With the OnePlus Nord, the Chinese manufacturer is recalling old values and significantly reducing the price of the device: the smartphone is available from just € 399. Where's the catch
OnePlus smartphones adorned themselves for a long time with the "Flagship Killer" label: the devices were comparatively cheap and equipped with top technology. But over time, OnePlus made its cell phones more expensive. With up to almost 1,000 euros, the premium model Oneplus 8 Pro even cost almost as much as competing devices from Samsung or Apple - and was therefore no longer an insider tip.
The new OnePlus North is supposed to change that: The model starts at 399 euros, the last time there was such a price for the OnePlus 3 from 2016. "North" should refer to a compass needle that points north - in other words, to success, like a OnePlus Speaker stated in a preliminary interview. And the device can indeed impress: not only in terms of price, but also in terms of technology.
The processing looks high quality in the north. The frame is made of plastic, but you can look at the matt glass back. The clearly protruding camera is annoying . If you use the supplied transparent cover, you can alleviate the problem.
Compared to the current OnePlus 8, the Nord has a screen without rounded corners. With a display diagonal of 6.44 inches, it is also the smallest OnePlus device currently available. Even though 6.44 inches may seem large to some: thanks to its dimensions and flat design, the North lies comfortably in the hand and does not interfere in your pocket.
The screen itself has a resolution of 1,080 by 2,400 pixels, as in the 8-series model, and has a repetition rate of up to 90 Hertz - this is a luxury for devices in this price range. The high repetition rate is said to guarantee a smooth smartphone experience.
Evaluations with benchmark programs showed that the OnePlus Nord lags behind the OnePlus 7 from 2019 - and in some areas even the OnePlus 6 . But there were no restrictions in the test: The North always ran smoothly, both in normal operation and with demanding apps such as games. It was fun to use the smartphone . One drawback: The device became noticeably warm when the 3D applications were too power-hungry.
The North itself has OnePlus equipped with a lot of memory: The standard model has 8 gigabytes (GB). There is also 128 GB of internal memory. For 100 euros more, users get 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. A Snapdragon 765G is installed as the processor - a CPU of the upper middle class. In addition, both north variants are equipped for the 5G mobile radio standard. Read here what he can do today .
Oxygen OS is installed as the operating system, a version of Android 10. OnePlus promises two years of operating system updates and three years of security updates.
The North has six cameras: two at the front and four at the rear. The cameras in front have a resolution of 32 and 8 megapixels, respectively. In addition, users can choose a wide-angle mode. Four lenses are built in at the back: the main camera has a resolution of 48 megapixels, next to it there is an ultra wide-angle lens (8MP) and a 2 MP macro lens for close-ups. The fourth lens is a depth sensor with 5 MP, which enables the so-called bokeh effect, for example. This means that with portrait photos the face is sharp and the background is blurred.
In the case of the selfie pictures, the camera shows that it can reproduce details of faces well and can clearly separate the outlines of heads from the background. For selfie night shots, the camera uses the screen as a flash replacement. The images are still dark - but bright and in many cases even sharp enough to be presentable.
The OnePlus Nord has two lenses at the front.
The battery has 4,115 mAh. With normal use - i.e. messenger services, surfing and making phone calls - the battery lasts until the end of the day or even longer. In the practical test during a full-day excursion with a lot of Google Maps and mobile Internet use, the battery fell well below 20 percent - even though the screen was clocked down to 60 Hertz to save energy.
With the included quick-charging power supply - which OnePlus Warp Charge 30T calls - the North can be charged to around 70 percent in 30 minutes. Because of its size, the power adapter is a space-saver in your luggage for short trips. In addition, OnePlus promises that the north will adapt to the usage habits of the user: at night, the cell phone should only be charged up to 80 percent and only recharge the rest shortly before getting up.
What is missing compared to the premium model OnePlus 8 Pro is wireless charging. A microSD card cannot be inserted into the north either , and the device does not support eSIM either. And instead of stereo sound, the Nord only delivers mono sounds. If you like to play on your cell phone, you can easily cover the speaker with your hand.
The device dispenses with an input for jack plugs as well as with IP certification. This is to prove that the smartphone is also protected against water and dust. However, OnePlus has often avoided certification in the past - according to its own information, in order to reduce costs. Upon request, the company assured that the OnePlus Nord and the premium models were protected against water and dust.
With the OnePlus Nord, OnePlus is finally once again supplying an affordable smartphone - and can also score in terms of technology: the device is quick and easy to use. The screen can also impress with its fluid image reproduction. The camera was a little disappointing, but despite its weaknesses it still delivers very good photos.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a new smartphone and can do without features such as wireless charging or a slot for a memory card, you should definitely put the Nord on your purchase list for 2020. Because in terms of price and equipment, it stands out from many competing products in the price category.
The OnePlus Nord will be available in the colors Blue Marble and Gray Onyx from August 4th. The variant with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB ROM costs 399 euros, the variant with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB ROM costs 499 euros.