a generally worthless 2MP macro.

Any gains here will have to come from the new Dimensity 900 processor. That OnePlus claim has improved portrait and nightscape modes algorithmically.

However, we can’t conclude that the progress has been significant. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 takes excellent photos. But it falls far short of the Realme 9 Pro Plus’s premier Sony IMX766 sensor, especially in low-light situations.

We had hoped that OnePlus would bring the same sensor down as the OnePlus Nord 2, but we were disappointed.

There is still no OIS to help keep things steady in Night mode. Low-light images lack definition and clarity, but they do a good job of capturing the atmosphere of the environment and don’t try to brighten things to an excessive degree.

Although there is no telephoto lens included, the 2x zoom function performs a nice job of cropping utilizing the main sensor. You shouldn’t enlarge these images beyond the size of the phone’s screen, but they’re good for posting on social media.

The 8MP ultra-wide sensor is a significant step down from the main sensor in terms of quality and dynamic range, but it performs admirably.

The camera technology on the OnePlus Nord CE 2 is competent, to say the least. For a phone with its pricing and market placement, it delivers nothing exceptional or obnoxious. However, for a little more money, you can get a lot more.

Performance and specs

The 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 900 chip in the Nord CE 2 is 20% faster and more efficient than the 8nm Snapdragon 750G in the original Nord CE, according to OnePlus.

This is aided by the fact that the phone comes with a full 8GB of RAM. That is more than enough to run Android without any noticeable stutters or memory limits.

In terms of gaming, the phone can run Genshin Impact on medium settings with a playable, albeit not particularly smooth, frame rate. Make no mistake, even at this low price, this is not a gaming specialist.

Through the flagship-like performance of its Snapdragon 870 processor, the stereo sound from its two speakers, and the responsiveness of its display’s 360Hz touch sampling rate, the Poco F3 eats it for supper as a gaming device.

On the software front, OnePlus provided OxygenOS 11 on top of Android 11. This is a little disappointing, given it’s the same basic software release a year ago on the OnePlus Nord CE.

Despite its lack of progress, OxygenOS remains one of the most attractive and pleasing Android skins available. Outside of Motorola and Nokia’s stock-ish efforts, OnePlus’ approach demonstrates a sense of taste and discipline that’s all too unusual, and the lack of unnecessary bloatware is especially pleasing.

Although the 128GB of internal storage isn’t a significant improvement over the Nord CE. The inclusion of a MicroSD slot is. You’ll also get a 5G connection as part of the package.

Battery life: OnePlus Nord CE 2

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 has a 4,500mAh battery, similar to the OnePlus Nord CE from last year. But this time it’s made up of two smaller cells for speedier charging. But, don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a moment.

The phone’s battery life is usually good, lasting a full day of intensive use and possibly two days of mild to moderate use. We discovered that after a 15-hour day with roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes of screen usage. We were still left with a little over 50% battery life.

The Nord CE 2 lost only 4% of its charge in the standard battery test. That comprises a 90-minute looping 720p film with the screen brightness set to full. That’s a fantastic performance, especially for a low-cost phone with a mediocre chipset.

As previously stated, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 has made significant progress in terms of charging speed. OnePlus has included a 65W SuperVOOC charger in the package, which is a transition from OnePlus’s own Warp Charge standard to parent company Oppo’s homemade fast charger.

This appeared to be purely a branding effort, as the two standards proved to be nearly interchangeable.

Apart from the name, OnePlus promises that you can charge from 1% to 100% in 32 minutes. The manufacturer indicated that the original Nord CE would reach 70% in about the same amount of time, thus it’s a true indicator of improvement.

It’s rapid enough that you might reconsider your charging strategy, with a quick 15 to 30 minutes in the morning sufficing to get you through the day.

Conclusion

For the same price as the OnePlus Nord CE 2. There is a slew of mid-range smartphones with similar or even better specs. However, none of them offer the same sleek and controlled user interface.

The 65W SuperVOOC charger on the OnePlus Nord CE 2 is a notable feature and a significant upgrade over the original Nord CE. In a little more than 30 minutes, you’ll go from empty to full.

With a thin 7.8mm shell and a weight of only 173g. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 is one of the more compact mid-rangers on the market. This one can fit easily into even the tightest of denim pockets.

Although the OnePlus Nord CE 2 is capable of running games. The Poco F3 offers a far superior all-around gaming experience for the same price. It has a higher degree of performance, a more responsive display, and a real set of stereo speakers.

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 produces good photos, but for a little more money, you can have a better camera. With its flagship-grade main image sensor, the Realme 9 Pro Plus shoots far better photos, especially in low light.

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