OnePlus Nord 2 review: classic OnePlus
OnePlus Nord 2 was launched as the successor to the OnePlus Nord. The OnePlus Nord was an important smartphone for OnePlus because it offered consumers an affordable option. The new OnePlus Nord 2 starts at Rs 27,999 which is slightly higher than the base price of the original Nord, but it now sits above the even more affordable Nord CE 5G. It has higher resolution cameras, a more powerful SoC with 5G connectivity, and stereo speakers. So, is this new phone a worthy successor to the OnePlus North, or doesn’t it offer the same kind of value? I put the OnePlus Nord 2 to the test to find out.
OnePlus Nord 2 5G price in India
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G starts at Rs. 27,999 in India for the base variant which has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There is also a storage variant of 8GB RAM, 128GB priced at Rs. 29,999, while the high-end option with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage is priced at Rs. 34,999. There are three color options for the OnePlus Nord 2: Blue Haze, Gray Sierra, and Green Wood, which is exclusive to India.
OnePlus Nord 2 5G design
OnePlus Nord 2 5G has the family look and resembles the OnePlus 9 series smartphones. It has a large 6.43 inch screen with a hole punch camera in the upper left corner. The panel has thin edges and only the chin is slightly thicker. OnePlus opted for a glass back for the Nord 2, which gives it a premium look and feel. You get Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back. The rear glass curves to the sides where it meets the frame, making it easier to grip the device.
The middle frame is plastic, but it doesn’t look cheap. The button placement is quite good, with the power button on the right and the volume buttons on the left of the frame. These are easy to hit when holding the device in one hand. The alert slider, a common sight on most OnePlus smartphones, sits to the right just above the power button. It is convenient to easily change the ring style.
Much like the OnePlus Nord (Review), there is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the Nord 2, although the more affordable OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Review) does have one. If you’ve been looking forward to the headphone jack you might be disappointed, but the Nord 2 5G has stereo speakers which are a welcome addition. The USB Type-C port is located at the bottom next to the dual SIM tray. The top of the frame only has the secondary microphone. You don’t get an IP rating on the OnePlus Nord 2, unlike other phones in this segment, such as the Samsung Galaxy A52 (Review) and the Poco F3 GT.
Coming to the rear, the camera module is in the upper left corner and contains three sensors. The lenses of two of them look a lot bigger, as does the OnePlus 9R (Review). This module protrudes a bit, causing the smartphone to tip over when placed on a flat surface. The OnePlus Nord 2 weighs 189g and packs a 4,500mAh battery. To recharge the battery quickly, it comes with a Warp Charge 65W charger in the box. My review unit was a Haze Blue and the finish hid fingerprints well. OnePlus also provides a case in the box to protect it.
Specifications of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G sports a Full HD + AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and support for HDR10 +. It also has a fingerprint reader integrated into the screen, well positioned and easy to use. OnePlus used the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor to power the Nord 2. The company claims to have worked with MediaTek on the processor to improve its AI capabilities, so it’s officially called Dimensity 1200-AI here.
You get options of 6GB, 8GB, and 12GB LPDDR4X RAM with the OnePlus Nord 2, and 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. I had the high-end variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for this review. Storage is not expandable on the Nord 2. There is support for dual 5G, 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6, NFC and five satellite navigation systems. The OnePlus Nord 2 is a dual SIM device with two Nano-SIM slots.
OnePlus has built a reputation for delivering a clean user experience through its OxygenOS software. However, recently OnePlus announced that OxygenOS will merge with Oppo’s ColourOS to share a common codebase in the future. The OnePlus Nord 2 runs OxygenOS 11.3 on Android 11, and the effects of the merge are already visible in the user interface. I’m talking in particular of the Settings and Camera apps, which now show some influence from ColourOS. Don’t worry, these changes aren’t drastic and the user interface still looks like OxygenOS.
You get Google apps as well as a few OnePlus and Netflix apps preinstalled on the device. OnePlus guarantees two years of software updates and three years of security updates with the device, which should help it age well. My OnePlus Nord 2 unit was running the July Android Security Patch, which is the latest at this point.
OnePlus Nord 2 5G’s Performances
The OnePlus Nord 2 offers a smooth experience. With the display set to 90Hz by default, you’ll notice smooth scrolling right out of the box. You can change the screen color profile as you like. OnePlus’ AI enhancements for video can be enabled from Settings. An example is slightly improved contrast and sharpness in videos, using supported apps (this worked on YouTube). I found the in-display fingerprint scanner to be very responsive, requiring only one attempt to unlock the device. Facial recognition also worked consistently well.
I took the OnePlus Nord 2 through some tests to see how this new Dimensity 1200-AI performs. In AnTuTu, the OnePlus Nord 2 managed to score 5,82,748 points. In PCMark Work 3.0, it managed 8,323 points. It also managed 819 and 2,749 points respectively in the single-core and multi-core tests of Geekbench 5. Graphics benchmark scores were also good with the Nord 2. In the T-Rex and Car Chase scenes of GFXBench, it handled 74 fps respectively. and 34 fps.
I played Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) on the OnePlus Nord 2 and HD graphics and high frame rate was default. The game was playable at these settings without any lag or stuttering. I played for 20 minutes and noticed a 4% drop in battery level. The phone became slightly warm to the touch.
OnePlus packed a 4,500mAh battery in the Nord 2 and it’s capable of providing around a day and a half of runtime without any issues. In our HD video loop test, the OnePlus Nord 2 managed to run for 19 hours and 46 minutes with the screen refresh rate set to 90Hz. The included Warp 65W charger is able to boost the battery to 58. % in 15 minutes and 98% in 30 minutes.
OnePlus Nord 2 cameras
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G has a triple camera setup with a 50 megapixel Sony IMX766 main camera, which is also present on the OnePlus 9. The main camera has an f / 1.88 aperture and OIS. There is also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 119.7-degree field of view and a 2-megapixel mono camera. The camera app UI is slightly different from what we’ve seen on previous OnePlus smartphones, but I was able to orient myself without any issues.
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G quickly locked focus and the AI was able to quickly detect the scenes. In daylight, the photos had decent detail and crisp colors. The photos looked natural and even objects from a distance were recognizable. The ultra wide-angle camera has a wider field of view but there is a noticeable drop in image quality.
Close-ups were crisp with a natural depth to the background. The OnePlus Nord 2 also handled the smallest details well. Portrait mode allows you to set the level of blur before taking a photo. The output had good edge detection and good background separation.
OnePlus introduced Nightscape Ultra mode on the Nord 2 to capture better photos in low light. The AI can detect when it’s too dark and activate it automatically. Photos taken in low light were good, and text from a distance was readable as well. Nightscape Ultra mode takes longer to capture a photo, but the results are brighter with better detail in the shadows.
Selfies taken with the 32-megapixel front camera looked natural in daylight as well as in low-light conditions. Selfie portraits even worked with masks, and the phone allowed me to adjust the portrait blur level before taking a photo.
Video recording peaks at 4K 30fps on the North 2. Images were well stabilized in daylight and I only noticed occasional shimmer when walking and recording video after dark.
The OnePlus Nord 2 reminds me of the old OnePlus smartphones, which offered great value for money. With the price of the flagship OnePlus series increasing every year, the Nord 2 will be a relief for those who don’t want to spend that much. It sticks to the basic company philosophy and offers good performance and cameras for the price. The software experience is also good, and I hope that the integration of OxygenOS with ColourOS will not change that too much. For those looking only for performance and games, the Poco F3 GT might be an alternative to consider. However, if you’re looking for a good all-rounder at this price point, the OnePlus Nord 2 should be your choice.